I have written articles before on reggae music but they were for the most part pretty much historical. They included information on where and how reggae originated. Now, here is a bit about my obsession with this music and why.
Reggae to me is not just a great beat or music just to dance to. Many songs in the reggae genre are spiritual in their sound and lyrics. Songs performed by artists such as Bob Marley, Luciano, Abijah, Garnette Silk, Dennis Brown amongst others consist of not simply great lyrics but a message. A message that inspires, motivates, and reminds us of the past and where we are coming from. If you have never gotten into this music it is probably because you can’t connect the lyrics or relate to the history of the people.
Growing up in Jamaica for me was not as hard as it was for those before me yet there were some challenges. Crime was always very present in our community and around the rest of the island. Any country or city that has a corrupt government will see and experience crime. It was no different for Jamaica. Political unrest goes far back in our history and is still present. I believe that many of the artists who came out of Jamaica were politicians in their own right and they used their music to fight for the people. They were partially inspired by pain and suffering. This is where I believe roots reggae came from.
In contrast to the crime Jamaica is also full of religion whether Presbyterian, Anglican, Rastafarian, or other. Therefore, it is not unlikely that our music would be influenced by worship as well. Some of the lyrics and even the instruments originated here.
So much of what I feel about this music is of course based on my experiences. I would think that the easiest way to fall in love with this music as I have is to at least visit the island, speak to the people, and experience some of the culture. You can also visit Jamaica when Reggae Sunsplash or Reggae Sumfest is being held. This should give you a thorough lesson on reggae music.