Reggae: The Music of Protest

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There are several theories about how the word reggae originated. The first theory claims that the word reggae was coined on a 1968 Pyramid dance single, "Do the Reggay (sic)," by Toots and the Maytals. Some believe that the word is originated from Regga, the name of a Bantu-speaking tribe on Lake Tanganyika. Others say that it is a corruption of the word streggae, which is Kingston street slang for prostitute (The Origins of Ska …,n.d.). On the other hand, Bob Marley claimed that the word was Spanish in origin, meaning "the king's music." Veteran Jamaican studio musicians offer the simplest, and probably the most logical, explanation. "It's a description of the beat itself," says Hux Brown, lead guitarist on Paul Simon's 1972 reggae-flavored hit, "Mother and Child Reunion". "It's just a fun, joke kinda word that means the ragged rhythm and the body feelin'. If it's got a greater meanin', it doesn't matter," Brown said (The Origin of “Reggae';,n.d.). To many listeners reggae means fun, yet the lyrics of reggae music have deeper meanings which are about an extraordinary philosophy, Rastafarianism and political messages mostly about colonialism and corruption in governments. Reggae music which is evolved before the end of 1960s in Jamaica, has been used as an efficient form of protest against slavery, poverty and corruptions in government; and Bob Marley, the legend of reggae, had very important role in spreading the ideology of Rastafarianism and giving humanitarian messages to the world.
Reggae is a style of popular music which is originated in Jamaica in late 1960s and became dominant music in the country. In Jamaica there were 3 other music styles before reggae emerged. Since 1945 Jamaica adopted many American music forms such as; swing, soul and most importantly R&B. During and after the World War II the American troops based in Jamaica and while soldiers listening the Miami and New Orleans radio many young Jamaican were impressed with the music. By the mid 1950s huge open air dances started to occur and the interest to American R&B rose drastically. In the end of the 1950s, Jamaicans who were influenced by independency ideas were not satisfied by sounds of American rhythm & blues anymore. During the early and mid 60s around the time Jamaica was granted its independence, th...

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...layed the One Love Peace Concert in Kingston, bringing the two leaders of the violently warring Jamaican political parties (Michael Manley and Edward Seaga) together in a largely symbolic peacemaking gesture. Marley had been awarded the UN Peace Medal in 1978 for his humanitarian achievements. His sociopolitical influence also earned him an invitation to perform in 1980 at the ceremonies celebrating majority rule and internationally recognized independence of Zimbabwe. After one month later of his death Marley was awarded Jamaica’s Order of Merit.
Although his songs were some of the best-liked and most critically acclaimed music in the popular canon, Marley was far more renowned in death than he had been in life. Legend (1984), a retrospective of his work, became the best-selling reggae album ever, with international sales of more than 12 million copies.
In conclusion, reggae music has been a rebel music which has an ideology, Rastafarianism, against social and economical injustice both locally and universally; and the contributions of Bob Marley to the reggae, consequently Rastafarianism, are not negligible.

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