Kudos to Heatwave for pointing out that it’s 25 years this week since Sleng Teng was played out in a dance. The story goes that on February 23 1985 Jammy’s Super Power met Black Scorpio at Waltham Park Road, Jammy’s dropped the Sleng Teng rhythm, the crowd went wild, and the rest is history.
Even if Noel Davey and Wayne Smith hadn’t found a pre-set rhythm on a Casio MT-40 keyboard and taken it to Jammy’s, digital sounds would have eventually dominated Jamaican music. The technology existed and it’s inconceiveable that enterprising producers and musicians wouldn’t have made use of it. Way before Sleng Teng Sly and Robbie were already building partially computerised rhythms, drum machines were all over many tunes by 1984 and in the same year the almost fully digital Every Posse Get Flat by Paul Blake And The Bloodfire Possie was creating waves.
The truth is that Wayne Smith’s Under My Sleng Teng and the rhythm it gave a name to were far more than a step on the road. Sleng Teng didn’t just influence a music, it revolutionised it, and things could never be the same again.
So happy 25th Sleng Teng – love it or hate it, you can’t fight it.
Sleng Teng played on a Casio MT-40. Thanks to blingdjango on Youtube.
The dub version of Wayne Smith’s Under My Sleng Teng from the Greensleeves 12″
Every Posse Get Flat by Paul Blake And The Bloodfire Possie from 1984
Postscript: Thanks also to the Chatty Mouth message board who actually picked up on the anniversary over a week ago, I really should pay more attention…