Why is reggae music so popular





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Reggae emerged in the late 1960s from a mixture of soul, country, jazz, R&B and blues, American styles of music that were played in Jamaica. Mento, Ska and Rocksteady influenced this style of music, which became more and more important in popular music.


There are still different opinions about the meaning of the word "reggae". Some derive it from the Latin word for king - rex - and think it is called the "music of the king". Others derive it from the word "streggae", in Jamaican "easy girl".

Anyway, it's been proven that the first reggae song "People funny boy" from 1968 by Lee 'Scratch' Perry is.


In the beginning, reggae was particularly popular with British skinheads, which is why many interpreters of this music genre such as The Charmers, The Corporation, Joe the Boss or Symarip, came up with titles such as “Skinhead Moonstomp” or “Skinheads A Bash Dem” and thus came up with targeted ideas addressed to the skinhead community.

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Over time, however, reggae focused more and more on the British pop music market and emphasized black topics in particular.


This so-called roots reggae, which flourished particularly in the 1970s, arose from various styles of music such as early pop reggae, ska or rocksteady, but also from African influences, which makes reggae music for that part of the skinhead scene in particular Lost meaning, which tended more and more towards violence and neo-Nazism and thus moved more and more away from their original idea of ​​a racism-free world. Although there are still non-racist skinhead movements that organize traditional reggae events, run small labels and even produce new reggae music with their own bands, this branch of society has become largely uninteresting for the reggae market.

The slow basic rhythm is typical for this style of music. This came about when the first self-made productions of Ska were covering R&B pieces, emphasizing the second and fourth parts of the measure. This basic rhythm was finally slowed down in the transition from Ska to Rocksteady to Reggae.

Reggae, which actually originated as dance music, was mainly spread through "sound systems", in the figurative sense mobile discotheques. Well-known operators were among others Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd, Arthur "Duke" Reid and Cecil "Prince Buster" Campbell. In 1968 reggae experienced its first international success with "The Israelites" recorded by Desmond Dekker, which was voted number 1 in the charts in Germany and England and thus became a global hit.

The best-known reggae musician of all time is definitely Bob Marley, an important representative of reggae, who made this style of music internationally known from the mid-1970s with his band The Wailers.

The texts are often socially critical and draw attention to grievances. Another common theme is love, peace and unity and the consumption of marijuana is also a popular motif.


Of particular importance in a reggae song is the bass, which often describes the theme of the song and forms the opposite pole to the offbeats. Outstanding reggae bassists include Robbie Shakespeare and Aston Barrett.


The electric guitar also plays an important role, mainly playing rhythmic accompaniment with the emphasis on the offbeat. Artists like Ben Harper, Al Anderson, Earl "Chinna" Smith and Peter Tosh are worth mentioning here.


By and large, The Wailers, Derrick Morgan, Dave Barker or The Upsetters are among the most important artists of early reggae, Beres Hammond, The Abyssinians, Ken Boothe, Alpha Blondy and Alton Ellis are among the artists of roots reggae and Linton Kwesi Johnson, Misty in Roots and Maxi Priest among the artists of British reggae. This is just a small selection from a large repertoire of outstanding and impressive artists worldwide.


Well-known reggae festivals in German-speaking countries are, for example, the Chiemsee Reggae Summer, the Summerjam, the Africa Festival or the Ruhr Reggae Summer, in Europe the Rototom Sunsplash in Italy, the Uppsala Reggae Festival in Sweden or the Ostroda Reggae Festiwal in Poland.