The Carter G. Woodson Institute, U.Va.

The Carter G. Woodson Institute

for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia

Conversations in Caribbean Studies presents: Word. Sound. Power. A listening session in honor of Lee "Scratch" Perry

Friday, October 22, 2021 12:00 PM
Virtual (registration required)


Following the death of the pioneering dub musician, Lee "Scratch" Perry, this panel brings together leading Jamaican and international dub/’Scratch’ Perry scholars, producers and musicians who have worked with him and whose work is inspired by him. In the lead up to the event, be sure to check out the Spotify playlist curated by the panelists.


Register here:


Panelists include: 


Dr. Isis Semaj-Hall is the Riddim Writer, a disruptive dub doctor with a creative practice that is grounded by sound and nurtured by word power. She is the Caribbean literature and pop culture specialist for the Department of Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies, Mona. She is a co-founder and editor of PREE: Caribbean Writing and has works published in print and to the cloud via Public Books, Caribbean Quarterly, Cultural Dynamics, sx salon, and elsewhere. 


Hailing from East Kingston, Jamaica, Gavsborg is the founder of Equiknoxx/Equiknoxx Music. Gavsborg has been producing under the Equiknoxx Music imprint for over ten years, with his first success being the Billboard charting single, “Step Out” by Busy Signal. Gavsborg’s left-field approach to production has afforded him the opportunity to work with a wide variety of artists and labels from different corners of music such as: Mavado, Aidonia, Dirty Projectors, Palmistry, Addis Pablo, De La Ghetto, Busy Signal, Spice, Missy Elliott DDS, Swing Ting, Domino Records and more. Outside music production duties, Gavsborg has toured extensively with the Equiknoxx Collective as a DJ & live music performer making stops all over Europe, the Americas, the United Kingdom & Asia.


Born in San Francisco and long resident in London, David Katz is the author of People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee 'Scratch' Perry and Solid Foundation : An Oral History of Reggae and a contributor to The Rough Guide to Reggae, A Tapestry of Jamaica, Keep On Running : The Story of Island Records and Mashup : The Birth Of Modern Culture, among other books. His writing and photographs have appeared in many international periodicals, including the Guardian, Newsweek, Mojo, Wax Poetics, Caribbean Beat and Riddim and he has compiled and annotated over 100 retrospective collections of Jamaican music. Katz has produced documentaries on the music and culture of Jamaica and Brazil for PRX and contributed to documentaries and feature films for the BBC, Channel 4, Arte and other entities, and released original records. He has chaired panel discussions with performers and practitioners in diverse settings, performed as a deejay on four continents, and since 2004, his Dub Me Always vinyl nights have been a regular feature of London’s musical landscape.

Dr. Njelle W Hamilton is a Jamaican singer, songwriter, storyteller and scholar. As a literary scholar and associate professor at the University of Virginia, she specializes in narrative innovations in the contemporary Caribbean novel. The author of Phonographic Memories: Popular Music and the Contemporary Caribbean Novel, her essays on contemporary Caribbean literary and cultural studies have appeared in Anthurium, Journal of West Indian Literature, and sx salon, and her short fiction has appeared in Pree: Caribbean Writing. She is currently working on a book about Caribbean time travel narratives, as well as a novel, Everything Irie.

NYC’s Subatomic Sound System has been on a 2 decade mission forging a future foundation style built on the bass heavy, spacious soundscapes, and live improvisational remixing of classic 1970s Jamaican dub and conscious reggae music in the context of electronic music. Dub and reggae pioneer Lee "Scratch" Perry, the genius producer and song writer behind Bob Marley, employed Subatomic Sound as his go to band for re-inventing his Black Ark Studio sound live on stage.  Subatomic is spearheaded by producer, DJ, and multi-instrumentalist Emch, who arranges and manipulates both prerecorded music instruments and effects with the live musicians to create a real time musical dialogue. The core live musicians include Jamaican percussion legend and Black Ark veteran Larry McDonald (Peter Tosh, Skatalites, Gil Scot Heron) and Troy Shaka Simms (Brooklyn Gypsies, Mobius Collective) on sax. In 2017, Lee "Scratch" Perry & Subatomic Sound System released their acclaimed "Super Ape Returns to Conquer", a re-imagining of Perry's 1976 classic album that proved to be his highest charting Billboard release to date ( Check out their videos: documentary by Great Big Story  ( )( YouTube ); Shaolin Dub (; Subatomic & Screechy Dan (;  Subatomic Sound System virtual reality 360 degree videos (  relick of classic 70s Augustus Pablo tune; and 21st century Subatomic electronic dub)