Mangrove/Volcano SoundSystem

Off Portobello Road behind Ladbroke Grove Fire Station

firmly embedded in black
UK cultural history

The Mangrove Sounds System is probably the first and original Sound System location to be at Carnival. In the past this location played host to famous singers like 'Eddie Grant' and local sound systems like, 'Sledgehammer', 'Java', 'Special Edition', 'Black Patch' and the mighty 'Rapattack Soundsystem'. There's a lot of history that surrounds the Mangrove and this history is grounded by events on the All Saints Road (formerly known as the front-line), Ladbroke Grove for as long as can be remembered.

The All Saints Road is the street where the Carnival originated and the concept of this Sound System was founded by the forefathers of the original 'Mangrove Nine'. The 'Mangrove Nine' were 'instrumental in the Home Secretary's decision to commission a report into the growth of black power and an unofficial independent enquiry into police/black relations' back in the 1970's. The Mangrove bears its name from the restaurant and community association which was set up by the infamous Frank Critchlow (1932 – 2010 r.i.p.) in the 1960's. The local Caribbean community regarded the Mangrove restaurant as a 'social centre', or 'unofficial advice bureau' and after police raids in 1970, it became 'a symbol of black enterprise and resistance'. With an enormous following of supporters (most of whom have originated in Trinidad), the Mangrove Sound System is just a branch of a the continual  championship and award winning enterprise of Carnival entertainment that includes the Mangrove Mas (costume) band and the Mangrove Steel Band who are one of the largest/most travelled and professional Steelbands in Britain. Born out of the vision and determination of Trinidadian's living in the Notting Hill area in a quest to introduce the culture of 'back home' and Carnival to the local youths of the community. This was to ensure that Caribbean art forms were handed down from generation to generation. Mangrove have a history of highlighting new and young sound operators from the area. Basically it is a community affair, all about people and passing on gained knowledge and history to the next generation. It is represented by the young with guidance from the elders: a generation from Windrush which practically extinct and now replaced by their offspring. The responsibility of flying the flag for Mangrove now lies with Volcano sound system who were handed the baton in 2016.

What remains sad, is that even in recent years, the authorities still view the Mangrove and particularly the All saints Road area with caution (as a result of its history for being the home of UK black resistance). Unfortunately In 2016 (even with legal representation) BASS had no option but to succumb to fierce policing politics, which resulted in the police achieving their goal, following a calculated strategy for removal of 2 of the original 4 sound systems that were based on All Saints Road. Mangrove was one of them but fortunately were rehoused nearby (off Portobello Road). The other still yet has not returned to Carnival as there are no replacment sites available

Volcano (Mangrove) Sound System now has developed the new home nicely. 'Needless to say, the flavour is predominantly Caribbean but with its younger generation of UK born operators catering for the youth, you will more than likely find Reggae, UKG, R'n'B and other niceties replacing the dominance of Trinidadian music to be heard on this site throughout the Carnival days. Volcano sound system was founded by the late great Lincoln Prendergast in the early 1980's. The rebirth of volcano continues the legacy. Since Lincoln's son Courteney teamed up with two childhood friends in 2007, the soundsystem has transformed into being West London's championship heavyweight which is one of the major powerhouses at Carnival.

Writing credits to Alistair Roberts (Rapattack & Brunel University Cultural Historian) and James Proctor (Black Historian): Dwelling Places: Postwar Black British Writing.


British Association of Sound Systems

The BASS member sound systems are predominantly made up of the Sound Systems that you will find located at the annual London Notting Hill Carnival (Europe's largest street festival) which takes place every year over 2 days, during the August Bank Holiday weekend in London. 

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