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Roots reggae is probably the best-known genre of Jamaican music. Thanks to artists such as Bob Marley and Burning Spear, it achieved genuine worldwide success. Through these artists and their carefully articulated political dissent, social commentaries and praises to Jah Rastafari, it has been accepted across the world as one of the most potent protest musics. Roots reggae ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
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Reggae is unique. No other style has made so much out of its original musical resources to present itself in so many different guises with only a couple of structural changes in over 40 years. No other style has so accurately reflected the people that create and consume it. Jamaican music’s relationship with its people is such that it is not ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
669 Words Read More

Ska represents the birth of modern popular Jamaican music, and it does so with the accent on ‘Jamaican’. While this raucous, uptempo, good-times music may have had its roots in American big-band jazz and R&B, it was conceived as a celebration of Jamaican independence. Ska is the link between the virtuoso playing of Kingston’s sophisticated nightclub musicians ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
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Seldom has a style of music been named with greater accuracy than rock steady. Like so many other Jamaican genres, it took its name from a dance, in which participants planted their feet and ‘rocked steady’. When rock steady began to dominate the dancehalls in the mid-1960s, it was the antithesis to ska’s rollicking, big-band, jazz-based ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
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In Jamaica, nothing gets thrown away. Oil drums, floorboards … more or less everything has to be used again at least once, including music. Why throw a tune away just because it’s been a hit, when the same rhythm can be redressed with new lyrics or radically altered instrumentation to liven up the dancehalls again ? And ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
1001 Words Read More

Britain has had a thriving reggae scene for as long as there’s been reggae. There were sound systems in London in the 1950s, importing the same American R&B records as their Kingstonian counterparts, and ska was recorded in the UK from the early 1960s. But while the British sound systems were a carbon copy of Jamaican rigs, the ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
645 Words Read More

Jamaican music has never been that far away from mainstream British music since Millie Small stormed the charts in 1964 with the galloping ska of ‘My Boy Lollipop’, but it was not until the end of that decade that reggae became a bona fide part of pop. Heralded by Desmond Dekker’s incredible success in 1969 with ‘It Mek’ and ‘The Israelites’, ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
656 Words Read More

Ragga (short for ‘ragamuffin’) is the term for later-model dancehall reggae adopted by the sound system crowds to highlight their existence somewhere outside polite Jamaican society. Ragga is the all-digital style that came about in the mid-1980s, which took computerization to such a degree that, for the first time, reggae rhythms were made with no bass line. Ragga ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
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Dancehall reggae is a vivid example of how the music perpetually reinvents itself to refresh its rebel spirit and to keep itself relevant to its primary audience: downtown Kingston (both spiritually as well as geographically). it began to appear on the sound systems at the beginning of the 1980s, when roots reggae had reached a world stage through the likes ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
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The Bobo Ashanti is Rasta for the twenty-first century: more militant and less tolerant. With their ideological attacks on Rome, social demotion of women and condemnation of homosexuality, deejays like Capleton and Anthony B may seem world’s apart from the hippy-ish notions of dreadlocks that was Bob Marley’s legacy. There’s actually not much difference. Unlike roots reggae, which ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
659 Words Read More

For most of reggae’s life the terms ‘American reggae’ or ‘reggae in America’, have remained oxymorons. A number of possible reasons have been proposed, ranging from the plausible to the patently absurd, as to why reggae has never enjoyed the same success in the US that it found in the UK, in terms of proportionate record sales and ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
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If there was one thing that summed up Jamaican music – its uniqueness, its ability to adapt from elsewhere, its inventiveness, its influence abroad, its sound system roots and its continuing closeness to its audience – it would be the deejay. Born on the sound systems in the 1950s, the deejay’s job was to vibe up ...

Source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music, general editor Paul Du Noyer
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The roots of country music are entwined with the roots of America itself. What we call ‘country music’ today was planted some 300 years ago by the earliest European explorers of the New World. Adventurers and exiles, religious dissenters and slave traders, farmers, merchants, freemen and women, indentured workers, slaves, criminals and members of ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
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Country music is identified with the American South and West, but its roots were established on the Atlantic seaboard, from Cape Breton to New England, then filtered into the lower-central USA through the 2,400-km 1,500-mile) Appalachian mountain range. Eventually it proliferated everywhere. And if such a reach seems so vast as to defy a single culture ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen
2699 Words Read More

Opera, with its unique blend of poetry, drama and music, has come a long way from its humble beginnings in ancient Greek theatre. The grandiose, all-encompassing music dramas of Verdi and Wagner may seem a world away from the era of Aristotle and Plato, but this noble civilization, which held music and theatre in high ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
440 Words Read More
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