3-6/7 | LUBLIN


LINE-UP 2024

“On-U Sound in Poland”– exhibition opening


27/06/2024 | 16:00 – 16:30


Workshops of Culture, Grodzka 7 - ground floor




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Jun 27 2024


16:00 - 16:30

“On-U Sound in Poland”– exhibition opening

This legendary English record label, founded by Adrian Sherwood in 1979-1980, continues to thrive today, its catalogue encompassing a diverse range of genres, including dub, reggae, roots, electro, afrobeat, jazz, and hip-hop. Renowned artists like Lee Scratch Perry, Mad Professor, African Head Charge, Creation Rebel, Prince Far, and Little Axe have all graced the label’s roster.

The Different Sounds Festival continues its annual showcase of the most interesting music labels. This year, we are thrilled to feature the iconic British label On-U Sound, a cornerstone of dub music history. Key artists and Adrian Sherwood, the producer who shaped On-U Sound’s signature sound, will be representing the label. African Head Charge, whose recordings epitomise the label’s revolutionary potential, will also be present. On-U Sound was founded in 1980 when Sherwood moved to London and, catching the wind of the turbulent post-punk era, worked with its most experimental artists. His recording sessions brought together Jamaican and Caribbean diaspora musicians in England alongside rock rebels from bands like Public Image Limited, Pop Group, and The Slits. Occasionally, musicians from London’s free jazz scene would also join in. Standout albums from that era include the debut of New Age Steppers. Featuring hits sung by Ari Up, the coolest girl in punk rock, and ‘Learning to Cope with Cowardice’ by Mark Stewart – a true powerhouse, one of those rare albums that never loses its edge over time. Stewart, the former frontman of Pop Group, brought to the world of On-U Sound the ideas of subversive deconstructions drawn from the Parisian Situationists and W.S. Burroughs, which seamlessly blended with the collage-like poetics of dub. This album’s anti-capitalist agit-pop harnessed a truly industrial sonic punch, revealing one of Sherwood’s most revolutionary production traits. He demonstrated that even brutal noise could find its place in the alchemy of dub” writes Rafał Księżyk, a respected music journalist and critic. Complementing the music of On-U Sound is an exhibition curated by Different Sounds and Xiądz Maken, documenting Sherwood’s ties to Poland.

“Sherwood’s connections to Poland form a distinct chapter in his story,” explains Księżyk. “It began in 1986 when he met the Kleszcz brothers, Jerzy and Włodzimierz, passionate enthusiasts of roots music, in London. Accepting their invitation, he travelled to Poznań that same year with the On-U Sound crew to perform at the ‘Reggae is King’ festival in the Arena hall. In between sets by Polish reggae bands, his sound system played, featuring vocal support from masters like Gary Clail, Bim Sherman, and Mark Stewart, all mixed by Sherwood himself. This visit resulted in mixes he created for Poznań’s Gedeon Jerubbał. Sherwood established a broader collaboration with the Kamahuk label. Its founder, Włodzimierz Kleszcz, co-created the global phenomenon of joint recordings between reggae legends Twinkle Brothers and the Polish folk orchestra Trebunie-Tutki. Sherwood remixed their music, which the Highlanders honoured with the album title ‘W Sherwood’. He also prepared a cassette compilation showcasing the label, ‘On-U Sound for Poland’. It opens with greetings specially recorded for the occasion by Lee “Scratch” Perry. Dub on cassette? Some might be surprised, but in the Polish reality of the mid-1990s, it was the most widespread media format. The next Polish release was already a CD, ‘On-U Sound Live In Warsaw 2004’, issued by CDQ, where the On-U Sound System concert took place, and the British Council.”

During his visit to Lublin, Adrian Sherwood will take on several roles. First and foremost, he will play his own DJ set, participate in a discussion about the history and present of On-U Sound, and also stand behind the mixing console as the sound engineer during the African Head Charge‘s concert.

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