Roots of Reggae, Rastafarianism, & music spotlight

As an avid listener to old-school reggae, I thought it was due time for a little history lesson on the roots of reggae. Reggae began in Jamaica in the 1960s, as I’m sure you could have guessed. Reggae is a mix of ska (jazzy calypso) and rocksteady (less energetic ska). Reggae can be distinguished from ska, for its slower tempo. Reggae relies heavily on the beat, which is set off one to make an off-beat effect (skank).  

examples of old-school reggae bands include the very popular–the Wailers, with Bob Marley, genius Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer.

Reggae became more mainstream after Eric Clapton’s cover of “I shot the Sheriff’ in 1974.

As I’m sure you are aware, many of the reggae leaders were Rastafarian, and many lyrics promoted those beliefs. Rasta is a religion found predominantly in Jamaica. Followers of Rasta believe in a man called Haile Selassie, who they believed to be another incarnation of the Christian God, which they called Jah. They believe in Jesus Christ, but believe him to be black.

The Rastas promote the use of marijuana for spiritual purposes, rejects western society, and believes that Africa (or Zion, as they call it) is the original birthplace of humankind. Black nationalist Marcus Garvey is considered a prophet to Rastas.

One reggae band, which happens to be one of my all-time favorites, goes by the name of the Abyssinians. Their lyrics are closely linked to Rasta, with songs titled “African Princess” and “Jah”. Some of their songs are even sung in Ethiopian. The band was formed in the late 60’s. Their best albums include “Arise” and “Satta Massagana”.  I highly recommend this band to all reggae lovers.

more reggae artists…



Ziggy Marley



Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s