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Reggae (/ˈrɛɡ/) is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora.[1] A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word "reggae", effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience.[2][3] While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, especially the New Orleans R&B practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady.[4] Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political commentary. Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as "rudie blues", then "ska", later "blue beat", and "rock steady".[5] It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rocksteady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument.[6]

Reggae is deeply linked to Rastafari, an Afrocentric religion which developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, aiming at promoting Pan Africanism.[7][8][9] Soon after the Rastafarian movement appeared, the international popularity of reggae music became associated with and increased the visibility of Rastafarianism spreading the Rastafari gospel throughout the world.[8] Reggae music is an important means of transporting vital messages of Rastafarianism. The musician becomes the messenger, and as Rastafarians see it, "the soldier and the musician are tools for change."[10]

Stylistically, reggae incorporates some of the musical elements of rhythm and blues, jazz, mento (a celebratory, rural folk form that served its largely rural audience as dance music and an alternative to the hymns and adapted chanteys of local church singing),[11] calypso,[12] and also draws influence from traditional African folk rhythms. One of the most easily recognizable elements is offbeat rhythms; staccato chords played by a guitar or piano (or both) on the offbeats of the measure. The tempo of reggae is usually slower paced than both ska and rocksteady.[13] The concept of call and response can be found throughout reggae music. The genre of reggae music is led by the drum and bass.[14][15] Some key players in this sound are Jackie Jackson from Toots and the Maytals,[16] Carlton Barrett from Bob Marley and the Wailers,[17] Lloyd Brevett from The Skatalites,[18] Paul Douglas from Toots and the Maytals,[19] Lloyd Knibb from The Skatalites,[20] Winston Grennan,[21] Sly Dunbar,[22] and Anthony "Benbow" Creary from The Upsetters.[23] The bass guitar often plays the dominant role in reggae. The bass sound in reggae is thick and heavy, and equalized so the upper frequencies are removed and the lower frequencies emphasized. The guitar in reggae usually plays on the offbeat of the rhythm. It is common for reggae to be sung in Jamaican Patois, Jamaican English, and Iyaric dialects. Reggae is noted for its tradition of social criticism and religion in its lyrics,[24] although many reggae songs discuss lighter, more personal subjects, such as love and socializing.

Reggae has spread to many countries across the world, often incorporating local instruments and fusing with other genres. Reggae en Español spread from the Spanish-speaking Central American country of Panama to the mainland South American countries of Venezuela and Guyana then to the rest of South America. Caribbean music in the United Kingdom, including reggae, has been popular since the late 1960s, and has evolved into several subgenres and fusions. Many reggae artists began their careers in the UK, and there have been a number of European artists and bands drawing their inspiration directly from Jamaica and the Caribbean community in Europe. Reggae in Africa was boosted by the visit of Bob Marley to Zimbabwe in 1980. In Jamaica, authentic reggae is one of the biggest sources of income.[25]

Toots and the Maytals performing at the 2017 Coachella festival

Reggae en Español spread from mainland South American Caribbean from Venezuela and Guyana to the rest of South America. It does not have any specific characteristics other than being sung in Spanish, usually by artists of Latin American origin. Samba reggae originated in Brazil as a blend of samba with Jamaican r

Reggae en Español spread from mainland South American Caribbean from Venezuela and Guyana to the rest of South America. It does not have any specific characteristics other than being sung in Spanish, usually by artists of Latin American origin. Samba reggae originated in Brazil as a blend of samba with Jamaican reggae. Reggae also has a presence in Veracruz, Mexico. The most notable Jarocho reggae group being Los Aguas Aguas from Xalapa. Some of the most popular reggae groups across Latin America come from the Southern Cone, such as the Chilean band Gondwana, and the Argentinian band Los Cafres. The Puerto Rican band Cultura Profética is also widely recognized in the region. Hispanic reggae includes three elements: the incorporation of the Spanish language; the use of translations and versions based on known riddims and background music; and regional consciousness. It is a medium of rebellious contestation rising from the underground. Hispanic reggae is related to rap, sharing characteristics that can be found not only in the social conditions in which they developed in the region but also in the characteristics of social sectors and classes that welcome them.[70]

Brazilian samba-reggae utilized themes such as the civil rights movement and the Black Soul movement, and especially the Jamaican independence movement since the 1960s and its messages in reggae and Rastafarianism. Thus, the sudden popularity of reggae music and musicians in Bahia, Brazil, was not the result of the effects of the transnational music industry, but of the need to establish cultural and political links with black communities across the Americas that had faced and were facing similar sociopolitical situations.[71]

Musically, it was the bloco afro Olodum and its lead percussionist, Neguinho do Samba, that began to combine the basic samba beat of the blocos with merengue, salsa, and reggae rhythms and debuted their experimentations in the carnival of 1986. The new toques (drumming patterns) were labeled "samba-reggae" and consisted basically of a pattern in which the surdo bass drums (four of them at the minimum) divided themselves into four or five interlockin

Brazilian samba-reggae utilized themes such as the civil rights movement and the Black Soul movement, and especially the Jamaican independence movement since the 1960s and its messages in reggae and Rastafarianism. Thus, the sudden popularity of reggae music and musicians in Bahia, Brazil, was not the result of the effects of the transnational music industry, but of the need to establish cultural and political links with black communities across the Americas that had faced and were facing similar sociopolitical situations.[71]

Musically, it was the bloco afro Olodum and its lead percussionist, Neguinho do Samba, that began to combine the basic samba beat of the blocos with merengue, salsa, and reggae rhythms and debuted their experimentations in the carnival of 1986. The new toques (drumming patterns) were labeled "samba-reggae" and consisted basically of a pattern in which the surdo bass drums (four of them at the minimum) divided themselves into four or five interlocking parts.

In the state of Maranhão, in northeastern Brazil, reggae is a very popular rhythm. São Luis, the state capital, is known as the Brazilian Jamaica. The city has more than 200 "radiolas", name given to sound teams formed by DJs and sound systems with dozens of powerful amplifiers boxes stacked. Reggae in Maranhão has its own characteristics, such as melody and the way of dancing, as well as having its own radio and television programs. In 2018, the Reggae Museum of Maranhão was inaugurated, the second reggae museum in the world (after Jamaica), with the objective of preserving the reggae culture history in the state.[72]

In the United States, bands like Rebelution, Slightly Stoopid, Stick Figure, and SOJA are considered progressive reggae bands sometimes referred to as Cali Reggae or Pacific Dub. The American reggae scene is heavily centred in Southern California, with large scenes also in New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Miami, and Honolulu. For decades, Hawaiian reggae has had a big following on the Hawaiian islands and the West coast of the US.[73] On the east coast upstate NY has seen a rise in original roots reggae bands such as Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and John Brown's Body who were inspired by Jamaican reggae bands that performed in the area back in the 80s and 90s.[74] Matisyahu gained prominence by blending traditional Jewish themes with reggae.[75] Compounding his use of the hazzan style, Matisyahu's lyrics are mostly English with more than occasional use of Hebrew and Yiddish. There is a large Caribbean presence in Toronto and Montreal, Canada, with English and French influences on the reggae genre.[clarification needed][citation needed] Canadian band Magic!'s 2013 single "Rude" was an international hit.

In 2017, Toots and the Maytals became the second reggae-based group to ever perform at the Coachella festival, after Chronixx in 2016.[76][77][78]

The UK was a primary destination for Caribbean people looking to emigrate as early as the 1950s. Because of this, Caribbean music in the United Kingdom, including reggae, has been popular since the late 1960s, and has evolved into several subgenres and fusions. Most notable of these is lovers rock, but this fusion of Jamaican music into English culture was seminal in the formation of other musical forms like drum and bass and dubstep. The UK became the base from which many Jamaican artists toured Europe and due to the large number of Jamaican musicians emigrating there, the UK is the root of the larger European scene that exists today. Many of the world's most famous reggae artists began their careers in UK. Singer and Grammy Award-winning reggae artist Maxi Priest began his career with seminal British sound system Saxon Studio International.

Three reggae-tinged singles from the Police's 1978 debut album, Outlandos d'Amour, laid down the template for the basic structure of a lot of rock/reggae songwrit

Three reggae-tinged singles from the Police's 1978 debut album, Outlandos d'Amour, laid down the template for the basic structure of a lot of rock/reggae songwriting: a reggae-infused verse containing upstrokes on guitar or keyboards and a more aggressive, on-the-beat punk/rock attack during the chorus. The end of the 1970s featured a ska revival in the UK. By the end of the '70s, a revival movement had begun in England, with such bands as the Specials, Madness, the (English) Beat, and the Selecter. The Specials' leader and keyboardist, Jerry Dammers, founded the 2 Tone record label, which released albums from the aforementioned racially integrated groups and was instrumental in creating a new social and cultural awareness. The 2 Tone movement referenced reggae's godfathers, popular styles (including the genre's faster and more dance-oriented precursors, ska and rocksteady), and previous modes of dress (such as black suits and porkpie hats) but updated the sound with a faster tempo, more guitar, and more attitude.[79]

Birmingham based reggae/pop music band UB40 were main contributors to the British reggae scene throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The achieved international success with hits such as "Red Red Wine", "Kingston Town" and "(I can't Help) Falling in Love with You."

Other UK based artists that had international impact include Aswad, Misty in Roots, Steel Pulse, Janet Kay, Tippa Irie, Smiley Culture and more recently Bitty McLean. There have been a number of European artists and bands drawing their inspiration directly from Jamaica and the Caribbean community in Europe, whose mus

Other UK based artists that had international impact include Aswad, Misty in Roots, Steel Pulse, Janet Kay, Tippa Irie, Smiley Culture and more recently Bitty McLean. There have been a number of European artists and bands drawing their inspiration directly from Jamaica and the Caribbean community in Europe, whose music and vocal styles are almost identical to contemporary Jamaican music. The best examples might be Alborosie (Italy) and Gentleman (Germany). Both Gentleman and Alborosie have had a significant chart impact in Jamaica, unlike many European artists. They have both recorded and released music in Jamaica for Jamaican labels and producers and are popular artists, likely to appear on many riddims. Alborosie has lived in Jamaica since the late 1990s and has recorded at Bob Marley's famous Tuff Gong Studios. Since the early 1990s, several Italian reggae bands have emerged, including Africa Unite, Gaudi, Reggae National Tickets, Sud Sound System, Pitura Freska and B.R. Stylers. Another Italian famous reggae singer was Rino Gaetano.

Reggae appeared on the Yugoslav popular music scene in the late 1970s, through sporadic songs by popular rock acts.[80] Reggae saw an expansion with the emergence of Yugoslav new wave scene.[80] The bands like Haustor, Šarlo Akrobata, Aerodrom, Laboratorija Zvuka, Piloti, Du Du A and others recorded reggae and reggae-influence songs.[80] In the mid-1980s appeared Del Arno Band, often considered the first real reggae band in Yugoslavia. Throughout the following decades they remained one of the most popular and influential reggae bands in the region.[80] In the 1990s and early 2000s, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, appeared a new generation of reggae bands, like Serbian band Eyesburn, which gained popularity with their combination of reggae with hardcore punk and crossover thrash, and Croatian band Radikal Dub Kolektiv, alongside bands which incorporated reggae into their sound, like Darkwood Dub, Kanda, Kodža i Nebojša and Lira Vega in Serbia and Dubioza Kolektiv in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[80] Late 2000s and 2010s brought a new generation of reggae acts in the region.[80]

The first homegrown Polish reggae bands started in the 1980s with groups like Izraelario. Singer and songwriter Alexander Barykin was considered as the father of Russian reggae.[81] In Sweden, Uppsala Reggae Festival attracts attendees from across Northern Europe, and features Swedish reggae bands such as Rootvälta and Svenska Akademien as well as many popular Jamaican artists. Summerjam, Europe's biggest reggae festival, takes place in Cologne, Germany and sees crowds of 25,000 or more. Rototom Sunsplash, a week-long festival which used to take place in Osoppo, Italy, until 2009, is now held in Benicassim, Spain and gathers up to 150,000 visitors every year.

In Iceland reggae band Hjálmar is well established having released six CDs in Iceland. They were the first reggae band in Iceland, but few Icelandic artists had written songs in the reggae style before their showing up at the Icelandic music scene. The Icelandic reggae scene is expanding and growing at a fast rate. RVK Soundsystem is the first Icelandic sound system, counting 5 DJ's. They hold reggae nights in Reykjavík every month at clubs Hemmi og Valdi and more recently in Faktorý as the crowd has grown so much.

In Germany, the three successful Reggae JSnrfti mer Jam open-air festivals were crucial parts of the renaissance of Caribbean music in Germany but at that year (1990) war broke out between the two main German promoters who had cooperated so well during the previous seasons. With a lot of infighting and personal quarrels, each of them pursued his own preparations for a big summer festival. The result was that two open-air events look place on the same day.

The Reggae Sammer Jam '90 was staged as usual, but this year for only one day. The event took place at the Lorelei Rock amphitheater with artists like Mad Professor's Ariwa Posse with Macka B and Kofi, Mutabaruka, the Mighty Diamonds, the Twinkle Brothers, Manu Dibango and Fela Kuti.

The other, ex-partner of the onceunited promoters succeeded in bringing the original Sunsplash package to Germany for the first time. Close to the Main River in the little village of Gemaunden deep down in rural south-central Germany, they staged a two-day festival that drew the bigger crowd. About 10,000 people came from all over the country as well as from neighboring states like trance and, for the first time, East Germany to see the lineup of top reggae artists.[82]

Reggae in Africa was much boosted by the visit of Bob Marley to Zimbabwe on Independence Day 18 April 1980. Nigerian reggae had developed in the 1970s with artists such as Majek Fashek proving popular. In South Africa, reggae music has played a unifying role amongst cultural groups in Cape Town. During the years of Apartheid, the music bonded people from all demographic groups. Lucky Dube recorded 25 albums, fusing reggae with Mbaqanga. The Marcus Garvey Rasta camp in Phillipi is regarded by many to be the reggae and Rastafari center of Cape Town. Reggae bands play regularly at community centres such as the Zolani center in Nyanga.

In Uganda musician Papa Cidy is very popular. Arthur Lutta is also a Ugandan gospel reggae drummer known for his reggae style drumming.

In Uganda musician Papa Cidy is very popular. Arthur Lutta is also a Ugandan gospel reggae drummer known for his reggae style drumming. In Ethiopia, Dub Colossus and Invisible System emerged in 2008 sharing core members, and have received wide acclaim.[83][84][85] In Mali, Askia Modibo fuses reggae with Malian music. In Malawi, Black Missionaries produced nine albums. In Ivory Coast a country where reggae music is extremely popular, Tiken Jah Fakoly fuses reggae with traditional music. Alpha Blondy from Ivory Coast sings reggae with religious lyrics. In Sudan, beats, drums and bass guitar from reggae music has been adopted into their music as reggae is a very popular among the generations from young to old, some spiritual (religious) groups grow their dreadlocks and have some reggae beats in their chants.

In the Philippines, several bands and sound systems play reggae and dancehall music. Their music is called Pinoy reggae. Japanese reggae emerged in the early 1980s. Reggae is becoming more prevalent in Thailand as well. Reggae music is quite popular in Sri Lanka. Aside from the reggae music and Rastafari influences seen ever more on Thailand's islands and beaches, a true reggae sub-culture is taking root in Thailand's cities and towns. Many Thai artists, such as Job 2 Do, keep the tradition of reggae music and ideals alive in Thailand. By the end of the 1980s, the local music scene in Hawaii was dominated by Jawaiian music, a local form of reggae.

Famous Indian singer Kailash Kher and music producer Clinton Cerejo created Kalapi, a rare fusion piece of Reggae and Indian music for Kailash Kher and music producer Clinton Cerejo created Kalapi, a rare fusion piece of Reggae and Indian music for Coke Studio India.[86] Other than this high-profile piece, Reggae is confined to a small, emerging scene in India.[87] Thaikkudam Bridge, a neo-Indian band based in Kerala, India is known for inducing Reggae into Indian regional blues.[88]

Reggae in Australia originated in the 1980s. Australian reggae groups include Sticky Fingers, Blue King Brown, Astronomy Class and The Red Eyes. Others such as The Fraud Millionaires combine reggae with rock, while many more artists include some reggae songs in their repertoires, but don't identify as reggae bands. Desert Reggae is a developing contemporary style possibly originating in Central Australia and featuring lyrics often sung in Australian Aboriginal languages.[89] Yirrmala by Yothu Yindi (1996) is an example of an Aboriginal reggae song.

New Zealand reggae was heavily inspired by Bob Marley's 1979 tour of the country, and early reggae groups such as New Zealand reggae was heavily inspired by Bob Marley's 1979 tour of the country, and early reggae groups such as Herbs.[90] The genre has seen many bands like Fat Freddy's Drop, Salmonella Dub, The Black Seeds and Katchafire emerging in more recent times, often involving fusion with electronica.[91]

The term cod reggae is popularly used to describe reggae done by non-Caribbean (often white) people, often in a disparaging manner because of perceived inauthenticity.[92] It has been applied to music by many artists, such as The Police, 10cc, Boy George, Suzi Quatro and Razorlight.

See also