Friday, May 31, 2013

Roots, Rock, Reggae

First, the roots...

When you think of Jamaican music you think of Reggae.  Even if that term doesn't come to mind, that music that's playing in your head is probably reggae!!  It's a rhythm and a beat, an easy- going, be-bopping around kind of music that makes you want to move slow and easy.  The lyrics can be hard to understand sometimes because of the thick Jamaican patois (accent) and the unique phrases that Jamaicans use, but a lot of early Reggae music was political- mostly about the corruption and inequality in Jamaica during the 60's and 70's. 

Haile Selassie
Another main concept in Reggae is the Rastafari Movement.  Rastafari  is a religion that is very prevalent in Jamaica - I believe (and I have only a very minor understanding of it) that the followers believe that an Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie, was the next coming of Christ (he denied his divinity).  Some of the main tenets of the religion are resistance of oppression and pride in the African heritage.  Rastas usually avoid unnatural foods and follow a vegetarian diet, avoid alcohol, and wear their hair in dreadlocks. From a few quotes I have read it sounds like a very interesting religion, but it is discounted by many as just an excuse to smoke marijuana.  The Rastas  use marijuana (ganja) as a sacrament, similar to the Catholic communion, as a way to get closer to Jah (God) and be open to hear his communications.  It's like meditating, and very similar to some of the Native American traditions.  But enough religion, let's get to the music.

Bob Marley is the most well-known Reggae musician.  Many of his songs are about political themes but even with this dark subject matter they are still catchy and fun.  His music strikes a chord with many people because of his messages of redemption, freedom, and peace.  When he died of cancer in the early 80's Reggae music was just becoming known around the world- since then it has been an influence on many bands of today.  I chose a couple of my favorite Bob Marley songs for you to listen to - enjoy!!!

Redemption Song by Bob Marley and the Wailers - an acoustic recording of a song.  Beautiful and powerful political message.

3 Little Birds by Bob Marley and the Wailers- I love this song and it's positive message.

One Love by Bob Marley and the Wailers- This video was made after Bob's death and a lot of the stars of the 80's make cameos.  Another powerful but simple message - One Love.

The reggae world is now rocking with many of Bob's children.  The next song is by his eldest son, Ziggy (real name David)

Tomorrow People by Ziggy Marley

I hope you enjoy the tunes- peace.