Happy belated Jamaican independence day everyone! Yesterday, August 6th, was the official day. I hope you all drank cases of Red Stripe, watch incessant re-runs of Usain Bolt highlights on ESPN and smoked a crate full of spliffs. Seriously shame on you if you’re not. For anyone who has never waded in the soulful waters of sounds from Jamaica and have never dipped their fingers into the cool reverberations of the people who invented DJing and Dub music, then this new box set from Trojan Records called Freedom Sounds is probably the best place to start. Billed as a celebration of Jamaican music the five disc box set covers all the bases, from the early rhythms of Ska to the contemporary hummingbird beats of Dancehall — not to mention everything in between from Bob Marley to the legendary Desmond Dekker to Burning Spear to lesser known artists previously only available in Jamaica (check out the megamix of the box set below). If you’re a Jamaican music connoisseur then you probably already have most of these recordings, but as Trojan Records is never one to balk at obscurity there are some tracks sure to throw off even the most embellished Snoop Lion, although they might be few and far between. You might still want to pick up the box set anyway though for the 50-page A5 booklet featuring detailed commentary on the history of Jamaica and its musical heritage, alongside rare photos and memorabilia including a selection of celebratory cards. Purchase it up for around $60.

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