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Idiot’s Guide to Dub

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There’s a lot of stuff said about dub music, and it’s hard to know which bits are true and which are merely the stuff of urban legend.  Ahead of this weekend’s Wee Dub Festival (featuring a turn from ska band Esperanza this Saturday at The Third Door) we endeavour to separate the fact from the fiction.


The myth: dub was invented in Dublin by a man named Seamus Heaney (no relation to the poet) in 1928.  Heaney found that banging his hand on a kitchen pot created a rather pleasant musical timbre, and his experiments with this led to the composition of the first dub album which he called Aquarius Dub.

The truth: well, Wikipedia disagrees.  They think dub evolved out of the reggae tradition in the late 60s and early 70s.  There was an early album called Aquarius Dub, but it was not the first and it was made by Herman Chin Loy, which isn’t even an anagram of Seamus Heaney.  Could be a pseudonym, though…


The myth: Without dub, there would be no other music.

The truth: This might sound dubious at first glance, but actually it paraphrases the words of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry as quoted on the Wee Dub Festival website.  He said:

“The drum loop represents the heartbeat.  The bass represents the mind. So you put the mind and the heart together, and your mind and your heart are the creation of everything.  Dub is the foundation for the creation of music.”

Whilst minstrels of yore might feel a little affronted by this claim, those of us what live in modern times must surely agree that a bit of drum and bass imbues most songs with a certain something you could never achieve with a lute.


The myth: a recent survey suggested that 72% of dub fans are vegetarians.

The truth: this survey was conducted by ghosts and has since vanished with them into the afterlife.


The myth: UB40 and The Clash helped to popularise dub and bring it to a more mainstream audience.

The truth: that’s basically true, actually.


The myth: Dub is Katy Perry’s second favourite sound.  Now that she is established in the music industry, her next album will take a distinctly reggae turn and sees her collaborating with Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and Mad Professor.

The truth: unfortunately Ms Perry was unavailable for comment on this matter.  We’ll just have to wait and see.


And on that bombshell, we leave you with a reminder that 8-piece ska band Esperanza play The Third Door on Sunday 5th February.  In the words of support act Paul from the Lucky 7 DJ Club, “with ska, you either dig it or you don’t. If you listen to Prince Buster’s version of One Step Beyond and don’t wanna dance to it – then just give up and go listen to something else.”

We’re sure you’ll choose the first option.

More info and tickets here.