Reggae music

6 827 Reggae songs with 581 171 monthly listeners

Where Did Reggae Music Come From?
Jamaica, a beautiful Caribbean country is synonymous with reggae music. It is here that this genre emerged in the late 1960s and went on to conquer the world. ‘Do the Reggay’ by Toots and the Maytals was the first song to utilise the word "reggae," thereby identifying its musical grouping and bringing it to a global audience.
The Dictionary of Jamaican English (1980) expounds on the history of this sound. It cites that reggae is premised on ska, an ancient Jamaican music style. It used a hard four-beat rhythm driven by bass and electric guitar, drums, and the scraper. As a result of this new instrumental music, dub, the drum and bass formed the sound’s cornerstone. The chunking sound of the guitar’s strumming in this rhythm ultimately defined this sound. Back In the day, these Jamaican songs spoke of hardships that people went through.

Afrocentric Rastafari, a religion founded in Jamaica in the 1930s, had a strong influence on reggae's musical style. Early on, its international music international appeal helped disseminate the Rastafarian message across the world about Rastafari. The content of this music was wide-ranging and spoke about religion and the plight of being an average Jamaican. Throughout the 1970s, reggae became popular in the United States, Africa, and Great Britain.

All this time, legendary African artists kept a close watch on what Jamaica and Europe were producing. The likes of Jamaican singers Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley helped push their music and it was widely accepted far away from home. In 1978, Sonny Okosun's "Fire in Soweto" became one of the first hits by an African singer with unmistakable reggae elements. Several other bands soon followed suit, and t quickly became one of the most popular musical genres in Africa by the end of the '70s. John Nunley reported that his music could be heard all around the city of Freetown, Sierra Leone.

In 1980, Marley brought Harare to a standstill with a riveting concert in the city’s capital. History suggests this was the birth of African reggae. The continuance of this genre in Africa spurred talent as the likes of the late South African performing artist Lucky Dube used the sound with lyrics calling for social and economic inequality.

Who Are The Favourite African Reggae Artists?
The list is long and inexhaustible. However, you enjoy this genre every time you listen to:
Lucky Dube
Tyrone Downie
Alpha Blondy
Bunny Wailer
Peter Tosh
Shatta Wale
Winky D
Wyre
Stonebwoy
Cathy Matete
Tiken Jah Fakoly
Rocky Dawuni
Jakim
Timaya
Bafing Kul
Zikki
Agana
Nkulee Dube

Why Should You Listen to African Reggae?
Reggae is an interesting genre to listen to. Its evolution came with a special breed of listeners. And the proponent of it all is the Rastafarian movement, which promotes the return of the African diaspora to Africa. In Africa, it called Ethiopia home courtesy of the legendary Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I. He was as controversial and instrumental as the music came. The Ethiopian Emperor glorified the use of cannabis – synonymous with this music in Jamaica.

In yesteryears, the use of ganja which remains a prohibited drug across many African countries was associated with any song from this genre. The sacramental use of ganja was a major influence on the development of the genre in Africa. What’s interesting is that these artists observed a common code in their way of life and outfit.

Long dread rocks, boots and military fatigue were popular then. It is what defined an ardent fan from the rest. Besides, you would/still find attires with marijuana engravings to send a statement of their loyalty. In sharp contrast, this music was nowhere close to the outward imagery musicians projected. It was all about equal rights and justice.

Fast forward, the industry has changed and is more vibrant than before. The hang-on belief of the sacramental use of marijuana to associate with the genre is no longer there. But, it took decades to wipe all this clean. Today, reggae is musical to both the young and the old. It has a lot of wisdom in it and never lost its social justice call. If anything, it evolved into the African gospel industry. Listening to these songs makes you appreciate the beauty of musical diversity.

The sound has changed significantly but it still maintains an element of the first version of this Jamaican genre. Women too are in it - Evi Edna Ogholi from Nigeria – being a pioneer artist. Hitherto, different artists from Africa sing in their native languages but the beats don’t change.

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