Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Jamaica's Independence and the Music

Reggae music's most influential artiste of all time, the late, great Robert Nesta Marley/Bob Marley taught many nations through his music.  So intriguing are the stories of this legend, people of the world, generation to generation continues to feed on his messages.  At a time when Jamaicans celebrate 51 years of Independence, the informed will understand what would have inspired this great man during his life to sing songs that will remain relevant throughout the lifetime of mankind.  Surviving Jamaicans who were born in the 1950s to 1962 are the offsprings of slavery and history tells us that even after the August 6, 1962 declaration of Independence in Jamaica, many were still mentally enslaved.  

How has Jamaica's independence affected the music?  People were celebrating their freedom, adjusting to the society they lived in and exploring the possibilities that existed for their own lives as they learn to co-exist with the rest of the world. Music played a vital role in the transformation of the people, it taught them, kept them happy and inspired change hence the emergence of Millie Smalls, The Heptones, The Clarendonians, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Dennis Brown, Alton Ellis, Dawn Penn, The Skatallites and so many others that would change how the world saw the people of this little island. The music was their expression of taught, of self and of a people.

Fast forward to present, Jamaica at 51 is still learning, still growing, still searching, still exploring but the children who were born twenty years ago to present have not felt or experienced the type of hate and rejection affiliated with slavery, they don't know.  Yes crime still exist and a new life style emerged influenced by easy access to the rest of the world via the world wide web.  The children are exposed to many different cultures, music and elements that would have brought about a difference compared to the children of the 1950s therefore the music of today, how it is expressed through Reggae and Dancehall is a reflection of the society the artistes and musicians now live in.  The most controversial of Jamaican artistes Vybz Kartel is one among those who are well informed of past and present Jamaica and his music is a true representation of his own perception.  Good or bad, positive or negative his music is his own artistic expression.  Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Lady Saw, Cecile, Spice, Macka Diamond, Assassin, Junior Gong Marley, I-Octane, Chronixx, Queen Ifrika, Lutan Fyah, Duane Stephenson, Fantan Mojah, Tony Rebel, Freddie McGreggor, Etana, Taurus Riley, Romain Virgo, Shaggy, Sean Paul, Shabba Ranks, Beres Hammond, Jah Cure, Patra, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Alaine, Tessane and list goes on...their music are a reflection of the era in which they live and their own personal experience of the times.  Violence, sex, politics, social activities, the future have all been expressed through the music of these artistes.  

Language is important, it is a peculiar institution that leads to the heart of people.  It is the Jamaican language other artistes have come to understand that have inspired them to write and sing Reggae and Dancehall music; but how it is perceived or how far Jamaicans have come since 1962 remains within the heart of the people.  To appreciate Jamaican music is to understand the peoples history.  Are these happier times? Maybe, and among many other elements but nothing is wrong with having fun.

Celebrate Jamaica's independence by supporting the music of a people who are exemplary, inspirational, motivational, naturally talented and have emancipated from a life of hate and segregation.  Purchasing their music will help to create opportunities for their offsprings and generations to come so that they keep moving forward, away from the harsh realities of SLAVERY! #1Love