A big party was thrown on the first Friday of March, to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Cologne's world-famous soundsystem, the Mighty Pow Pow Movement, and their 10 year-residency at One World Café & Club Petit Prince in their hometown. Hosted by BBC 1Xtra's Robbo Ranx - who will be co-hosting the upcoming UK Cup Clash (Saturday April 16th in London, UK) alongside Ninjaman, where defending champion Black Kat will face Japan's Mighty Crown, Italy's One Love, USA's Young Hawk, UK's Immortal and fellow Jamaicans Tony Matterhorn and the return to the clash scene of mighty Bass Odyssey with Squingy and Mark, a historic return that will be covered here on Reggae Vibes as well - this night was dedicated to the sound that was established after in the mid 80s Ingo & Alfred (Backra) first got in touch with dancehall through a friend who brought some soundsystem cassettes with him from JA, getting them both fascinated by this raw style of music coming from this small island far away in the caribbean Sea, and very interested in Jamaican culture.

The Cologne ‘Petit Prince’ Massive
getting fired up by Soundquake’s Bimma

In the middle of the picture
Soundquake’s Till and Bimma

In 1992 reggae was hard to find in Germany, so Ingo and Backra decided to promote dancehall in their hometown Cologne. They first started to build up their own system and named it Pow Pow (after two gunshots, which marked a salute in dancehalls in Jamaica). In the same year they travelled to Jamaica, getting before they went back to Germany their first dubplate specials voiced, sparking an enthusiasm so enormous that the seeds were planted to become a large sound, taking the music to a higher level in Germany. After Mr. Brown had joined the crew, Pow Pow Movement, as a result of some fines they had to pay for holding illegal dances, looked for a club to play which was unusual back then. In 1995 Pow Pow started playing every Friday very successfully in their homebase Petit Prince club, which is still "the" dancehallclub on Friday nights. You will find first class dancehall events there, with guestsounds like Stone Love, Bodyguard, David Rodigan, Saxon, Tony Matterhorn and other big guns playing alongside resident Pow Pow throughout the year. That same year Devon joined the crew as MC. Devon is a Jamaican who has been living in Cologne for ten years now. In 1996 Pow Pow got on the radio with their own show "Pow Pow Reggae Radio". The rest is history, Pow Pow played all over the world, and got numerous dubplates voiced, whenever there was a possibility on their trips to Jamaica, the U.S. or England. Pow Pow Movement truly has been a major contributor in building a foundation for dancehall in Germany (Europe).

Jubilees Pow Pow Movement with Devon and Ingo
Rheinbay at the controls celebrating 15(!) years

The Mighty Pow Pow Movement,
10 years resident at Cologne’s Petit Prince

As a result of being one of Europe`s top class soundsystems Pow Pow Movement entered Worldclash 2000 in New York, as Europe`s first continental sound ever for such an event. Although they failed to win, Pow Pow gained worldwide recognition for the tunes they played, even if failing to draw big forwards from these on said/sad event. Despite their innovation of having tunes cut on a riddim especially prepared for this World Clash, and not being the worst sound in the first two rounds, Pow Pow were the first to fly out and fly home. It never diminished their popularity, and they remain Germany's most often booked sound, and a very impressive entertaining juggling machine.

Devon introducing fellow-townsmen Fireball

Cologne’s Fireball

Gradually Pow Pow Movement shifted its focus to producing their own tunes on the Pow Pow Productions label. And they have reached the status of world-leading label with their productions on the infectious up-tempo riddim incorporating nice Spanish style guitar picking and atmospheric strings 'Celebrate', an outstanding new version of Leslie Kong's riddim used for Desmond Dekker's big international archetypical rude-boy summer hit from 1967, fully benefiting from a clear, bouncing sound and authentic touch 'Shanty Town (Double 'O' Seven)', the wicked live one-drop-riddim 'Blaze', the superb 'Superior'-riddim, and now they are on the brink of storming the (reggae-)charts with their latest riddim, aimed at the bashment massive: 'Gladiator'. Their riddims have been a major contribution to the career of Gentleman, as his successful "Runaway EP", over 'Celebrate', "Superior EP" giving that riddim featured on a March 14th released one riddim album its name , as well as "Confidence" album tracks and taken off it 7" releases, "Rumours" and "Unconditional Love" that were featured on the respective one riddim albums "Shanty Town" and "Blaze" as well have shown.

Cologne’s Fireball

20 years in the biz – Black Spider Sound

Gentleman was the only notable absentee on stage this night, with respect being paid by fellow Cologne soundsystem Fireball Sound, Black Spider Sound, Berlin's Such A Sound, spicy detail: the dubplate of T.O.K.'s "Chi Chi Man" was omitted from the 1Xtra broadcast, the big bad Soundquake from Detmold, who after first 'threatening' to play for the next 3 1/2 hours, and digging classic tunes like Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers To Cross", Eric Donaldson's "Cherry Oh Baby", Peter Tosh' "Dem A Fi Get A Beating", Desmond Dekker's "Israelites", the Folkes Brothers "Oh Carolina", then the Soundquake dubplates of Toots & The Maytals' "54-46 Was My Number", Marcia Griffith's "Feel Like Killing", Beres, a dubplate take on Bob Marley's "Thank You Lord" and then Buju and Bounty Killer, Glen Washington, Shabba Ranks riding the same riddim (all dubplates), before drawing for Shabba's "Shine & Criss"-dub, Johnn Osbourne's "Buddy Bye" and Wayne Smith' "Under Me Killing Thing" as well as Bounty over 'Sleng Teng', Barrington Levy's "Here I Come", Anthony B's "Police", Gentleman's "Superior", Sizzla's including "Thank You Mama", I-Wayne's "Can't Satisfy Her", T.O.K.'s "Runaway" over Kingstone's 'Senorita'-riddim followed by Buccaneer's "Classical Party" over the same riddim, Kardinal Offishall from their dubbox, before rocking the crowd with their massive Damian Marley "Welcome To Jamrock" dubplate!

Black Spider playing with Pow Pow’s
Ingo Rheinbay in the background

Cologne’s Kingstone: MC Rodney addressing the
massive while selector Lazy Youth talks with Devon

The fellow Colognians who also started producing riddims very successfully Kingstone and the man who has been a major influence on and example for all German and probably continental European soundsystems David 'Ram Jam' Rodigan and of course an entertaining set by jubilees Pow Pow themselves with a great "I'm In The Mood For Pow Pow Sound" on 'Shanty Town', Leroy Smart's "Pow Pow Moment", Sizzla's "One Of Those Days", Chuck Fender's "Haffi Win", Sanchez "Never Dis The Sound", Capleton, Chuck Fender again with "I Swear", Warrior King, Junior Reid, Dawn Penn, Tony Tuff, Beres's "What Can You Do To Stop Your Sound From Dying", Pinchers "Bandalero", Cocoa Tea's "Won't You Go Home, Barrington Levy's "Soundkiller", 'Carry Go Bring Come'-riddim for "We Nah Bow Down Low", some hip hop based tunes and a 'Coolie Dance'-selection before a great live set by UK veteran DJ Tippa Irie. With Spice Girls, Britney Spears, That "No Talent", "Good To Have To Feeling You're The Best", "Hello Darling", "Raggamuffin DJ" all used in one big fastrapped freestyle he got some massive forwards, live stints at the mic by Kingstone's selector Lazy Youth as well doing "Ich Liebe Dich", and the Münsteraner dancehall don Dr. Ring-Ding riding 'Punnany' for "Call Di Doctor" / "Call A Big Sound", and Pow Pow's 'Shanty Town' for special "All Girls Nowadays Want A Big Sound" and "Vom Vatter" and, how appropriate, a capella "Happy Birthday To You".

Some chaos behind the turntables: Who’s next??

Almost reaching the curfew: who plays which tune??

Next up were Pow Pow's successors as continental European World Clash contenders One Love Hi Pawa, the crew around Lampa Dread that will be representing Europe again in the upcoming UK Cup Clash next month. Of course opening with the "Godfather Theme', followed by Capleton's "Mama And Papa", Bob Marley & The Wailers "One Love", and then into the dubbox for Ini Kamoze's "Here Comes The Hotstepper", Fantan Mojah's "Hungry" and a lot more of their well received dubplates of course featuring more than a fair share of Fifth Element artists. Very entertaining set as well. The UK crews of BBC 1Xtra's Robbo Ranx and Seani B - his picture-gallery of this event with snapshots of One Love, Soundquake, Tippa Irie and of course Robbo Ranx and himself can be found at BBC 1XTRA's gallery - and Ruff But Sweet kept the vibes flowing before every sound in the house wanting to do so could return behind the turntables to spin a couple of extra dubplates. Of course Pow Pow had the honour to close 6 hours of celebrating their 15th Anniversary. Congratulations Ingo, Backra, Devon, Mr. Brown and Markus, keep spreading the vibes! Big respect to all involved, whether mentioned or unintentionally not mentioned above!

Pow Pow’s Devon thanking all who came to join the celebrations

Text & Photos : Souljah

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