Soft Wax presents PLAY IT LOAD - a multi-media installation and performance in sound celebrating the Blues Dances of the Late 50s.
19 - 22 June | 11am - 5pm
Soft Wax is an immersive performance in sound and installation by Steve Wax and friends. It seeks to provide insights into the privations of the Jamaican Diaspora at the end of the Fifties and to provide a springboard for broader cultural reflection.
The sound performance focuses on the playing of a unique collection of 78 rpm acetates from that period. The acetates contain the music that the community cleaved to before the birth of Ska, Rock Steady and Reggae. The forgotten history of these acetates mirrors the broader experience of this community and has particular local resonance. The music on the acetates is the root of much subsequent popular music. The contexts in which they were first heard has had a lasting influence over street culture.
The material installation, that is also central to Soft Wax, flows fairly seamlessly out of the performative dimension. The sound reproduction equipment and acetates being part of the installation. This also involves a facsimile of a Jamaican immigrant living room, set up for a Blues Dance, at the end of the 1950s.
Also included are a wide range of informative texts and illustrations, displayed in period display cases, charting what we have found out about: the acetates – including their place in musical history and their significance for the community concerned, the social life and fashions of that community and the reminiscences of participants. There are also paintings inspired by the project.
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