Aba Shanti-I

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Aba Shanti-I
Aba Shanti-I at the London Notting Hill Carnival
Background information
Birth nameJoseph Smith
Also known asJasmine Joe
BornHackney, London, UK
GenresReggae, roots reggae, dub
Occupation(s)DJ, sound system operator
Associated actsBlood Shanti, Shandi-I, Emmanuel Joseph, Shanti-Ites,

Aba Shanti-I (born Joseph Smith) is a sound system operator and dub producer from the UK. Aba and his sound system have been playing through UK and Europe for over 30 years. He has been a resident sound system at Notting Hill Carnival since 1993 and was voted the No. 1 DJ in the World by DJ Magazine in the same year.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Joseph Smith was born in Hackney, London, UK of Antiguan parents, who immigrated to the UK in the 1960s.[3] He was first introduced to roots reggae music by his father Alan Smith, who himself ran a sound system called Count Alan in the 1960s.[2][3][4]

Sound system career[edit]

While deejaying for the Jah Tubby's sound system, Aba Shanti-I was known as Jasmine Joe.[3][5] In 1990, Aba took over the running of the Jah Tubby's sound system,[6] debuting at the Leicester carnival.[4] Since then, Aba Shanti-I and his sound system play regularly in the UK, with residencies at the Notting Hill Carnival since 1993, Leicester Carnival and the University of Dub.[5][7][8] The sound system has also played in Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Portugal and Spain.[2]

Recording career[edit]

Aba Shanti-I has produced and recorded with his brother and the band the Shanti-Ites, releasing records on their own Falasha imprint.[5] Their first record, Tear Down Babylon was released in 1993.[5] Aba Shanti-I currently has a studio on Morning Lane, Hackney.[2]


  • Tear Down Babylon (1993)
  • The Zulu Warrior (1994)
  • Positive Vibration (1995)
  • Children of the Most High (1996)
  • The Position Vibration (1999)
  • Jah Liveth (2000)
  • Love in the Ghetto (2000)
  • What A Gwan (2004)
  • Father Give Life (2004)
  • Behold (with Prince Malachi, 2004)
  • Inna Sanctuary (with Shandi-I, 2005)
  • Every Day (2005)
  • Revelation Time (with Shandi-I, 2008)
  • Digital Children (with Sister Miriam, 2008)
  • Youth Man (with Emmanuel Joseph, 2009)
  • Rastaman (with Emmanuel Joseph, 2009)
  • Our Father (with Jackie B and Sister Miriam, 2012)
  • Babylon Falling (2013)


  • Wrath of Jah Verse I (1996)
  • Pure Spirit (1996)
  • Jah Lightning and Thunder (1996)
  • Rasta Soul-Jah (with Ras Iyah, 1997)
  • Jericho Walls (1999)
  • Undiluted
  • Psalms From The Heart (with Emmanuel Joseph, 2010)
  • Inna Sanctuary (with Shandi-I, 2011)
  • The Whole of Me – Testament I & II (with Blood Shanti, 2014)


Aba Shanti-I sound system plays music in the roots reggae and dub style. He cites, Dennis Brown, Bob Marley, Junior Delgado, Yabby You and Prince Lincoln as inspiration.[2] The original tracks are usually supplemented by reverb, delays and effects to generate his distinctive sound.

Notable residencies[edit]

  • Notting Hill Carnival The sound system has been resident at the Carnival since 1993. It was originally situated on Powys Road, moving to Springbrook Road, then Southern Row; the system is currently situated on the corner between Southern and East Row.[2][8]
  • University of Dub Aba Shanti-I was a founder sound system of the University of Dub in the late 1990s and has been a regular ever since.[7]


Aba Shanti-I's brother, Blood Shanti, is a drummer and vocalist, contributing to both Aba Shanti-I's recordings and live performances.[4] Aba Shanti-I also has a son who accompanies him to many of the shows. His son is a drummer in the band Six Soldiers.[2]


  1. ^ Cunningham, Katie. "You won't believe who's on the 1993 DJ Mag Top 100". 30 October 2013. In the Mix Webzine, Australia. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Red Bull Music Academy (2010). "Aba Shanti-I profile at the Red Bull Music Academy". Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Leicester Mercury (27 July 2013). "THIS MUCH I KNOW: Aba Shanti-I". Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Falasha Recordings (14 November 2004). "Who's Who page on Falasha Recordings website". Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d Falasha Recordings (14 November 2004). "Aba Shanti-I profile on Falasha Recordings website". Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  6. ^ Barrow, Steve; Dalton, Peter (2004), "8", The Rough Guide to Reggae (3rd ed.), Rough Guides, p. 413, ISBN 1-84353-329-4
  7. ^ a b University of Dub (2017). "University of Dub Sound Systems". Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  8. ^ a b The Notting Hill Carnival (2013). "Sounds Systems at the Notting Hill Carnival". Retrieved 23 December 2013.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Smokin Jo
DJ Magazine Number 1 DJ
Succeeded by
Judge Jules