Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. It has inspired movement and change and birthed iconic legends such as Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Alton Ellis. There’s no doubt that the sound of Reggae is one of joy, freedom of speech and relaxation. The paired down instrumental and soothing vocals of Carol Thompson is enough to visually transport you to the soft beaches of Jamaica whilst you bathe your troubles away.
Reggae was birthed from the origins of Ska and rocksteady and got the name from a 1968 song called “Do the Reggay” performed by Toots and the Mayals which stuck with global audiences worldwide. You can recognise Reggae music from the drum, bass and irregular rhythm sections of the songs.
When news that the UN have now chosen to protect this musical genre it was a pleasant surprise. It is now recognised and added to the list of international cultural treasures which the United Nations has deemed worthy of protecting and promoting. The idea behind this movement appeared after the country applied for recognition of its musical tradition at a meeting of the UN in Mauritius this year. The country’s culture minister Olivia Grange spoke: “It is a music that we have created that has penetrated all corners of the world,”. Dave Rodigan, BBC 1Xtra presenter, seconded the historic event by adding: “I am delighted, it’s wonderful news, I’ve loved this music since I first heard it as a teenager. I’ve always said it speaks out for the underprivileged, it speaks out against social injustice. Reggae music is the original rebels’ music immortalised by Bob Marley at the Wailers.”
This is a big move bringing reggae music out of the box to which they were hiding in for a little while, whilst other genres of music such as grime and pop have taken over 2018. Who knows, perhaps 2019 will be the year we hear that popular bass instrumental blow up our TV screens once more. Whatever may happen, this is a big day for music and a big day for an island filled to the brim with stories, treasures and musical history.