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Thursday, 24 March 2016

The Origins of Reggae Music


Caribbean music has entertained many music fans and has a great influence on the rest of the world. Music from the Caribbean islands such as Calypso, ska, rock steady and dancehall have evolved from each other and fused into what we know as reggae music. This music genre has also been influenced by elements of African rhythms and American blues. Strong bass lines and the bass drum beating characterize this music genre.

Reggae music originated from the island nation of Jamaica. This country is home to many homegrown musicians and record producers who have developed the distinctive style. Lee 'Scratch' Perry is the most famous Jamaican producer. He is responsible for launching the careers of many reggae musicians.

Artists such as Burning Spear and Horace Andy spread reggae music beyond the islands. However, none of them can match Bob Marley in terms of popularizing this music to the rest of world. No Woman, No Cry, Buffalo Soldier and Redemption Song are just some of Marley's hits. When he passed away, he enjoyed legendary status and was given a state funeral in Jamaica.

In addition to Bob Marley, Johnny Nash, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, and other crossover singers also had success in the British pop charts. The Police, UB40, Selector, The Clash and The Specials fused reggae music with rock. In fact, one of the first multi racial groups in the UK was the British band UB40.

Social issues, such as poverty and political freedom are addressed in the lyrics of many reggae songs. These songs are the anthems of the poor who grow up in shanty towns and are still struggling to make ends meet. Some of the songs are about the beliefs of the Rastafarian religion, of which Marley was a practitioner. There are explorations of spirituality, invoking God, or Jah as he is called in some of the songs. However, some reggae songs are controversial because they defend the use of cannabis which Rastafarians advocate.

Reggae Music in all of its forms, have influenced and led on to other forms of music, namely drum and bass and hip hop. So far, nobody has taken over from Marley's mantle and rap and R & B dominate the charts at the moment. Music experts say that Reggae music needs another charismatic figure to spread the word.

This unique kind of music has achieved a lot considering that it came out of a small island with early recordings produced on basic equipment. People responded to the melodic simplicity of the music and the heartfelt lyrics. There was always a high standard of musicianship and a direct connection between the artists and the fans in reggae music. Since nobody can keep a good thing down, this Caribbean music will surely rise again.



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