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The Heatwave / Jamaica

Welcome to Jamaica, London

As dancehall party The Heatwave turns ten, Time Out celebrates six ways the collective bring Jamaican culture to the city, whistles ’n’ all

By Oliver Keens
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1. They provide a vibrant link between the Caribbean and the hub of the old empire

Despite only having a population of under three million, the cultural influence that Jamaica has had on Britain is staggering. From ska to jungle, from lovers rock to grime, The Heatwave pay tribute to it all and continue to foster that bond at their weekly Hot Wuk parties at The Social.

2. They get their tunes straight from the island

An estimated 5,000 records come out of Jamaica every year. The Heatwave’s founder and DJ, Gabriel Myddleton, listens to pretty much every single one. It means that as well as getting a smattering of classics at every party (they take requests, refreshingly), it’s the best place in the Northern Hemisphere to hear breakthrough Jamaican artists like Chronixx on a weekly basis.

3. The Heatwave are an all-year Notting Hill Carnival

We love Carnival, but two days in August just aren’t enough to satiate the city’s desire for bass-bouncing positive bashment. With their regular London parties and a nationwide and international gig-list, the on-the-ball Heatwave crew aren’t content to rest on their laurels and wait for next year’s Bank Holiday revels.

4. They bring the art of MCing back to its roots

Before hip hop became a gazillion dollar industry and created aloof poseurs like Kanye, the main job of an MC was to get the crowd hyped, involved and primed for a good time. Not only do The Heatwave’s resident mic men Rubi Dan and Benjamin D deliver good vibes every time, they’ve also connected artists like Wiley back to soundsystem culture at one-off pass-the-mic parties too.

5. They’re a bells and whistles operation. Well, mostly whistles

Aside from their weekly Hot Wuk parties, The Heatwave often hold large scale events at venues like Koko. For these bigger basement bashes, they purchase around 500 whistles and 200 horns to give out to crowds for that authentic dancehall cacophony.

6. Dancing is a top priority

From a mild bogle or a medium dutty wine to the full-on mosh of a palance, dancing is a mainstay of Jamaican culture. The Heatwave always put dancers centre stage at their shows, and best of all, they bring people up through the ranks with their parties. If you’ve got the moves, they’ve got the grooves.

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