Reggae Español: Jamaican Music in Spanish-speaking Countries

Reggae Español: Jamaican Music in Spanish-speaking Countries

Length: 2659 words (7.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Reggae Español: Jamaican Music in Spanish-speaking Countries

With its close geographic proximity to the Caribbean and Latin America, Jamaica has not only received influences from these cultures, but has also been influential on molding and forming an integral part of Spanish-speaking nations. The growing popularity of reggae and Jamaican culture as a whole is apparent all over the world, and is catching on quickly. Although there are reggae groups found in many of the Spanish-speaking countries worldwide, there is not much literature that has focused on their history or followed their progress, just like there is not much published work about reggae and Rastafarianism. This paper intends to focus on the Spanish involvement in Jamaica and also chart the musical influence of reggae in these aforementioned regions.

Although there is not much evidence regarding the Spanish involvement of Jamaica, the Spaniards were supposedly the first to arrive on the island, and settle it shortly thereafter. Christopher Columbus veered off his path and came upon the small island in the Caribbean on his second voyage in may of 1494. The island was already inhabited by the indigenous people called the Arawaks, who supposedly came from Venezuela and had already named the island Xaymaca. Not unlike the other Caribbean islands the Spaniards inhabited, their presence decimated the indigenous population. The influx of disease and mistreatment of the indigenous people by the newcomers led to their eventual demise, 70-80 years after the Spanish arrival. (Musgrave). Only a few artifacts remain of what was once the Arawak culture, a people that at one point numbered 60,000. (Barrett, p. 20).

15 years after the Spaniards first encountered the island, they founded a settlement and were quickly establishing dominance in the region. In 1509, the Spaniards built a town named after an existing Spanish town, Sevilla La Nueva, New Seville. It was located near what is now St. Ann’s Bay on Jamaica’s north coast. With the local indigenous population declining due to disease, Spaniards began bring Africans to the island to work as slaves and perform hard labor. When the Spaniards left and the English took over, many of the salve fled, which became known as Maroons, and settled in what is now known as The Cockpit Country, located in the center of the island.

The Spanish presence in Jamaica was relatively brief, and never flourished under Spanish rule. They handed it over to Britain in 1655, after engaging in battle with the British.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Reggae Español: Jamaican Music in Spanish-speaking Countries." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Feb 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=39429>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Rap Music By Jamaican Native Kool Dj Herc Essay

- “Keep in mind when brothas start flexing their verbal skillz, it always reflects what’s going on politically, socially and economically.” – Musician Davey D Whether you realize it or not; rap is an art form that is here to stay. Rap as it exists today was pioneered in the Bronx 1973 by Jamaican native Kool DJ Herc. Herc used an innovative turntable technique to extend the drum breaks of songs, during which he would toast in rhyme to party guests. As it caught on the Sugarhill Gang released the first successful rap song in 1979 titled “Rappers Delight.” -(Blanchard) (Rap or (Rhythmically Accentuated Poetry) has the ability to influence change on a global scale as well as inspire a culture tha...   [tags: Hip hop music, Rapping, Hip hop, Gangsta rap]

Research Papers
1343 words (3.8 pages)

Jamaican Music: Reggae Essay

- ... He commenced record engenderment starting with recording 13 musical compositions for his incipient label Wild Bells. This one of the things that transmuted the Jamaican music history. While he was recording his musical compositions Buster invented something incipient which melded the rhythm of traditional mento music coalescing it with R&B. Buster main goal was delectating the crowd in front of his sound system with his incipient beats. He didn't ken that he would be an immensely colossal factor in transmuting the history of Jamaican music....   [tags: bob marley, history]

Research Papers
1908 words (5.5 pages)

Slavery and the Jamaican Maroons Essay

- The introduction of black slaves in the western world was the beginning of a new culture, more economic wealth and prosperity for whites and for blacks a life of poverty, enslavement and oppression. The life and times of the Jamaican Maroons is a story of an indomitable foe, a people whose survival depends on their wit and tenacity, form a part of this terrible saga in the history of blacks in the New World and where we are today. The struggle of the Maroons of Jamaica against the British colonial authorities, their subsequent collaboration with and betrayal by them....   [tags: Jamaica, Africa]

Research Papers
1583 words (4.5 pages)

Punk Rock And Jamaican Ska Essay

- Punk Rock and Jamaican SKA are two very well-known music genres, but they are not as popular as they were when they first began. However there still is a huge fan base that likes to keep the music and culture of both genres alive. Also both music styles come from different countries, but stand for a similar meaning. When one hears the sound of the music it is easy to tell apart which music style is which, but many of the early punk bands were influenced by ska which started a huge connection that brought the two genres together....   [tags: Rock music, Heavy metal music, Ska, Punk rock]

Research Papers
716 words (2 pages)

The Jamaican Hero Essay

- He is an iconic figure and an inspiration to millions of people around the world. His name is Bob Marley. Marley had a profound impact on the world’s culture that still has a lasting impression today. His music inspired people everywhere to maintain a sense of calmness, and enticed the Jamaican people to keep peace during the country’s tough political and economic times. Marley also inspired many of the future reggae musicians, and his legacy still stands to this day. His songs become well-known for its messages of universal love and Biblical prophecies, and inspired people across the world to spread the message of peace and harmony....   [tags: Biography, Bob Marley]

Research Papers
1180 words (3.4 pages)

Jamaican Patois and the Power of Language in Reggae Music Essay

- Jamaican Patois and the Power of Language in Reggae Music Introduction Creole languages are found all over the world on every continent. When two or more languages come into contact to form a new language a Creole language is born. Some type of human "upheaval" that forces people to find a way to communicate, without using their own languages, stimulates the creation of a Creole language. In the case of Creole languages in the Caribbean, the "upheaval" is the past history of slavery. Most Creole languages are based on one language....   [tags: essays papers]

Research Papers
4982 words (14.2 pages)

The History of Rap Music Essay examples

- The History of Rap Music Rap music originated as a cross-cultural product. Most of its important early practitioners-including Kool Herc, D.J. Hollywood, and Afrika Bambaataa-were either first- or second-generation Americans of Caribbean ancestry. Herc and Hollywood are both credited with introducing the Jamaican style of cutting and mixing into the musical culture of the South Bronx. By most accounts Herc was the first DJ to buy two copies of the same record for just a 15-second break (rhythmic instrumental segment) in the middle....   [tags: Rap Music Jamaican Culture Essays]

Free Essays
1455 words (4.2 pages)

Harmony and Howling — African and European Roots of Jamaican Music Essay

- Harmony and Howling — African and European Roots of Jamaican Music English colonial rule began in Jamaica in the year 1655. The growth of a plantation culture in the West Indies quickly changed the need for labor in the area. Between 1700 and 1786, more than 600,000 African slaves were brought to Jamaica. These slaves were required to work for their English colonial masters who would purchase them from slave traders at various ports around the island. Slaves were abducted from various regions of Africa, and brought over to the New World in large boats, packed to the teeth with the Africans....   [tags: essays papers]

Research Papers
3771 words (10.8 pages)

Jamaican Culture Essay

- Jamaican culture is more than just Rastafarianism and Reggae music. The Jamaican culture encompasses every aspect of life from beliefs, superstitions, and practices to art, education, and tourism. However, the most important aspect of the culture is the African roots that still exist today. Religion and music became essential parts of the slave culture for communication purposes and barrier breakers. Culture is 'the property of the individual and it's a property of societies' (Alleyne 9). Jamaica has a very diverse culture with original natives coming into contact with the Spanish and English....   [tags: Jamaica Culture Rastafarianism Essays]

Research Papers
1275 words (3.6 pages)

The End of Oppression for Jamaican Women Essay

- The End of Oppression for Jamaican Women Women have been oppressed in many places and in many different ways over the years, but in Jamaica this continuing trend is finally to be broken. "Sexual or gender inequality represents as essential and integral feature of social relations and culture construction in Jamaica, where for the past four hundred years colonial and imperialist exploitation has governed the development of economic, political, and sociocultural patterns and structures."(Harrison: Women in Jamaica's Urban Informal Economy pg....   [tags: Oppression Feminism Jamaica Culture Essays]

Research Papers
5563 words (15.9 pages)

Related Searches

There are several place names in Jamaica that show the Spanish involvement, such as Ocho Rios and Spanish Town, which was called St. Jago de la Vega in colonial times, but little else remains.

Although the influence of Spanish-speaking countries on Jamaica has not been long lasting, Jamaican influence on other countries has been more significant, and is still growing. During the construction of the Panama Canal, many Jamaicans left their homeland and went to work on the extensive project in the early 1900’s. It could be said that many of them stayed and raised families who now are a part of the 14% of the black population that exists in Panama.

As Jamaican influences grow, so grow the influences of reggae music and Rastafarianism. The number of groups who perform reggae in Spanish are growing at a very rapid pace. The Jamaican and Reggae influence is becoming more popular around the world, especially in Spanish-speaking countries. Many of these groups are based in the United States, where there is a strong population of Spanish-speaking people who have shown their appreciation for not only Jamaican reggae, but reggae that is sung in their respective language.

Some of these reggae español groups have formed web sites in order to spread the word of reggae español, promote their albums or concert dates, and allow fans to understand where they came from and where they want to go in the future. One of these groups comes from Guadalajara, Mexico and they call themselves El Mito, or translated to English, The Myth. They are proud of their music and they posted a paragraph on their web site so that people will understand who they are and who they are not. It is apparent in the description of who they are not that they do not want to be mistaken for a salsa band from Miami, but when telling who they are, they stress the fact that they interpret and write reggae songs. They want people of all creeds to listen to their music and say they do not discriminate based on race, nationality, language, or religion. For this reason their songs are sung in English, French, and Spanish.

Fortunately they posted their lyrics on the web so people are able to read them and explore their meanings. Of the songs they posted, most of them are in Spanish, while some are in Spanish and French, Spanish and English, or a mixture of all three languages. The songs listed are as follows: "Manzana, Regresar, Si Je Pouvais, Talawah, Greenpeace, Hermanos, Tlalli, La Fuerza del Leon, and Rastaraka."

An interesting song that promotes reggae music as a whole is entitled "Rastaraka." It is obvious that the title stems from the influences of Rastafarianism and Jamaican culture. This song is sung in French, English, and Spanish, so more people are able to listen to the words and understand their meaning. The song begins in French:

Tout le Monde
Sont des-freres
Ils font la fete
Ensamble commeme

Niimporte le couleur
De la peau
N’importe s’il est
Noire, blamc au jaune

Chorus:
Africa loves reggae
México loves reggae
Jamaica loves reggae
then everybody loves,
Reggae music
Reggae music. . .

Don’t judge your brother
By the color of his skin
is the same as the color of his eyes

don’t judge him
don’t kill him
don’t treat him down
no, no, don’t treat him down

(Chorus)

El amor es a todos
sino todo esto no es amor
no importa si tu hermano
no es del color de tu piel

lo importanta es lo que sientes
lo que importa es lo que siento

no lo juzgues
no lo mates
no lo dejes abajo

(Chorus)

All the verses basically mean the same thing, with only slight variations occurring among them. This is a positive song promoting racial tolerance all over the world. It sends a very uplifting message that should be heard by all. It is a song that is looking to the future and awaiting harmony after hundreds and hundreds of years of systematic racial oppression has occurred all over the world.

Another song that shows Jamaican cultural and reggae influences is one titled "La Fuerza del Leon," or "The Force of the Lion" in English. This song is sung entirely in Spanish so I will give the lyrics in Spanish and translate them into Spanish, based on my interpretation.

El Mito va a llegar,
no necesita de fuerza militar.
El Mito ya llegó,
Tan solo necesita la fuerza del león.

La guerra no queremos,
Pues su efecto conocemos.
Muchos caminos hay para la paz,
pero todos usan un maldito antifaz.

La raza necesita la fuerza del león,
el reggae trae consigo la fuerza del león.
La raza necesita la fuerza del león,
El Mito trae consigo la fuerza del león.

El mundo está dañado,
y el no ha ayudado.
Nagasaki e Hiroshima, Chile y Argentina.

La fuerza del león
es la fuerza del león.

First verse repeated.

Párate y mira a ver si tienes la fuerza del león. (x3)
Si no El Mito la va a dar.

la fuerza del león
es la fuerza del león.
(Third verse repeated)

I am going to translate this to English but it may sound a little funny or not grammatically correct because sometimes things get lost in the translation.

The Myth is going to arrive
It doesn’t need military force.
The Myth already arrived,
It just needs the force of the lion.

We don’t want war
Well its effects we know.
Many roads there are to peace,
But everybody uses a damned mask.

The race needs the force of the lion,
Reggae brings with it the force of the lion.
The race needs the force of the lion,
The Myth brings with it the force of the lion.

The world is damaged,
And human has not helped.
Nagasaki and Hiroshima,
Chile and Argentina.

The force of the lion
Is the force of the lion.

(Third verse repeated)

Stop yourself and look to see if you have the force of the lion. (x3)
If not The Myth will give it.

The force of the lion
Is the force of the lion.

(Third verse repeated)

The significance of this song is directly related to the symbolism of the lion that can be found in Jamaican reggae and Rastafarianism. In Rastafarian culture, the lion represents Halie Selassie, the Conquering Lion of Judah. The lion is a prevalent symbol that appears in the form of artwork, songs, or poems. The lion has been known to represent King of the Jungle, the King of Kings, and some believe that it represents "dominant maleness" of the movement of Rastafarianism. Some think the lion symbolizes strength, dominance, and aggressiveness. (Barrett, p. 142).

Like the beliefs of Rastafarians everywhere, this song speaks about the injustices and crimes that are committed throughout the world. The Rastafarians of Jamaica feel they have been held down and abused by the authority figures, mainly the white people who have held political positions. (www.swagga.com). This song deals with oppression and injustices that have occurred in the form of war, which is condemned by El Mito because they have seen what it can do to people. In the fourth verse, they sing about how people have contributed to the destruction of the world in which we live. They refer to the dropping of the bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and then refer to the evil practices of the governments of two South American countries, Chile and Argentina. The military forces of these two governments committed human rights crimes on their citizens, and many were murdered because they opposed the government and the tactics they were using. This is similar to some of the oppression many black people Rastafarians have faced and expressed in their music and philosophy.

The theme of Rastafarianism occurs throughout the other songs of the groups El Mito. In "Greenpeace," they talk about the destruction of the land and question why it keeps occurring. "I ask myself, why must we destroy this lovely land, I don’t know, tell me jah jah, I don’t know, tell me jah jah."

In a song sung in both Spanish and English, entitled "Hermanos," (Brothers), they preach the benefits of being a rasta. They talk about racism, which is a common theme in many of their songs, and preach to "Be a rasta, be a rasta." Many of their other songs deal with love and loving all human beings, which stems directly from the Rsatafarian religion, which believe all people are equal, and joined together by one God, or Jah. (www.swagga.com).

Other reggae español artists have come together on a CD entitled "Viva la Rasta." These artists span three continents and nine countries, including Argentina, Spain, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Mexico, Venezuela, the United States, Cuba, and Nicaragua. Zimbabwe, a group that is based out of Argentina, posted a web site containing a history of the band and various songs that can be downloaded off the internet. (www.zimbabwe.com.ar). Another group that I was able to find on the web was Los Pericos, a band that was also based out of Argentina.

When looking around the area for reggae español, I ran into quite a bit of trouble. I was unable to find much in any of the stores I checked, and the people at Flex Records did not have much to say about reggae español. The person behind the counter rattled off a name, El General, who he thought had been popular in New York in the late 1980’s to early ‘90’s.

Although reggae español is not what you would call mainstream in the United States, it is growing in Latin America and other Spanish-speaking countries. There is a large fan base in the United States, because there are so many Spanish-speaking people who want to hear music in their native or preferred language. I came across a few people who had built web sites with links to reggae español, and these links were able to lead me to some of the information I found on the web.

The reggae I have heard incorporates the same type of beats and rhythms that can be found in Jamaica, but they have also added their own style to the mix. El Mito, the group from Guadalajara, Mexico, uses some of the same themes the Rastafarians from Jamaica sing about in their reggae music. They are looking toward the future and singing about brotherhood and sisterhood. They are eager to see changes in society but have not forgotten the past injustices and current oppression that can be found in every part of the world.

One song that goes back in time to mark the injustices of their people is entitled, "Talawah."

Talawah,

Es la gente de mi peublo,
"Pequeña pero fuerte"
Cuitláhuac,
Era un príncipe guerrero.
Unos señores borbones
Lo cegaron con mentira
Y cañones

Tenochtitlan la derrumbaron
Y todo el oro se llevaron,
El penacho de Moctezuma,
Está del otro lado de la laguna.

Kukulkán era su dios,
Kukulkán los engañó

Una cruz de ceniza
En la frente les pintaron
Y otra más de acero
En el vientre las clavaron.

El tapabarros se los quitaron
Diciendo que eran unos depravados.

Kukulkán era su dios,
Kukulkán los engañó.

English Version

Talawah,
Are the people of my town,
"Small but strong"

Cuitláhuac,
Was a warrior prince.
Some Bourbon men
Blinded him with lies
And cannons

They crumbled Tenochtitlan
And took all the gold with them,
The crest of Montezuma,
Is from the other side of the lagoon.

Kukulkán was their god,
Kukulkán deceived them

A cross of ash-gray
They painted on their foreheads
And one more of steel
They drove into their bellies.

They took their loincloths from them
Saying they were some depraved people.

Kukulkán was their god,
Kukulkán deceived them.

This song says a great deal about how the Aztec Indians living in Mexico were tricked by the Spaniards. Cortés befriended the Indians so they would be easier to conquer and he and his men ambushed them at night, which is what happened to Cuitláhuac in the second verse of the song. The Spaniards took their gold but the Talawah god was unable to save the people, for this they feel deceived.

In verse 5, they are singing about how the Spanish baptized them with an ah-gray cross on the forehead, and made them slaves by putting them in shackles. This has many similarities what the Rastafarians and Africans have gone through around the same time period, maybe just a little later. The Indians of the Americas were subjected to a similar history to the people of West Africa, only outsiders invaded the Indians’ land while the Africans were taken from their homeland and brought to a foreign place, only to experience the hellish life that accompanied slavery.

There are many similarities of themes in the songs of Jamaican reggae and reggae español, especially from the group El Mito. Reggae fans are bountiful in Jamaica but the culture and music behind Rastafarianism and reggae are not just going to stay in the small island in the Caribbean. Reggae is being listened to all over the world, and unlike the Spanish influences in Jamaica, reggae will be an integral part of Spanish-speaking countries for many years to come. It will change and grow based on the culture and times in which it is located, but it will always have its roots the country where it has become an important part of culture and society, Jamaica.
Return to 123HelpMe.com