Reggae Music is global movement.
Reggae music is a multi-billion dollar industry, and with well over 100,000 albums released during the last 50 years, Jamaica produces the most music per capita of any country in the world.
Jamaican reggae often incorporates local instruments, while fusing with other genres. Many people are familiar with reggae’s influence in the formation of hip- hop in the U.S., and lovers rock, dubstep and drum and bass in the U.K. However, from the Caribbean to Southeast Asia, there are many sub-genres of music that can claim roots spawned from Jamaican reggae.
In the 1960s and 1970s reggae arrived in places like Panama and Puerto Rico and eventually became reggae en Español. The music eventually made its way through Central America and continued morphing until reaching prominence in Puerto Rico as “reggaeton.” This version of the music is an adaptation of Jamaican dance hall reggae to the Spanish language and other cultural elements from Panama and Puerto Rico. Samba reggae originated in Brazil as a blend of samba with Jamaican reggae.
Since the early ’70s reggae has been in Africa, but after musician Bob Marley’s visit to Zimbabwe in April 1980, reggae’s popularity exploded and fused with local music all over Africa, including Ethiopia, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria, Malawi, Ghana and Ivory Coast.
During the years of apartheid in South Africa, the music bonded people from all demographics. Lucky Dube recorded 25 albums, fusing reggae with Mbaqanga. The Marcus Garvey Rasta camp in Phillipi is regarded by many to be the reggae and Rastafarian center of Cape Town, South Africa.
Reggae music is also big business in Japan, and Jamaican musicians are in demand more than ever. In the Philippines, several bands and sound systems play their version of reggae and dancehall called Pinoy.
Aside from the reggae music and Rastafarian influences seen frequently on Thailand’s islands and beaches, a true reggae subculture is taking root in Thailand’s cities and towns. Reggae music is also quite popular in Sri Lanka. For decades, Hawaiian reggae has had a big following on the Hawaiian islands and the West Coast of the U.S.
Australian Aboriginals have been listening to reggae since the 1980, are now performing what’s called Desert Reggae in their own traditional languages.