Where did reggae originate? What are the latest trends in reggae music? What inspired reggae artists to develop this genre of music?
Reggae music is an altogether unique genre of music that has drawn from many different styles. It has evolved out of African folk tunes, European pop, New Orleans rhythm and blues, mento music, bluebeat bands, ska and rocksteady music. It began in 1960 in Jamaica, pioneered by new sounds coming from artists such as the Wailers, the Pioneers, Millie Small and Burning Spear.
Most of the reggae artists of the 1960s were born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. The "Waterhouse" district of Kingston became a hotbed of reggae artists very quickly, with Bob Marley of the Wailers emerging as the biggest face on the scene, gaining international attention rather quickly. He became the front runner man for reggae music and has been credited with the increasing popularity of the genre.
Most of the early reggae artists were also Rastafarians, people who believe in a way of life that includes the spiritual use of cannabis, honoring Afrocentric agendas and promoting peace. As such, early reggae featured a heavy Rastafarian influence and became part of Rastafari ceremonies and celebrations. Marley and Peter Tosh were particularly devoted to the idea of using their music to spread the Rastafari message. One of the most famous songs of this time is Bob Marley's "Rastaman Chant."
Reggae quickly became the music sound of Jamaica, but it was quickly embraced by listeners in the Caribbean and the United Kingdom as well. After this, the sound of reggae music spread throughout the United States and parts of Europe.
As time passed and some of the strictly Rastafarian reggae artists either passed away or became less popular, an increasing number of reggae artists have abandoned the Rastafarian agenda and embraced the pop and gospel scene. Non-political reggae music and spiritual reggae music are both gaining popularity, although some Rastafarian Jamaican artists are still promoting their concerns through this music genre. Many current reggae artists have blended reggae with pop, rock and roll and blues music, creating their own unique sounds and carving out new fan bases. Reggae music has found its way into film, television and the mainstream music scene.
If you're looking for famous reggae artists who will keep you jamming like you're on a beach in Jamaica, these are the folks you want to check out.
If you're into female reggae singers, you'll want to check out every one of the entertainers on this list. If you're new to the musical scene, these are some of the boldest women in the genre.