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Jamaican Music

Jamaica is the land of various musical genres. Music have been an integral part of the lives of Jamaicans whether in times of love and strife. The fusion of different musical styles have generated a distinguishable innovative music that Jamaica can solely claim ownership that is called the “Jamaican music. ” More, so Jamaican music have brought bliss and moments of pleasure and enchantment to the culture of mankind. The most famous Jamaican music would probably be reggae that Bob Marley introduced and perfected in the Western world.

Reggae is the generic term for Jamaican music. In general, this world renowned music demonstrates the unrestrained lifestyle of people, their spur-of the-moment thoughts and spontaneous experiences. Furthermore, reggae is not a cerebral music, it does not require its listeners to analyze the lyrics to comprehend the essence of reggae. A pair of ears is the only basic necessity to appreciate the spirit of reggae. Moreover, the intuitive melody and rhythm exudes the emotional characteristics of reggae which makes listeners to easily relate with the songs.

Overall, reggae is a one of a kind music that awakens the spirit of its listeners to express sentimental and expressive emotions (Chang &Chen ix-x). The sound of reggae is a distinct musical concoction of brass instruments, guitar, organ, drums, bass and melodica. The combination of all these instruments generate a very powerful and creative medium of expression for many musicians. As a person listens to reggae, the feeling of being casual and laid-back is induced.

There is something with the melody and rhythm of its sound that makes a person to relax or better yet ‘chill’. The clipped or chunky sound of the guitar combined with the heavy booming tune of the bass reveals a dynamic beat that makes a person’s body move along with this kind of sound. Accompanying the string sounds is the throbbing or thudding beat of the drums. Its sound blend harmoniously with the the guitar and bass. The solid rhythmic beats instruct the whole body to bounce with the feet tapping the floor, hands snapping, knees bending and head turning.

The combination of these instruments brings out the listeners’ enthusiasm to groove. It naturally commands the feet to start moving step by step with the occasional knee up dance move combined with the swaying of the hands, hip and head to the left and right direction and vice versa. The simple beating of the drums and the cropped sound of the guitar with sporadic inserts of “wawa sound,” amazing horn ensemble and the melodic organ, energizes the listeners to participate in the reggae musical experience.

Melody and rhythm is not the only important aspect of reggae. Lyrics also play a major role in the enchanting music of reggae which is commonly about a wide array of subjects including love, relationships, faith, poverty, prejudice and other social issues. Also, the association of Rastafarianism with reggae have influenced reggae to be known as the “marijuana song” that encourages the use of this drug.

Despite the instigation of social awareness, the promotion of procrastination and the exploration of sex and love, reggae continues to be appreciated not through its content but by its unparalleled rhythm and melody. More so, listeners’ patronage on reggae is rooted on its absolute impression of the emotions that directs the listeners to feel rather than to think which makes them emancipated from the realness of the world, even just for a while.

References

Chang, Kevin O. , & Chen, Wayne. Reggae Routes. Temple University Press, 1998.

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