Thomas sounds his 'Prophecy'

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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IN the highly competitive arena of sound system supremacy, Bermuda's Prophecy Sound International is carving a niche for itself.

“We're one of the top sound systems in Bermuda. Wherever we play we get a good reception. We've been to Europe; California, Florida, and Hawaii in the United States; and Jamaica,” Jawan “Snuffy di Lava Ras” Thomas told the Jamaica Observer.

“We've even brought home trophies from clashes in Canada. We won the Champion of the City clash in Toronto in 2010. We defeated three sound systems — Y2K, Black Lion and King Chaplain. And the following year we won the Winnipeg Cup Clash. That time we defeated King Chaplain and Megawatts. I love clashes, as it brings out the creativity of your sound system.”

The Bermudan-born Thomas is principal and co-selector of 'Prophecy Sound', which he started in 1996. He said his “roots” had a bearing on his entry into sound system arena.

“I always had a connection to Jamaica and its music. On the island, my uncle had a sound system which he played in the community, while my father was a promoter who helped to bring singer Hugh Mundell to Bermuda to perform. That was his first trip out of Jamaica. So I was exposed to reggae music from early,” he said.

The Kingston-born Mundell had a huge underground following in Europe and the United States West Coast. He was murdered on Grant's Pen Avenue in St Andrew in 1983. He was 21.

Despite Thomas's roots-reggae connection, he said 'Prophecy Sound' was all encompassing.

“We play everything — dubplates, dancehall, and culture reggae,” said Thomas. “And we aren't afraid of any sound, anywhere.”

The selector, who shares duties with Omar “Kumba” Wray, said he has witnessed the transitioning of sound systems throughout the years.

“We started out in vinyl, then moved to CDs, and now it's the MP3 computer format. You have to keep up with the technology and buy equipment. It's very costly, and you have to keep current. Being so far away, we have to be monitoring social media constantly to know what's happening and to hear the latest tunes being released. But we do it for the love... we nuh dweet for the likes,” he said.

And where does he see Prophecy Sound International in the next decade?

“We should be travelling global, we should be all over Jamaica, entering world clash competitions... being real big in the next 10 years,” he added.

— Brian Bonitto

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