The story of Sud Sound System before the 90's is the story of a group of young people from the Salento region and their unconditional love for reggae in an area of southern Italy that is far removed from the mainstream music "circuits" and at the same time so rich in culture and Mediterranean traditions.
The use of local dialect is an integral part of Sud Sound System's music. Such a use is not a choice: you can choose to sing in English, considering it to be an appropriate language for music, but you can't choose something which is part of your character, part of your daily vocabulary. The local dialect is not the only linguistic expression used in Salento reggae, but it is however the most natural choice because it is part of the artists themselves.
In June 1991, the 12" "Fuecu/T'a sciuta bona" was released and its impact on the Italian music scene was certainly noticeable; this record, like few others in that period, had something new to say. It was a unique record for its musical freshness due to its use of the Salento dialect combined with reggae rhythms. It consequently met with great success.
1992 saw the release of two 12" records: one with the tracks "Reggae Internazionale" and "Punnu Ieu," the other with "Turcinieddhri" and "Chiappalu." These new tracks immediately became popular and were constantly requested at the numerous concerts which followed. A long series of appearances began with foreign exponents of the roots, reggae and raggamuffin scene: Macka B and Mad Professor, Little Owie, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Asher D, Chunny Rankin, Daddy Freddy, Thriller Jenna, Sweete Irie. In 1993 and 1994, various tours took S.S.S. to different European countries, including France, Germany, Switzerland and Britain.
In the first few months of 1994 they christened their label Ritmo Vitale (Vital Rhythm) with a production called Salento Showcase '94,a compilation CD comprising many of the singers who were constantly appearing on the Salento reggae scene at that time. The album was successful and brought along a certain consolidation of the reggae and raggamuffin movement in that region.
In 1995 and the first few months of 1996 Sud Sound System was absorbed by the intense production of the album "Comu na petra," a fine piece of work that uses the Salentine tambourine players to lay down the basis for the type of raggamuffin they are known for; a raggamuffin with a certain sting which has always been an important part of the nature of the group. The tracks which most feel that 'sting' are: "Afro ragga mtaranta jazz" and "Crisce."
"Comu na petra" was preceded by a compilation entitled "Tradizione" which complied the group's recordings during the 1991-1996 period. Both records were produced in conjunction with the newspaper "Il Manifesto."
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