The smooth and steady beat of reggae music has for many decades mesmerized an audience both in its home country Jamaica and internationally, the melodies and words of inspiration and struggle that reggae music speaks of touches the heart of those who are willing to listen. Artists such as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh have done much for the industry bringing what was originally born in the back allies of the Jamaican ghetto to international notoriety.
History of Roots Reggae
The stylistic origins of roots reggae evolved for the sounds of ska and rock steady music. The fusion and cultural expression as we know it today dates back to the late 1960s when the concepts of Rastafari started to gain traction in the masses of the poor and oppressed. Rastafarianism has played an important role in the shaping of roots reggae as it spoke to the spiritual side of Rastafari and it identified with the day to day suffering of the common man. The music spoke to a time when the black man would be seen as an equal to any other race thus mirroring many of the concepts of the late Marcs Garvey. In the 1970s as political unrest grew and discontent festered in the minds of the poor roots reggae offered some amount of hope to the people. Through the music much of what the unseen in society experience was expressed it gave a voice to the voice less and hope to the hopeless.
Notable Roots Reggae Artists
When one speaks of reggae music in an instance of the first artist that comes to mind is Bob Marley however prior to this great artist many had paved the path to his success. Winston Holness otherwise known as Niney was one of the forerunners of roots reggae, in his 1970 release of blood and fire. Vivian Jackson who stage name is ‘Yabby you’ was also a forerunner, his release of conquering lion in 1972 was to set the theme of many songs to follow.
Reggae by the late 1970s had become a popular musical genre across the world with artists such as Bob Marley and the wailers, Burning Spears, Peter Tosh, Lee Scratch Perry and many more representing the musical expression as they brought a part of the Jamaican experience through their music to the rest of the world. Hit after Hit gave reggae music the staying power forever cementing the musical form for many generations to follow.
Hit Roots Reggae Songs
As the 1970s ended, the new decade ushered in many his songs in the reggae genre that are still with us today. Bob Marley and the wailers cranked out one hit after the other. Songs such as ‘one love’, ‘I shot the sheriff’,’ Iron lion Zion’ and ‘no woman no cry’ dominated the charts for many weeks. Peter Tosh’s ‘Johnny be good tonight’, ‘Legalize it’, ‘Why Must I cry’, ‘Bush Doctor’ and Till your well runs dry all became popular hits of that period. As time progressed the music evolved leaving behind the lyrics and musical styles of that era much of what remain of authentic reggae can still be heard in artists such as Luciano, Beres Hammond, Anthony B, and Morgan Heritage just to name a few.
In its purest form reggae music is African in its origin. With this fact the lyrics and sounds find much of there potency from the beats of drums the rhythms. The sounds and content also makes use of the guitar, piano and in some instances the saxophone.
Roots Reggae Cultural Influence
The impact of reggae music is far reaching many countries across the world have in some way benefited form this musical form. Its spread across the globe has brought the cause of rastafari and its way of life to millions of people worldwide and its impact can still be felt reverberating across the globe each time a new hit song plays.