Reggae Music gets UNESCO recognition; is it well deserved and timely or long overdue?
"Reggae has a philosophy, you know? It's not just entertainment. There's an idea behind it, a way of life behind the music, which is a positive way of life, which is a progressive way of life for better people." - Ziggy Marley
There is something special about Reggae that places it high above all other music genres - is it the message in the lyrics, the beats, the delivery or the artistes?
Reggae has a unique impact on its listeners and every track has a message.
However, the music has been wrongly associated and stereotyped around drug users (especially cannabis) because majority of Reggae artistes and lovers are strong advocates of cannabis. But is this enough reason to vilify the beautiful sound, lyrics and message passed in every reggae song?
This week, in what appears to be a major success in breaking the stereotype around Reggae music and its disciples, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) finally accepted to inscribed reggae music on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
This came after Jamaica - the home land of Reggae – applied for it to be added to this year’s list.
The confirmation of its addition was communicated in a statement released by UNESCO after a meeting in Mauritius where officials reviewed the proposals.
The statement read:
“Having originated within a cultural space that was home to marginalized groups, mainly in Western Kingston, the Reggae music of Jamaica is an amalgam of numerous musical influences, including earlier Jamaican forms as well as Caribbean, North American and Latin strains.
"In time, Neo-African styles, soul and rhythm and blues from North America were incorporated into the element, gradually transforming Ska into Rock Steady and then into Reggae.
“While in its embryonic state Reggae music was the voice of the marginalized, the music is now played and embraced by a wide cross-section of society, including various genders, ethnic and religious groups.
Its contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual.”
Reggae music originated in Jamaica in the 1960s, and continues to gain relevance across the world even after the death of Reggae greats like bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Lucky Dube and many others.
Speaking on the development, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange said:
“Reggae is uniquely Jamaican, it is a music that we have created that has penetrated all corners of the world.”
What are your thoughts?
Header Image Source: The New Times Rwanda
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