Reggae: A Musical Note to Remember
July 19, 2021
Although Reggae music songs are a gift from Jamaica to the world, today we see different iterations. It first came into existence as an opposition to imperialism and dictatorship. It still is a vital tool against it, but it has evolved to become something even greater.
Every country of the world has some distinct styles, with their individualistic characteristics, and rich culture. But, not all of them are internationally acclaimed. But Reggae is, and that’s the beauty of it.
Reggae styles are not restricted to the genre itself, Hiphop borrowed it and gave a twist to it. If you love listening to pop, especially the British version, you can hear the subtle undertones. Do you love jazz? You can definitely find it there.
Even Dancehall music has some roots in Reggae. Do you sing R&B songs? Just experiment, and throw in some Reggae into the mix, and you will get a truly unique combination.
The old generation thinks of it as an asset, even if they are not from the Caribbean Islands. Whereas our generation finds it amazing. There it is, acting like a bridge without even considering it.
But what has made it work?
Reggae can blend with everything, that’s the main reason. Reggae infuses, and takes some characteristics from other genres, to become something otherworldly. Due to this reason, Reggae has stood the test of time.
When a Reggae music artist sings a song, his/ her main purpose is to entertain for sure. But, it’s more than that. He can inform people through the song about issues (and solutions), spread the word, raise awareness and public opinion without doing much.
He can sing positive songs to provide hope and the desire for bringing a better future for the next generations.
Now, we must clear one thing, Jamaican music was already gaining momentum internationally. Yes, this was even before the introduction of Reggae. Numerous artists are interested in the tunes, and lyrics, and wanted to try them. By doing that, they have created some truly remarkable pieces to ever grace the music industry.
Folk music, much like today, connected with people living outside the country.
But Reggae upped the game even further. The song was from people who were African-Jamaican, but it did not stay within that particular community.
We got Reggae from different corners, and our Hollywood movies are no exception. The artists starred in numerous films, including James Bond ones.
What did it do? These artists and Jamaican people, in general, established themselves as a cool community.
We got some influential artists who stick to the more traditional form. But, we also got people who were unafraid to experiment. Some of these songs did break the barrier and were considered lewd.
But it also paved the way for punk through rude boy behavior. Britain was the first to get hooked on it. Next on the list was France, Sweden, and unsurprisingly Australia, along with the rest of the world. Remember the Down Under? That’s Australian Reggae with pop in it.
Eagle’s Mexican Reggae also deserves special mention. Some of these songs are melancholic, and regretful, just like people’s lives truly are. Sometimes, we are happy with our decisions, other times we are not.
As mentioned, punk seemed to learn a lot from Reggae. Babylon’s Burning is a true testament to Reggae’s versatility and popularity. We also saw numerous bands performing such songs.
I bet you have some of your suggestions too, isn’t it right? In America, Reggae is revered in some parts, and in others, it is not that popular. Reggae artists from this location are limited (but still the number is impressive).
During the 1970s, an artist made us aware with a Hiphop beat. Here, Reggae played a massive role and created a funky mood. This mood became synonymous with today’s party mood. And who is better skilled in creating a funky mood than Jamaicans.
But let’s get back to Reggae. You can play these songs at parties, after making some arrangements. HipHop and Reggae fuse well and can bring the tempo up. So, it can be used for fast dances, like any other genre.
If you are a singer/ songwriter, you can start trying this genre out. But first, you need to get into its soul. If you cannot do it, you cannot generate Reggae. And it will not be authentic, as well.
Do you remember listening to Free Soul? Yes, it is my favorite song, and it pays homage to Jamaican roots impeccably.
The old image of Reggae artists smoking ganja is popular, but it’s still old. Yes, this image has attracted some people, but most artists are deterring from promoting such things through their songs.
When it comes to Reggae, Bob Marley is hands down the most iconic singer. But others are incredible as well.
Here are some more artists/ bands that tried this style, and saw success:
- Amy Winehouse
- Major Lazer
We also saw many Asian versions of this style. That’s what I was talking about in the beginning, Reggae is universal.
Reggaeton is one of the best forms that came from Reggae. It’s not truly following the Jamaican version to the core, but still much similar to it. These artists are doing their best to promote the genre while providing their contributions.
I too, was mesmerized by Reggae and started singing these songs. And after some time, I started writing them too.
It is oddly relaxing, just like listening to it is. The process is complex, and it’s hard to mention it through writing. But, if you are an artist, you would understand. I try to sing other genres like Dancehall and Hiphop, but Reggae has a special connection.
Where can you listen to this genre? In lots of places, just search your Spotify or Apple Music playlist.
Where can you learn it? I don’t know, look around, and try online classes (if you are unable to go out). All the best in your endeavors.