Do you know your reggae music history?
Here are four things you should know about characteristics
of reggae music history.
1. Origin of reggae music
Let’s try and set the record straight about reggae music’s
history. I have heard people say that reggae music came from Africa; in fact they claimed that all music came
from Africa. And I have heard others say that it is a derivative of American Rhythm and Blues.
All of the above is true to an extent. Reggae musicians have
used parts of the different genres to develop some of the attributes of the music we have come to love.
It is to be noted that no musical form can claim 100% purity
since music influences music. Make no mistake about it; reggae music was developed in Jamaica. If I did not point
this out I would not do justice to reggae music’s history.
When the Africans came to Jamaica they came with their own
religions and musical forms. They came from different places in Africa and later from different plantations in the
Don’t forget also that the Europeans who invaded Jamaica
also brought their own musical forms with them which, they forced upon the people; as a direct result
the Jamaicans developed a unique Jamaican music styles
called Pukkumina which later translated in to Mento.
Mento then gave way to the new up tempo Ska which later gave
way to Rocksteady – by slowing down the beat and accentuating the second and forth beat of a musical bar. The
Rocksteady musicians continued to refine the playing technique which later resulted in reggae as we now know
many writers of the history of reggae omitted the role of Jamaica’s gospel music on the development of reggae,
I can not do that here.
It is a known fact in Jamaica that a significant portion of
the artists and musicians that went on to become famous in reggae had their first break in the church. In
fact the churches in Jamaica, even to this day, have some of the best musicians and singers.
Young musicians and singers in reggae’s early days did not
have the luxury of formal training. Hence the church filled that gap.
2. When was reggae created?
It would be extremely difficult to give the exact date or
time that gave birth to reggae music but, it is widely acknowledged by students of reggae music’s history that, it
was developed in the late 60s in Jamaica. Depending on who you speak to, you will indeed get varying opinion
One thing to bear in mind is that the term reggae is used by
many to classify all of Jamaica’s musical forms from the 60s to the present. Now some people are clear as to what reggae is, and it is the kind of music song
by Marley, Tosh, et al.
But, it is not as simple as that, since Ska, Rocksteady,
Deejaying (Dancehall) and Roots Reggae are all inextricably linked to make up what some believe to
be reggae. Ska probably started some time in late 50s and became popular in the mid 60s.
Rocksteady came about during the late 60s after the
musicians slowed down the tempo of ska. Rocksteady is also considered to be reggae or more precisely early