Reggae music of the Caribbean region
Reggae artist Bob Marley in 1980
RegionThe Caribbean
Inscription history
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Reggae (/ˈrɛɡ/) is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora.[1] A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word "reggae", effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience.[2][3] While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady.[4] Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political commentary.[5] It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rocksteady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument.[6]

Reggae is deeply linked to Rastafari, an Afrocentric religion which developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, aiming at promoting pan-Africanism.[7][8][9] Soon after the Rastafarian movement appeared, the international popularity of reggae music became associated with and increased the visibility of Rastafari and spread its gospel throughout the world.[8] Reggae music is an important means of transporting vital messages of Rastafari. The musician becomes the messenger, and as Rastafari see it, "the soldier and the musician are tools for change."[10]

Stylistically, reggae incorporates some of the musical elements of rhythm and blues, jazz, mento (a celebratory, rural folk form that served its largely rural audience as dance music and an alternative to the hymns and adapted chanteys of local church singing),[11] calypso,[12] and also draws influence from traditional African folk rhythms. One of the most easily recognizable elements is offbeat rhythms; staccato chords played by a guitar or piano (or both) on the offbeats of the measure. The tempo of reggae is usually slower paced than both ska and rocksteady.[13] The concept of call and response can be found throughout reggae music. The genre of reggae music is led by the drum and bass.[14][15] Some key players in this sound are Jackie Jackson from Toots and the Maytals,[16] Carlton Barrett from Bob Marley and the Wailers,[17] Lloyd Brevett from the Skatalites,[18] Paul Douglas from Toots and the Maytals,[19] Lloyd Knibb from the Skatalites,[20] Winston Grennan,[21] Sly Dunbar,[22] and Anthony "Benbow" Creary from the Upsetters.[23] The bass guitar often plays the dominant role in reggae. The bass sound in reggae is thick and heavy, and equalized so the upper frequencies are removed and the lower frequencies emphasized. The guitar in reggae usually plays on the offbeat of the rhythm. It is common for reggae to be sung in Jamaican Patois, Jamaican English, and Iyaric dialects. Reggae is noted for its tradition of social criticism and religion in its lyrics,[24] although many reggae songs discuss lighter, more personal subjects, such as love and socializing.

Reggae has spread to many countries around the world, often incorporating local instruments and fusing with other genres. Reggae en Español spread from the Spanish-speaking Central American country of Panama to the mainland South American countries of Venezuela and Guyana then to the rest of South America. Caribbean music in the United Kingdom, including reggae, has been popular since the late 1960s, and has evolved into several subgenres and fusions. Many reggae artists began their careers in the UK, and there have been a number of European artists and bands drawing their inspiration directly from Jamaica and the Caribbean community in Europe. Reggae in Africa was boosted by the visit of Bob Marley to Zimbabwe in 1980. In Jamaica, authentic reggae is one of the biggest sources of income.[25]

  1. ^ Stephen Davis. "Reggae." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web.16 Feb 2016.
  2. ^ "Frederick "Toots" Hibbert Biography". Archived from the original on 9 August 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  3. ^ "reggae". Archived from the original on 13 August 2016. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  4. ^ Geoffey Himes (28 January 1979). "Return of Reggae". The Washington Post.
  5. ^ "Reggae." The Oxford Dictionary of Music, 2nd ed. rev. Ed. Michael Kennedy. Oxford Music Online.Oxford University Press. Web. 16 February 2016.
  6. ^ Wilton, Peter. "reggae." The Oxford Companion to Music. Ed. Alison Latham. Oxford Music Online.Oxford University Press. Web. 16 February 2016.
  7. ^ Warner, Keith Q. (1988). "Calypso, reggae, and Rastafarianism: Authentic Caribbean voices". Popular Music and Society. 12 (1): 53–62. doi:10.1080/03007768808591306. ISSN 0300-7766.
  8. ^ a b Earl, Bunn, Glenn (2005). The Influence of Rastafarianism and Reggae Music on Jamaican and International Politics (Thesis). St. John Fisher College. Archived from the original on 1 December 2018. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  9. ^ Campbell, Horace (1988). "Rastafari as Pan Africanism in the Caribbean and Africa". African Journal of Political Economy. 2 (1): 75–88. JSTOR 23500303.
  10. ^ Davis, Stephen (1992). Reggae bloodlines : in search of the music and culture of Jamaica (1st Da Capo Press ed.). New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0306804960. OCLC 26014673.
  11. ^ Stephen Davis. Reggae (second ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz.
  12. ^ Anderson, Rick. "Reggae Music: A History and Selective Discography”. Notes 61.1 (2004): 206–214.
  13. ^ All About Jazz (2009-10-01). "Various Artists | Rocksteady: The Roots Of Reggae". Archived from the original on 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
  14. ^ "Reggae – music". Archived from the original on 18 March 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 April 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Jackie Jackson: Bass player extraordinaire". Jamaica Observer. Archived from the original on 6 February 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  17. ^ "100 Greatest Drummers of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2016-03-31. Archived from the original on 6 February 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Skatalites Bassist Lloyd Brevett Dead at 80". 3 May 2012. Archived from the original on 12 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  19. ^ "Red Bull Music Academy Daily". Archived from the original on 29 June 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  20. ^ "Lloyd Knibb revolutionised Jamaican drumming, says PJ". Jamaica Observer. Web. 27 May 2011. <"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 May 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)> Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  21. ^ Pareles, Jon (4 November 2000). "Winston Grennan, 56, Jamaican Drummer". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Sly and Robbie facts, information, pictures – articles about Sly and Robbie". Archived from the original on 10 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  23. ^ Moskowitz, David Vlado (9 May 2018). Caribbean Popular Music: An Encyclopedia of Reggae, Mento, Ska, Rock Steady, and Dancehall. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 308. ISBN 9780313331589. Retrieved 9 May 2018 – via Google Books.
  24. ^ Ben Ratliff (20 September 1999). "It's About New Beginnings And Keeping the Faith". The New York Times. p. 5.
  25. ^ Bennetzen, Jørgen, and Kirsten Maegaard. "Reggae". Fontes Artis Musicae 29.4 (1982): 182–186.

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