An Overview of Reggae Music Essay

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Reggae is a genre of music that originated in Jamaica during the late 1960s. It is known for the heavy and strong emphasis on the bass within the background beat. Reggae was perceived as a kind of music used to express feelings about the social, political, and economic hardships in Jamaica during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was performed by musicians from black ghettos who used unhurried beats to make a style of music of their own. Reggae became an important part of the lifestyle of many Caribbean islanders; expressing a sense of pride of their Caribbean culture. Reggae was developed from ska and rocky steady. Ska consisted of elements of Caribbean and mento, calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. It is characterized …show more content…
“From the shantytowns of Kingston, Jamaica, to the cobblestones streets of Great Britain, reggae music was a powerful and liberating voice for the poor and oppressed. In the last thirty years, reggae stars Bob Marley, Burning Spear, and Alpha Blondy have sung “redemption” songs- messages of human rights and universal love in a “Babylonian” world of civil unrest, political instability, and economic collapse”(Bays, King, and Foster, 2002, p. XI). Bob Marley was the most famous reggae artist to bring popularity upon the music; selling over 20 million records worldwide. His songs such as “One Love” and “Redemption Song” were inspired by the effects of oppression upon blacks in Jamaica. Marley's persona for unity and peace among people throughout the world was an inspiration for Jamaicans. Most blacks in Jamaica during the 1960s suffered from economic hardships and racial discrimination. This in turn marked the beginning of a religious movement called Rastafarinism where reggae music was an element that distinguished Rastafarians from the rest of society. According to Chang and Chen, British colonial authorities and the local establishment viewed Rastafarians; forthright espousal of black unity and pride, and their unconventional appearance and customs, as threats to the existing social order. (Chang, Chen, 1998. p.26) Reggae music allowed blacks to have pride of their culture and not limited themselves to the demeaning social orders in
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