Reggae is now on UNESCO's list of protected cultural heritage

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) has just added reggae music to its list of more than 300 practices and expressions of "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" for safeguarding. From UNESCO:

Having originated within a cultural space that was home to marginalized groups, mainly in Western Kingston, the Reggae music of Jamaica is an amalgam of numerous musical influences, including earlier Jamaican forms as well as Caribbean, North American and Latin strains. In time, Neo-African styles, soul and rhythm and blues from North America were incorporated into the element, gradually transforming Ska into Rock Steady and then into Reggae. While in its embryonic state Reggae music was the voice of the marginalized, the music is now played and embraced by a wide cross-section of society, including various genders, ethnic and religious groups. Its contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual. The basic social functions of the music – as a vehicle for social commentary, a cathartic practice, and a means of praising God – have not changed, and the music continues to act as a voice for all. Students are taught how to play the music in schools from early childhood to the tertiary level, and Reggae festivals and concerts such as Reggae Sumfest and Reggae Salute provide annual outlets, as well as an opportunity for understudy and transmission for upcoming artists, musicians and other practitioners.

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'No More Trouble', Bob Marley and the Wailers live on the BBC, 1973

Bob Marley and the Wailers, 1973. The full live set is below, recorded in-studio for the BBC. Read the rest “'No More Trouble', Bob Marley and the Wailers live on the BBC, 1973”

Ska is the mother of reggae

Public Radio International aired this short audio piece on ska, the musical form that took off in the early 1960s, blending Jamaican jazz with American soul and rhythm and blues, and influenced numerous excellent bands, from The Clash and The Specials to No Doubt and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Read the rest “Ska is the mother of reggae”

Happy birthday, Lee "Scratch" Perry! (and 1985 interview video)

Interview with Lee "Scratch" Perry from the 1985 documentary "Jools in Jamaica."