The Evolution of Reggae Music

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The Evolution of Reggae Music

Reggae has sustained the test of time and remains one of the world's

last genuine folk music. The evolution of Reggae music can be traced

back to the early 1900's with 'Mento', which is a simple music art

form of Jamaican folk music with strong African roots. Reggae music is

protest songs against racism, corruption and injustice. It has close

links with a religion based around the Bible that is re-interpreted

from a black's perspective, 'Rastafarianism'.

The key features of Reggae music are the 4/4 time signatures, the

emphasised beats 2 and 4 of each bar melody, the short repeated

bass/guitar riffs, the syncopation, the pentatonic/ major/minor/blues

scales used, the blues notes present in melody, the involvement of

bass guitar and drum kit, the simple chord progression that is

repeated throughout song and most importantly, the emotional lyrics

about politics, freedom, poverty and religion (Rastafarianism)

Reggae was popular in both urban and rural areas. In the 30's and

early 40's, 'Mento' was referred to as "Jamaican Rumba", and "Mango

Walk" was an example of a popular hit then. In the 1950's Mento music

was subsequently classified as "Calypso".

Next, the late 50's and early 60's was the evolvement of "Ska". Being

a Jamaican musician's interpretation of R&B, Ska changed the emphasis

from the first and third beats of a piece of music, to the second and

fourth beats. The new offbeat style became the identity mark of

Jamaican music.

First Ska, then came Rock Steady, developing into what is now known as

Reggae. Reggae involves the deliberate upstroke of the guitar, a

strummed beat and a domi...

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...e 90's rolled in with the Japanese discovering Reggae, Yami Bolo was

made a legend in Japan for his Reggae music. Mystic Revellers, Tiger,

Beenie Man and Bounti Killa emerged not long after Yami Bolo. During

the mid 90's, dancehall down surged in popularity but it was Beenie

Man and Bounti whowere responsible for bringing it back to the


Now, it is a new era and a new millennium. Potential Reggae musicians

are all around, with Mr Vegas, Mr. Lex, Morgan Heritage, Sizza, Tony

Curtis, Singing Melody and many more who will definitely be around in

the near future. The messages and meanings that Reggae music possess

have made it one of the last, most authentic folk music in the world

and this next generation of musicians have a bright future ahead of

them, transform their Reggae music careers into immense success.

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