Reggae music inspires its listeners to relax in its tranquil rhythms and leave the modern everyday worries behind. Reggae also empowers its listeners to connect to the unique oneness of the earth and creation with the power of music. By way of its international recognition Reggae music has proven that it is among the most listened to genres of music in the world since it has continued to motivate its followers hit after hit, decade after decade through the vibrant Caribbean beat and modest tempo. As reggae has evolved, there has been many international musical superstars such as Sizzla, Buju Banton, Burning Spear and the late great Bob Marley – The King of Reggae. When reggae first entered the music arena in the 1960’s, Reggae transformed an ancestral beat unlike any other similar type of music. But where did it come from? For such a powerful mountain moving class of music it is ironic that the music comes from a small island in the Caribbean – Jamaica. Reggae also comes from the collaboration of earlier Caribbean music like ska, and rocksteady combined with blues & rock and roll, and driven by the roots and soul of African heritage.
Jamaica emerged as an exotic island retreat destination in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Combine the raw beauty of the lustrous island with smooth sounds of reggae music and it is no wonder why Jamaica is still a top travel destination for vacationers worldwide. But there is another side of Jamaica and history that goes back further than the 1950’s. Jamaica was one of the first areas that was first discovered by European explorers in the late 1400’s. Jamaica was a central distribution center during the African slave trade. With a long history of cultural integration, Jamaican Reggae music is deeply rooted in the history of Jamaica and the black experience of the African-American descendants of slaves. Jamaica was founded by the English in 1655 and at that time housed African slaves that were under English rule. Throughout the generations, these slaves although stripped from their original roots and culture, kept their identity as black Africans for centuries to come. The music of reggae was sparked by a reincarnation of traditional African music that involved rhythmic drums and percussion to a set rhythm under harmony.
Reggae music brings to its listeners a message. No better song describes the prophetic nature of Reggae than the Bob Marley classic “Redemption Song”. In Redemption Song Marley pleads to his listeners by quoting an earlier Jamaican leader Marcus Garvey to, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery” symbolizing that slavery may have ended but black people are still in bondage until they reestablish their original African roots and culture. Redemption Song promotes salvation, unity amongst men, peace and love throughout the world, and it condemns war, racism, poverty and oppression. Redemption Song captures the heart and soul of the message of reggae music.
As reggae music became more popular and musical technology began to advance, the younger generation of Jamaicans began turning their own twist on the popular music. With the message put in place that you can cure hate with love and music, reggae artists have continued the tradition of Bob Marley and have shown that there doesn’t need to be war in your life and that you can live peacefully. That is the true message of reggae.
Jamaica is the capital of the Caribbean, the home of Reggae music and the birthplace of Bob Marley. Reggae music is the type of music that brings optimism in people’s lives in times of oppression, personal trials and tribulations, and dark sadness. Reggae music is peace and love, light and hope. That is the message it brings.