History of Jamaican Music

Topics: Jamaica, Reggae, Rastafari movement Pages: 4 (1254 words) Published: October 14, 2012
Crystal Hislop
Research Paper: Final Submission
History of Jamaican Music
Contemporary History

Professor:  Sharon Rodriguez


History of Jamaican Music

The history of Jamaican music is inextricably intertwined with the history of the Jamaican people. Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean, and was initially populated by the Arawak people. Christopher Columbus "discovered" the island on his second voyage to the Americas, and it was settled first by Spanish colonists, and later by English colonists. (Megan, R.)

Jamaicans possess a musical heritage that comes from their African and European roots. Reggae music is Jamaica’s best sound. These thumping sounds are rich and infectious and encompass expression of private freedom, independence, religion, and gossip. Jamaica’s most well-known is Bob Marley whose influence helped bring Reggae music in to the Jamaican main stream. (Cultural Attraction Tour in American (2010).) Jamaicans also are proud of their artistic style. Relying on the island’s unique culture in addition to European, American, and African artistic representations, islanders have mastered a method all their own. The country has produced many famous artists including sculptor and painter Edna Manley, painter Albert Huie and also the self-taught artist Kapo. (Cultural Attraction Tour in American (2010).)

The religion of Rastafarianism grew out of the teachings of black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey and the 1930 crowning of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. Early forms of Rastafarianism used Baptist hymnals in religious ceremonies. In the slums of West Kingston, the Rastafarians adopted African-influenced burru drumming to create a sound known as "Rasta music" or "Rasta chant." The Rasta chant of the 1950s was not yet full-blown reggae. It lacked melody, but it had reached the ears of the mainstream and planted seeds for the wild success of reggae music in the 1960s and '70s. (Jennifer King)

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