The Info List - Roots Reggae

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Roots reggae
Roots reggae
is a subgenre of reggae that deals with the everyday lives and aspirations of the artists concerned, including the spiritual side of Rastafari
and the honoring of God, called Jah
by Rastafari.[1] It also is identified with the life of the ghetto sufferer,[2] and the rural poor. Lyrical themes include spirituality and religion, poverty, black pride, social issues, resistance to government and racial oppression, and repatriation to Africa.


1 History 2 See also 3 References 4 External links

History[edit] The increasing influence of the Rastafari movement
Rastafari movement
after the visit of Haile Selassie
Haile Selassie
to Jamaica
in 1966 played a major part in the development of roots reggae, with spiritual themes becoming more common in reggae lyrics in the late 1960s.[1] Important early roots reggae releases included Winston Holness's "Blood & Fire" (1970) and Yabby You's "Conquering Lion" (1972).[1] Political unrest also played its part, with the 1972 election campaign of Michael Manley targeting the support of Jamaica's ghetto communities.[1] Increasing violence associated with the opposing political parties was also a common lyrical theme, with tracks such as Junior Murvin's "Police & Thieves" and Culture's "Two Sevens Clash".[1] The heyday of roots reggae is usually considered the latter half of the 1970s – with artists such as The Abyssinians, Johnny Clarke, Cornell Campbell, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, Dennis Brown, Max Romeo, Horace Andy, Hugh Mundell, and Lincoln Thompson, and groups like Black Uhuru, Steel Pulse, Israel Vibration, The Gladiators and Culture – teaming up with producers such as Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Bunny Lee, Joseph Hoo Kim and Coxsone Dodd. The experimental pioneering of such producers within often-restricted technological parameters gave birth to dub, and is seen by some music historians as one of the earliest (albeit analogue) contributions to modern dance music production techniques. Roots reggae
Roots reggae
also became very popular in Europe
in the 1970s, especially among left-wing white youths in Western Europe.[3] The Wailers' popularity in Europe
opened the door for other artists, and roots reggae artists became popular with punk rock fans.[1] When Jamaicans turned to dancehall, a lot of black, white and mixed roots reggae bands were formed in Europe.[1] Later on roots reggae also made its way into the United States
United States
with the mass migration of Jamaicans to New York. This took place with the reforms made to American immigration laws in the early 1960s. Along with localized traditions and food, reggae music was inevitably brought as well, contributing to the New York City
New York City
soundscape, such as the development of hip-hop.[4]


Main doctrines

Jah Ital

Zion Cannabis use

Central figures

Haile Selassie
Haile Selassie
I Jesus

Menen Asfaw Marcus Garvey

Key scriptures

Bible Kebra Nagast

My Life and Ethiopia's Progress

The Promise Key Holy Piby

Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy


Mansions in the U.S.

Bobo Ashanti Nyabinghi

Twelve Tribes of Israel


Shashamane Grounation Day


Notable individuals

Leonard Howell Joseph Hibbert Archibald Dunkley Mortimer Planno Vernon Carrington Charles Edwards Bob Marley Peter Tosh

See also

Vocabulary Persecution

Dreadlocks Reggae

Roots reggae Lion of Judah Ethiopian Christianity Chalice Index of Rastafari

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While roots reggae was largely overtaken in popularity in Jamaica
by dancehall, several artists from the original era, such as Culture, Burning Spear, and Israel Vibration
Israel Vibration
continued to produce roots reggae, and artists like Beres Hammond and Freddie McGregor
Freddie McGregor
continued the use of roots reggae, as a musical style and thematically, through the 1980s. In the 1990s younger Jamaican artists became interested in the Rastafari movement
Rastafari movement
and began incorporating roots themes into their music. Most notable among the new generation of "conscious" artists was Garnett Silk, whose positive spiritual message and consistent use of roots and rocksteady riddims gave him cross generational appeal with Caribbean audiences. While other notable dancehall stars like Capleton
and Buju Banton
Buju Banton
became devout Rastas and changed their musical direction as a result.[1] Other modern roots artists and bands also emerged at this time, including Luciano, Junior Kelly, Morgan Heritage, Anthony B, and Sizzla.[2] See also[edit]

List of roots reggae artists


^ a b c d e f g h Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae
& Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, p. 251-3 ^ a b Barrow, Steve and Dalton, Peter: "Reggae: The Rough Guide", Rough Guides, 1997 ^ Lloyd Bradley and Dennis Morris (2002) Interview with Bunny Wailer in the documentary Reggae: the Story of Jamaican Music. BBC2 2002 ^ Marshall, Wayne: Follow Me Now: The Zigzagging Zunguzung Meme. http://wayneandwax.com/?p=137

External links[edit]

Roots-Archives - Searchable database of Jamaican Roots Reggae
albums from 1970 to 1985 Strictly Vibes : Roots Vinyl Database

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Roots reggae Dub Dub poetry Lovers rock Dancehall Reggaeton Reggae
en Español Reggae
fusion Ragga Ragga
jungle Samba reggae Nyabinghi
rhythm Grime


Deejay (Toasting) Delay Hammond organ One drop and rockers Reverb Singjay Skank Walking bass

People and groups

Grammy winners 1985-present Reggae
musicians Reggae
rock artists Reggae
fusion artists Roots reggae
Roots reggae
artists Dub artists Jamaican record producers Reggae
bands from the Virgin Islands

By region

Music of Jamaica Pinoy reggae Reggae
in Australia New Zealand reggae

Related topics

List of reggae festivals Caribbean Music Caribbean music in the United Kingdom Rastafari Rude boy Skinhead Suedehead Dance Hall (venue) Dubplate Sound system (Jamaican) Sound system (DJ) Riddim Jamaican English Jamaican Patois Studio One Trojan Records Island