I am excited to share with you the rich and vibrant history of my country’s music and dance. It is the oil that gives the people energy.
Jamaicans love music…
You’ll hear the music and see the dance every where you travel over the island. You can’t ignore it as it will be coming from the rum bars, street corners, supermarkets, stores and even the church. Jamaica’s rich music culture is rooted in the traditions and customs of our ancestors who used their music and dance to ease the hardships of life and to celebrate. There are many different forms of music but the most popular are the folk music, reggae, gospel and dance hall.
Jamaica’s population is 90% of African descent and was brought to the island as slaves to work on the sugar cane estates. Life was hard and there was very little recreation and entertainment so the slaves turned to the musical instruments they once used in Africa.
The drums, fife, abeng, cow horn, bamboo fiddles and many others instruments were first used to make music.
Out of this era came the traditional folk dances like the Maypole. This is a dance usually performed on the first day of May where groups of dancers would plait a pole with ribbons.
There was also the Quadrille, a ballroom dance done by the plantation elite. The Kumina, an African ceremony performed by slaves add the music and dance as two of the major features.
It was out of the traditional folk music that Jamaica’s other music evolved. Today reggae, gospel, and dancehall are the more popular.
To keep alive Jamaica’s rich culture of music and dance, several festivals and cultural events are organized by organizations and the government of Jamaica
If you are interested in learning about the culture of the music and dance,the time to be in Jamaica is
August 1-7. Through the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, an annual festival is held where the traditional and contemporary music and dance is held to preserve and showcase our heritage.
A Feast of Music and Dance will Await You At the Annual Festival
During the week of August 1-6, Jamaicans all over the world celebrate the emancipation of slavery and our independence from England. The most popular cultural activities are music, dance and poetry.
Through the work of the Cultural Development Commission, a government agency, Jamaica’s culture is preserved. Schools all across the island participate in cultural competitions. The very best of these competitions are showcased during the week of August 1-6 and what a feast await all who sample. There is also story telling, drama, speech, and of course music and dance.
The most popular of all is usually the music and dance.
This is what a visitor to Jamaica had to say about our music and dance.
As our bus entered the grounds of the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, I could hear the pulsating rhythm of reggae music. Suddenly, the energy from the crowd ripped through our group and we just started moving to the vibes of the music.
It was ‘Festival Season’ in Jamaica and we joined hundreds of locals who rocked and danced all night to the best of Jamaican music. Today, I still cherish the memories of the ‘Bam Bam Festival’ I discovered.