by: Greg Compton • 2
You don’t have to go to Jamaica to enjoy Reggae. Let Reggae music bring sunshine and the rhythm of the waves to you.
“Reggae is fun music! You cannot help but feel light and happy listening to Reggae.” – Joe H.
Wish you were in an island somewhere, with the warm sun on your back and the wind blowing your hair? Wish that time could slow down a bit so you could catch your breath?
To the king
Ever wondered where the term reggae came from? It certainly is a new word, coined for the type of music which originated in Jamaica. Some claim that Bob Marley attributes it to an old compilation of Christian music, that suggests reggae came from the Latin word ‘regi’ which means ‘to the king’.
Others like Derrick Morgan claim that the music when first played sounded like’ rege-rege’. While historian Steve Barrow says that Clancy Eccles used the word ‘reggae’ loosely while jamming.
However it started, ‘Reggae’ is a unique style of Jamaican music that the world learned to love. Unique to Reggae is its rhythmic accents or ska and emphasis on the third beat.
Similar but different to rocksteady, Reggae is still slower than rocksteady. Reggae is greatly influenced by Rasta drums or the spiritual movement in Jamaica called Rastafari. Though Reggae is not in any way a spiritual movement, Reggae lyrics focused on black consciousness, Rastafari and the effects of poverty. If one were to sing Reggae, it also has to be in Jamaican English, with its tilting sound in the middle syllable.
Taking it slow
With its slow tempo and unusual emphasis on the third beat, Reggae gives a relaxed, laid-back attitude. The use of the snare drum and tom-tom drums give a picture of idyllic island life of sun and beach. At first noted for its criticism on social conditions, Reggae has since moved on to sing of personal matters, of love and brotherhood though a lot still take the stand against poverty, colonialism and capitalism.
Reggae introduced ‘toasting music’ and this has greatly influenced hip-hop and rap. When reggae reached the shores of Latin America a new form of Reggae came out which was called Reggaeton. Reggaeton blends the original Reggae with the music of Latin America: salsa, Latin hip-hop and electronic.
Raggamuffin, a spin-off of Reggae originated from the music of Jamaican ‘ghetto youths.’ With a lot of hip-hop and electronic music, Raggamuffin became a mainstay in the music world.
Perhaps the most famous original Reggae artists would be Bob Marley and the Wailers, Sly and Robbie, The Mighty Diamonds and The Steppers. British and American groups include Steel Pulse, The Abyssinians and Israel Vibration.
Newer artists and more favored songs include Capital Letters’ ‘Africa Bound, John Brown’s Body ‘Feel’, Frankie Paul’s ‘Gun Man Around Town’, Aswad’s ‘I A Rebel Soul’ and Dennis Brown’s The Prophet Rides Again’.
Get your Reggae music and give yourself some good time.
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