Jamaica is a small small island with a big big music! So big in fact that there is hardly a place on Earth where Reggae rhythms have not been heard and very often copied and adapted to suit the tastes of the local populations.
Bob Marley – Most Famous Jamaican?
Until recently, Bob Marley, the king of Reggae, was the undisputed most famous Jamaican ever. Now there is a possibility that his fame has been surpassed by the lightning fast Usain Bolt, the young tall Jamaican sprinter who won hearts all over the World at Olympics 2008.
Jamaican Music on the International Scene
But Reggae has become part of the international sound and a part of life for many people.
Jamaican music first broke out of Jamaica onto the international scene in 1964 with “My Boy Lollipop” by Millie Small, becoming a huge hit in England, Australia, the United States, and many other countries around the World. Millie Small paved the way for other Jamaican artistes, like Desmond Dekker, who also topped the British charts.
Soon every major pop group got into the act, with even the Beatles doing the hit “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”. Some bands outside of Jamaica adopted reggae as their own sound, with perhaps the most famous being the hugely successful UB40 who have sold more than seventy million records worldwide, all reggae covers, like “Red Red Wine.”
Introducing the Reggae Rajahs
Even in a place as unlikely as Mumbai, India, where one thinks of music as the sounds of sitars and tablas, Reggae is taking hold and the Reggae Rajahs, India’s first Reggae Sound System, is making waves. The Reggae Rajahs came together through their love of “raggamuffin sounds” in early 2009 in New Delhi, playing roots reggae, ska, dub, lovers rock and dancehall.
The Reggae Rajahs have even adopted Jamaican-type nicknames: Zorawar Shukla, aka Mr. Herbalist; Raghav Dang, aka “Diggy”; and Mohammed Abood, aka “MoCity”. These guys dress in red, green and gold and bring India’s first Reggae Sound System to life in Mumbai to celebrate their first anniversary.
Reggae and Indians Before the Reggae Rajahs
The Reggae Rajahs are not the first Indians to embrace Jamaican music. Long before them, Apache Indian, famous for “Boomshackalack”, worked with Jamaica’s own Sly & Robbie and more recently with Sean Paul. And A. R. Rahman who recently became very popular in the West for his “Slumdog Millionaire” soundtrack, incorporated the reggae sound to his first big hit, the soundtrack of Mani Ratnam’s “Roja” in 1992.
The Reggae Rajahs claim that their gigs are special as they are attended by people from all over the world, with similar music interests, from lovers rock to new age dancehall, in the heart of Bollywood in India.
Reggae Music – Jamaica’s Gift to the World
Reggae has truly been Jamaica’s gift to the World. And when visitors take a Jamaica vacation, they have the opportunity to enjoy the Reggae sounds where it originated. Reggae music is never far from any Jamaica accommodation, be it Jamaica villas, cottages, or Jamaica apartments.
Many visitors to Jamaica are attracted by the nightlife and beach parties. Negril on the Western tip of the island is the capital of party and therefore attracts a younger crowd. Most resorts have resident bands that play reggae for the enjoyment of their guests. And of course there are the clubs like Margaritaville where reggae and other types of popular Jamaican music rule the sound systems.