There are several theories about how the word reggae originated. The first theory claims that the word reggae was coined on a 1968 Pyramid dance single, 'Do the Reggae (sic),' by Toots and the Maytals. Some believe that the word is originated from Reggae, the name of a Bantu-speaking tribe on Lake Tanganyika. Others say that it is a corruption of the word st reggae, which is Kingston street slang for prostitute (The Origins of Ska... , n. d.
). On the other hand, Bob Marley claimed that the word was Spanish in origin, meaning 'the king's music.' Veteran Jamaican studio musicians offer the simplest, and probably the most logical, explanation. 'It's a description of the beat itself,' says Hub Brown, lead guitarist on Paul Simon's 1972 reggae-flavored hit, 'Mother and Child Reunion'. 'It's just a fun, joke kinda word that means the ragged rhythm and the body feelin'.
If it's got a greater mean in', it doesn't matter,' Brown said (The Origin of 'Reggae'; , n. d. ). To many listeners reggae means fun, yet the lyrics of reggae music have deeper meanings which are about an extraordinary philosophy, Rastafarianism and political messages mostly about colonialism and corruption in governments. Reggae music which is evolved before the end of 1960 s in Jamaica, has been used as an efficient form of protest against slavery, poverty and corruptions in government; and Bob Marley, the legend of reggae, had very important role in spreading the ideology of Rastafarianism and giving humanitarian messages to the world. Reggae is a style of popular music which is originated in Jamaica in late 1960 s and became dominant music in the country.
In Jamaica there were 3 other music styles before reggae emerged. Since 1945 Jamaica adopted many American music forms such as; swing, soul and most importantly R&B. During and after the World War II the American troops based in Jamaica and while soldiers listening the Miami and New Orleans radio many young Jamaican were impressed with the music. By the mid 1950 s huge open air dances started to occur and the interest to American R&B rose drastically.
In the end of the 1950 s, Jamaicans who were influenced by independency ideas were not satisfied by sounds of American rhythm & blues anymore. During the early and mid 60 s around the time Jamaica was granted its independence, the first Jamaican modern music style merged. Ska is the rollicking, raucous music that perfectly summed up the mood of the people as they approached Independence at the beginning of the 1960 s and wanted to announce their Jamaican ness with as much gusto as possible. Many reggae historians claim that the founders of ska music are legendary producer Prince Buster and Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd.
While they were looking for new sounds to thrill Jamaican youth they changed the emphasis of the R&B from the first and third beats in the bar to the second and fourth, creating the offbeat style that became the fulcrum of Jamaican music from then on. By 1962 Jamaica was self-governing and ska was said to reflect the aspirations of the newly liberated masses. In Jamaica, it is said that in mid 1960 s summer the weather was too hot and people refused to dance to up-tempo music like ska and this situation leaded to slow the tempo of music so a new style of music was emerged, rock steady. However this is not simply the case, in fact, the reason behind slowing down the tempo can be related with the disappearance of hopes to independent future of Jamaica.
Rock steady simply can be defined as; half-speed ska with the trombone replaced by piano and prominent bass. (Rock Steady, n. d. ). This short lived music embedded to lyrics social themes and was a step to transit to reggae. Reggae evolved from the roots of music styles mentioned above and the lyrics weighted more on politics that addressed social and economical injustice.
It also drew from folk music, Poco mania church music, Jonkanoo fife and drum bands, fertility rituals, adaptations of quadrilles, plantation work songs, and a form called men to. (Reggae History, n. d. ).
Many people refer the birth of reggae to Lee 'Scratch'; Perry. His first single 'People Funny Boy' is notable for its innovative use of a slow, sluggish, bass-driven beat that would soon become identifiable as a distinctively reggae sound. He and his band, The Up setter, was the first reggae band that embarked a tour in UK. Later on with artists like Burning Spear, Culture, The Congoes, Big Youth, The Mighty Diamonds, Dillinger, Tapper Zu kie, Lee Perry, The Ethiopians, Max Romeo and especially Bob Marley's efforts reggae music was started to listen by all over the world. Jamaica was economically and socially corrupted in the years that reggae emerged.
Early 'roots'; reggae (1968-1971) lyrics indicated Jamaica's concerns only. Main concerns in the lyrics were about living conditions like food shortages, government housing and political violence. In addition reggae ground such critiques in historical memories of slavery. Besides, the lyrics of reggae were about the dream of repatriation.
After the independence of Jamaica the condition of the island became worse even after the Jamaican's hope, Michael Manley, who is a Rastafarian and democratic socialist, thus the need of politic music had been remained. In the start of 1970 s reggae become an international music style and differed in some aspects from early 'roots'; reggae. However 'international'; reggae's lyrics remained to critique the social and economical concerns of Jamaica and the dream of repatriation. (International Reggae... , ). Lyrically changes in reggae were the universalized themes such as to mention concerns about Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Reggae music marketed not by toning down its politics, but actually celebrating the ganga-smoking Rastafarian as a universal symbol of rebellion and protest. 'International'; reggae placed Rastafarians with not only Jamaicans but also all black people in the world. The two situations above leaded to the spread of reggae and consequently Rastafarianism to the world. The name Rastafari, which is derived from Ras, is the title given to Amharic Royalty in Ethiopia and Tahari, which is the pre-coronation name of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia (1988-1975). (The Origins of Rastafari, 2003). Rastafarianism is a religious and political movement, begun in Jamaica in the 1930 s, and combines Protestant Christianity, mysticism, and a pan-African political consciousness.
(Rastafari, 2005). Rastafarians accept that their religion is the mixture of the purest forms of both Judaism and Christianity; they also accept the Egyptian origins of both these religions. Rastafarians believe that God is a spirit and that this spirit was manifested in King H. I. M. Emperor Haile Selassie I.
Rastafarians also believe that they are the original Lost Tribes of Israel that were once scattered by Babylon until the appearance of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I. Another belief of Rastafarians is that God will return them to Zion (Ethiopia) and Ethiopia is the promised land that is Heaven on Earth. The most recognisable three features of Rastafarianism are ganja, 'Ital'; diet and dreadlocks. The term 'ganja' refers to a specific type of Indian hemp taken from female plants, far stronger than the Mexican-Spanish variety, marijuana.
(Ganja, n. d. ). For Rastas, there are two reasons of smoking herbs.
The first is a reactionary device to society, an attempt by the movement to protest against the devils of Babylon. The second reason is that, smoking herb is an intensely religious experience, with Rasta elders urging the 'wisdom weed' to be smoked as a religious rite. Ganja is seen as the key to anew understanding of the self, the universe and God. 'Ital'; diet is a set of dietary and hygienic laws were formulated to accompany the religion's doctrine. 'Ital'; diet forbids the ingestion, anything that was not 'Ital'; , a Rasta term meaning pure, natural or clean, such as alcohol, tobacco, all meat (especially pork) as well as shellfish, scaleless fish, snails, predatory and scavenger species of marine life, and many common seasonings like salt.
(Beliefs, Practices & Sacraments, n. d. ). In Rastafarian culture combining or cutting of hair is outlawed, citing the holy directive in Leviticus 21: 5: 'They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.' Therefore, growing and wearing of dreadlocks, which is uncombed and uncut hair that is allowed to mat and twine into distinctive locks, became a feature of Rastas. Dreadlocks are a sign of their African identity and a religious promise of their separation from wider society. The reasons behind the arise of Rastafarianism can be considered as the response to European slavery and after emancipation, the response to the system of social, cultural and economic oppression in the island of Jamaica.
(Rastafari, 1994). In the 1930 s, in Jamaica there were social unrest between people, this formed the perfect condition for a group of Jamaicans to detach themselves mentally from an oppressive social system. After the independence of Jamaica in 1962, violent incidents, involving fire arms, started to occur between Rastas and the police and in 1966 with the visitation of Haile Selassie by invitation of Jamaican Government the Rastafarian movement gained more public notice. By this time the movement began to rise drastically. Besides in the rise of Rastafarian movement there is a significant importance of the reggae music. In deed by the mid 1970 s, reggae music widely perceived as 'Rastafarian music'; .
According to Leah cim T. Sema j, who is a Rastafarian scholar, the fusion of reggae and Rastafarianism popularized the movement through the world. Throughout the world in the 1970 s, reggae's sound was glorified by critics and imitated by other musicians like Taj Mahal, Barbara Streisand and Eric Clapton. Also in the United States and Britain, the punk 'movement'; adopted the themes of reggae by the late 1970 s. In the late 1970 s, some reggae bands, including Bob Marley and the Wailers and Jimmy Cliff, toured Africa. These improvements helped to spread the Rastafarian movement throughout the world.
Bob Marley, the legend of reggae, can be seen as the most important figure while popularizing the Rastafarian philosophy to the world. Bob Marley was the first Jamaican artist to achieve international super stardom. His songs of faith, devotion, and revolution created a legacy that continues to live on not only through the music of his extended family but also through generations of artists the world over touched by his genius. Robert Nesta Marley was born on 6 th February 1945, in rural St. Ann's Parish, Jamaica, West Indies.
He was the son of a middle-aged Englishman, Captain Normal Marley, and a young Jamaican girl, Ce della Booker. At the age of 14 he left home to pursue a music career in Kingston, becoming a student of local singer and Rastafarian Joe Higgs. He cut his first single, 'Judge Not,' in 1962 for producer Leslie Kong. 'Yn 1963 Marley formed his band, The Wailers, with Peter Tosh, Bunny Livingston, Junior Bratihwaite, Beverly Kelso and Cherry Smith. The band's debut record was 'I'm Still Waiting'; .
After Bratihwaite and Smith exited the group, Marley assumed lead vocal duties, and soon in early 1964 the group's second record, 'Simmer Down,' topped the Jamaican charts. A series of singles including 'Let Him Go (Rude Boy Get Gail),' 'Dancing Shoes,' 'Jerk in Time,' 'Who Feels It Knows It,' and 'What Am I to Do' followed and in 1966, The Wailers disbanded. On February 10 1966, Marley married Rita Anderson, who is a singer in the group the Soulettes and became successful with the vocal trio The I-Threes. After an 8 months of period working in Delaware in a factory, Bob returned to his homeland and re-formed the wailers with Livingston and Tosh.
The trio were increasingly drawn to Rastafarianism, and in 1967 the music reflected this. The change in The Wailers music leaded to split with Dodd. The band soon met up with producer Lee 'Scratch'; Perry, and this collaboration concluded with the finest music of the band ever made. The trio cut a number of classics, including 'My Cup,' 'Duppy Conqueror,' 'Soul Almighty,' and 'Small Axe,' . In 1972 The Wailers signed with the international label Island and released Catch a Fire (the first reggae album conceived as more than a mere singles compilation), their music gained a global audience. It also earned Marley superstar status.
Eric Clapton's version of The Wailers' I Shot the Sheriff'; in 1974 spread Marley's fame. Meanwhile, Marley continued to guide the skilled Wailers band through a series of potent, topical albums. By this point Marley also was backed by a trio of female vocalists that included his wife. Featuring eloquent songs like 'No Woman No Cry,' ; 'Exodus,' ; 'Could You Be Loved,' ; 'Coming in from the Cold,' ; 'Jamming,' ; and 'Redemption Song,' ; Marley's landmark albums included Natty Dread (1974), Live! (1975), Rasta man Vibration (1976), Exodus (1977), Kaya (1978), Uprising (1980), and the posthumous Confrontation (1983). In 1980 while jogging in New York Central Park, he collapsed and it was discovered that he suffered from cancer that was in its most virulent form, spreading his entire body.
Soon in a Miami hospital Bob Marley died on May 11, 1981. Bob Marley also appears as a political figure, yet in 1976 a politically motivated assassination attempt occurred against him. In April 1978, he played the One Love Peace Concert in Kingston, bringing the two leaders of the violently warring Jamaican political parties (Michael Manley and Edward Sega) together in a largely symbolic peacemaking gesture. Marley had been awarded the UN Peace Medal in 1978 for his humanitarian achievements.
His sociopolitical influence also earned him an invitation to perform in 1980 at the ceremonies celebrating majority rule and internationally recognized independence of Zimbabwe. After one month later of his death Marley was awarded Jamaica's Order of Merit. Although his songs were some of the best-liked and most critically acclaimed music in the popular canon, Marley was far more renowned in death than he had been in life. Legend (1984), a retrospective of his work, became the best-selling reggae album ever, with international sales of more than 12 million copies. In conclusion, reggae music has been a rebel music which has an ideology, Rastafarianism, against social and economical injustice both locally and universally; and the contributions of Bob Marley to the reggae, consequently Rastafarianism, are not negligible.