Wassifa Sound System
Wassifa Sound System was founded in 1972 on Stamford Rd, Handsworth, Birmingham, England.
Whether it’s working behind the scenes or front of house, music is second nature to us. Reminiscing the early days of limited technology and building sound boxes to now... entertaining in front of large crowds, we can honestly say that we have continuously proven our standard and drive are second to none!
We would like to say special thank you and acknowledgement of selfless contribution from:
Mrs Vera Brown (The mother figure of the sound) and the Browns family,
Rev & Mrs Mitchell and family (Errol Mitchell)
The Williams family (Cleveland Williams),
The Barnes Family
The Forbes Family
For their continuous support and direction over the years.
During our 40 years under the technical production of Jahmi Williams (who is now one of the key personnel behind most of the UK’s Urban Events) we’ve entertained, presented and stage managed at some of the UK’s most prestigious venues- NEC, Symphony Hall, ICC, Alexander Stadium, Wembley Arena, Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Birmingham City FC, Aston Villa FC, West Bromwich FC, Leicester City FC, The Drum, various outdoor City Centre locations and more.
We have had the pleasure to perform and work alongside numerous actors, artists and comedians- such as: Shaggy, Sean Paul, Shabba Ranks, Soul 2 Soul, Destiny Child, Missy Elliott, Usher, Busta Rhymes, DMX, Method Man, Redman, Mob Deep, P Diddy, Jennifer Lopez, Snoop Dog, Jimmy Cliff, Musical Youth, Aswad, UB40, Steel Pulse, John Holt, Marvia Providence, Mary Mary, Jodeci, Mary J Blige, Dennis Brown, Beres Hammond, Marcia Griffiths, Bunny Wailer, Joe, Total, SWV, H Town, Burning Spear, Black Uhuru, Culture, Israel Vibrations, Johnny Clarke, Gregory Isaacs, Buju Banton, Sizzla, Capleton, Freddie McGregor, Maxi Priest, Smiley Culture, Tippa Irie, Carol Thompson, Janet Kay, Peter Hunnigale, Felix Dexter, Leo Mohammed, Kwaku, & loads more.
Some of our key festivals, events and celebrations include: Reggae Sun Splash UK, One Love Peace Festivals, Oraclez Gospel Festivals, Jamaica’s 50th Celebration (Birmingham), Blind Dave’s Top2Toe Charity Run from John O’Groats to Lands End, 7 in Seven Charity Bike Ride (7 Days in 7 Countries), ArtFest Birmingham, 100 Black Men Dinner and Dance, 3B’s Dinner and dance, The Descendants Annual Dinner and Dance plus many more.
In the 80’s and early 90’s we had singers and MC’s that use to sing/DJ/toast/rap over instrumentals on our Sound System. Some of these MC’s included Macka B, “Is the most productive, distinctive and certainly among the most talented of Mc’s to emerge in Britain in the 1980s”.....” He first rose to local fame chatting for Birmingham – based Wassifa”. (Sited page 159 from The Guinness who’s who of Reggae, Published 1994, General Editor: Colin Larkin), Pato Banton, Bitty McLean, Apache Indian, Mickey Tuff, Daddy B, Speng Man, Jahbi, Desta, Sister Dan and Bright Eyes.
Previous sound members between 70s, 80’s and mid 90s included Errol Mitchell, Big T (Tony Rowe), Big John (John Johnson), Frenchie (Roy Hamilton), Eric Mitchell, Bu Bu (Vincent Johnson), Runnings (Lanzo Hamilton) and Natti (Delroy Hamilton).
We are honoured to have selected alongside some of the world’s greatest sound systems. We’ve listed a few for you, King Jammies, King Stur Grav, Jah Tubbys, Fatman, Stone Love, Metro Media, Jah Shaka, Sir Coxsone, Saxon Studio, Luv Injection, V Rocket, Jah Massigan, Jungle Man, Nyah, Quaker City, Jack Ruby, Skippy & Lippy, Enterprise, Baron, Sovereign Sound, Gemi Magic, Unity Sound, Rapattack, Master Mind, Rampage, Java and David Rodigan.
“Sound systems like Jammy’s Volcano and Black Scorpio kept the public thirsting for more material”..... “A similar process went on in the UK, with the sounds of Saxon Studio, Wassifa Hi-Fi and Unity all offering something different to their Jamaican counterparts”. (Sited page 64 from The Guinness who’s who of Reggae, Published 1994, General Editor: Colin Larkin).
Since 1995 Wassifa Showcase (continued by Michael Brown aka Mykal/Shadi/Mr Priceless) founded I.D.E.A.L Academy which means; Innovation - Development in Edutainment - Arts and Leisure. We continue to assist and develop many projects to this present day. Equipping them with the necessary expertise to get off the ground and maintain their services in years to come.
Music is one of the forums we use to engage vulnerable, disengaged communities back into education/chosen careers. By working closely with South & City College Birmingham we are able to provide a wide range of Apprenticeships, BTEC vocational courses, where we give 20 - 30 young community learners (per visit) the opportunity to take part in photography and filming projects, educational visits and placements around the world. Some of our previous destinations include: Egypt, Gambia, South Africa, Jamaica, USA, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Germany, France and Switzerland.
We have been a key link to implementing further education courses for other legal radio stations such as: Big City Radio, Fusion/New Style Radio, Javani FM Radio, Sparkbeat Radio and Youth FM. Many inner city Presenters/DJs have been educated through these programmes and have since gone on to be a high industry success. Our music library was even used to set up on of Birmingham’s legal inner city radio station called “Choice FM”. Mykal Brown presented a range of shows including- Reggae Countdown on Choice FM which then emerged into Galaxy FM.
Following in his father’s footsteps Jelani Brown aka JB also broadcasted on Galaxy FM. He is also one of the selectors for Wassifa and the founder of a community project called ‘The Mixing Lab’.
Ironically both father and son are employed at South & City College Birmingham, Mykal as an Assistant Director – Access to Further Education –Community Provision and Jelani as a Mentor to the students.
Other than radio many TV channels, actors and broadcasters have also benefited from our structure and expertise. Our guidance has given many of the above an opportunity to have their material being streamed on TV, radio and the internet. A few examples are below:
Documentary ft: Luv injection vs Killamanjaro
3 minute wonder ft: Tru Street Dance
Hi8us (1hour Asian documentary)
“My City” ft: Tru Street Dance, A broadcast which launched the BBC’s 1st internet station
News broadcast on P Diddy & Jennifer Lopez at SBC/SCCB
BBC Radio WM Live Broadcast at SCCB
Other educational outreach concepts steered by us included:
• Birmingham City Council Midnight University
• Birmingham City Council “Media Bus”
• Poetry Slam (UK-America)
• Midnight Madness (Basketball Tournament) Sponsored by: Nike
We are working alongside charities such as Macmillan, Cancer Research UK, Oscar, Sickle Cell and Lupus Foundations, Help Harry Help Others and The British Red Cross in supporting their fundraising campaigns and Fund raising projects for Shashamane Ethiopia.
• Community Gospel Concert Sunday 1st December 2013
This event is an appreciation concert to celebrate The New Testament Church of God’s (Birmingham) 60 year Anniversary. Singing on the night will be some of Birmingham’s’ local talents:
Peter Spence, Annette B, Lytie, Rix, Tenna Star, Claire Angel & Dennis Lloyd
• Launch of the three ‘cook offs” called “Soul Kitchen” This event will be hosted by South and City College Birmingham. This ‘cook off’ will witness talented school children face a series of cooking challenges.
The event will be judged by local celebrities such as:
Rustie Lee The original Queen of Caribbean Cuisine
Lorenzo Richard Award winning Chef
• Voices of Cancer Fundraising Annual Dinner and Dance event on 14th December 2013.
• The opening of a music and media studio located within the newly refurbished building at South and City College Birmingham, Handsworth Campus.
This studio will be launched for the community who will have free access to the studio. All members of the community will also have access to use the new gym and Sports Hall facilities.
• In the Spring we will be working with the Caribbean Food Festival managing the 3 day event in Victoria Square Birmingham.
Wassifa Caribbean TV Show - A Bi-weekly TV programme providing a platform to promote Afro Caribbean artists, culture and interviews with community leaders and small business owners.
Mykal Brown was voted by the community to be one of 3 people whose images were pressed on the Birmingham currency.
Launched the Mykal Wassifa Brown Heritage Foundation which presents the history of soundsystems through Wassifa's Journey.
Both Mykal Brown and Jelanie Brown received awards at a gala event. They were voted by the Pheonix Newspaper readers as leaders in their fields and their contribution to the community.
Launch of the Birmingham Bike ride (as seen on Central TV in the UK)
to promote healthy living and safe riding in the city.
Launch of 'Reaching Out' TV. A magazine type programme targeting the youth by promoting young up and coming artists, sportsmen/women, young entrepreneurs and businesses.
We took the Mykal Wassifa Brown Heritage Foundation on the road touring alongside Beres Hammond, Maxi Priest, Janet Kay, Carol Thompson and Wassifa Showcase.
We took part in a charity 16 seater boat ride at the Edgbaston Reservoir.
• LOOK OUT: We have an in-depth, historical account of Wassifa Coming Soon “Mykal “Wassifa” Brown Heritage Foundation”.
Wassifa Showcase Team Members are:
Mykal Brown: Owner/Selector
Jahmi Williams: Production & Event Manager
Jahweh Brown: Road Manager
Jelani Brown: Selector/Presenter/DJ
Founder/Manager: The Mixing Lab
Audrey Bathley Project Co-ordinator
(Mykal “Wassifa” Brown Heritage Foundation)
Jamila Brown: Project Co-ordinator: I.D.E.A.L. The Academy
(Education in partnership with South and City College Birmingham)
Ismail Brown: Project Co-ordinator
(Wassifa Youth Project)
Talika Brown: Project Co-ordinator for Wassifa Inspire
Safiya Brown: Co-ordinator for Wassifa Youth Projects
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