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Pressing Tunes – A Historical Music Tour of Kingston

“Music is the voice of the Jamaican people. We think about it hour to hour, year to year. The speed of it changes, the voice changes. But it always depends on what is happening in our society.” Sean Paul

Together with Backayard Magazine, Hotel Mockingbird Hill has developed a superb new music tour of Kingston that explores the history of Jamaica’s most acclaimed musicians & producers across ska reggae, rock steady and dance hall. Amilcar Lewis the magazine’s editor plays guide, giving an insightful and colourful story of the musical trends Jamaica created around the world.

Waxy Beat, Rebel Bass

You start by exploring the fascinating Jamaican Music Museum, whose have archived, researched and exhibit Jamaica’s music forms to highlight the social, historic & musical values and aesthetics.

Lunch is upon request, depending on what you’d like to eat, Amilcar will recommend a restaurant, street food or even going to the local thriving Jubilee Market with its diverse set of pushcarts and stalls, selling anything you’d ever need, and a people-watching window into the real Jamaica from where the music started.

Orange Street Labels

After lunch the tour continues to weave though Jamaica’s capital following in the footsteps and record shops of the legendary musician and producer Winston Riley, founder of the best-selling cutting edge Techniques Label, behind the most sampled reggae song Stalag Ridim, and creator of the UK’s 1971 first No.1 reggae hit Double Barrel. Reggae thrived from the competing small labels on Orange Street and included in the tour is the melodica roots reggae musician and dub producer Augustus Pablo’s label and still busy shop, Rockers International. Home to Junior Delgado and King Tubby our musical stop includes listening to the tunes that made this label internationally acclaimed and so busy that it still thrives today.

Vinyl Archives

Vinyl still plays a part on Jamaica’s sound systems; we watch a pressing at what was regarded as Kingston’s first state of the art studio, Dynamic Sounds, originally named WIRL Studios, (West Indies Records Ltd). It was established in the 1950’s to record Jamaica’s version of American Rhythm & Blues tunes that were proving popular on the island at that time during the 50’s.

You get to play on the mixing desk used by legendary figures from Jamaica and abroad and watch the whole process of recording, imprinting onto vinyl and labelling in one of the last remaining pressing plants on the island. For those that would like a keepsake you can record your own dancehall, reggae edit to play to your friends.

Tours start at 10.00 am and currently cost US$ 106.00 per person based on 2 people participating but not including transport. The  price is reduced per head if a family or groups wish to participate or alternatively if the recording session is not required in which case it is US$88.50. There is the option to visit the Culture Yard in Trenchtown for an additional US$15 entrance fee per person as well as the new street art landmark, 41 Fleet Street created by Paint Jamaica.  This is a community art project that evolved into a movement of democratic art in July 2014, engaging volunteers of all backgrounds and the residents of Parade Gardens.  Click here to buy a print from Paint Jamaica online.

Book this Tour

To book this tour please email us with the dates your require and we will reply as soon as we have confirmed with Backayard Magazine that there is availability

 Further Information

Backayard Magazine

Rockers International photography ©



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