The Movement continues
APPROXIMATELY four decades ago Winston Powell put a vision of having his own sound system to life by creating the Stone Love Movement.
The 'sound' that Powell built from scratch has become one of Jamaica's most popular. The Stone Love Movement has played all over the world, from Kingston to Montego Bay, to Brooklyn, London and Tokyo.
It has also spawned a record label that boasts some of dancehall's biggest artistes and hit songs. This includes Bounty Killer's Plenty Gal, Jigsy King and Tony Curtis's Anyman Yu Want, Capelton's Hot get Hotter and Daddy Screw's Hot Gal.
As Stone Love prepares to celebrate its latest milestone next month, Powell spoke to Splash about the changes as it relates to the look and activities of sound systems.
"One turntable has now grown to two and there is now a mixture of music and juggling. The size has grown and locally built amplifiers are now replaced with more up-to-date equipment," he said.
According to Powell, dedication, hard work and drive has kept Stone Love in a position of prominence throughout the years.
"It is not about the hype for the Stone Love staff, it is our job that we do 24/7. We always stay current and make the necessary adjustments when necessary," he said.
Some of those 'necessary judgements' include employing young, popular selectors who 'juggle' the hottest hits.
Their current roster of selectors include Rory, Geefus, Billy Slaughter and Bill Cosby. Powell is quick to point out that his selectors did not become professionals overnight.
"One has to grow, it is not just about juggling some songs and talking on a microphone. Stone Love selectors have spent years honing their skills so now they can play for any audience," he explained.
Rory is Stone Love's longest serving member selector. He came on board in 1985 and believes the sound system business is being watered down.
"Sound systems were designed to 'bus' the next big artiste or next big song. However, it is not like that anymore as there is too much music being created today and too many sound systems," he said. "No longer do we have records. If there is a good song out there it is sometimes hard to identify because all the sounds are just playing the chart-topping songs," he added.
Rory said the restrictions on sound systems is helping to kill the culture that started in Kingston in the late 1940s.
"Back in the 1980s and 1990s we could string up our boxes and play, now there are different types of regulations as it regards to playing music so this too also make it harder to keep up to the standard that it once had," Rory said.
In the weeks leading up to Stone Love's 40th anniversary, Powell and his team will continue to host regular activities such as the Weddy Weddy party, held each Wednesday for the past seven years at its Burlington Avenue headquarters in Kingston.