I remember Friday evenings and Saturday mornings as days when my parents would play their select reggae LPs. I can picture those two dancing and having a good time and that is one of my fondest childhood memories. It was always a reggae party at my house (minus the marijuana, of course). The sounds of Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs, Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, Jimmy Cliff, and others, practically raised me at the same time my parents did.
Music is a form of socialization and it does so in ways we often take for granted. Most reggae songs were and still are a form of silent protest against the brutality of the Jamaican government. There is a whole history of reggae as a social movement Read it here. Although the origins of reggae music date way back into the 1960s, the culture of reggae and Rastafarianism has spread to the rest of the world. Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Ghana are some of the few African countries that I know love reggae music. Zimbabwe saw the wave of reggae music after the visit to Zimbabwe by Bob Marley in 1980, reggae music, almost every young person adopted the Rastafarian culture at the time (Source). Most reggae music writers emphasise, however, that this form of music should never be confused with dancehall music, and I definitely concur. I have nothing against dancehall music, but in my opinion, the essence of the message in reggae is kind of lost in the fast-paced rhythms of dancehall.
For me personally, reggae music represents freedom and spirituality. The message of love and unity resonates with each song I have listened to since I was a young girl. Even though it is the music of my childhood, I am still an avid reggae listener. I still love the old school reggae of my parents but also appreciate the contemporary sounds of Morgan Heritage, Etana, Sizzla, Luciano, Jah Cure, Beres Hammond, and Tarrus Riley (this list is not exhaustive, these are just some of my faves). I listen to Etana ~I rise on mornings when I need a pick-me-up I rise.
In my family, two of my siblings have dreadlocks and it was an accepted hairstyle without question because of the music we grew up listening to. Also, my parents were always really unconventional and non-conformist. Those of us who do not have dreadlocks always quote the Morgan Heritage song,
You don’t haffi dread to be rasta, this is not a dreadlocks thing, divine conception of the heart.
I must say though, that I have never been tempted to have dreads because my sister’s ones will put me to shame if I tried, plus the patience I definitely lack.
We do not practice Rastafarianism as a religion in my family, but we love reggae music. I am not sure whether it was my parents’ plan for us to end up loving reggae the way they did, but we definitely adopted it. Of course, there was also Tracy Chapman and some jazz music my dad loved, but reggae was dominant and it stuck.
I wonder what music my children will be listening to in their time, but I want them to know that their mother was raised on a solid and positive message of love, harmony, and freedom. I leave you with another Etana song which just gets to my soul…
What kind of music was in your childhood and how has it shaped your adulthood taste in music or beliefs? Drop it below.
Day 8 Blogtember Challenge