Friday, August 5, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

      If anyone ever asked Janine and me what is your favourite music hardly a second would pass before we would shout REGGAE!  We just love this fast pulsating beat that originated right here on our Caribbean island of Jamaica in the 1960s. Bob Marley died 30 years ago yet he is our most recognized reggae singer. When you hear his songs you can't believe that they were made so long ago as they are still relevant today.

      It has been a proud moment to see how this music has gained international recognition topping charts from time to time and even being used in foreign films and commercials. It has also been part of the entertainment on many top shows.

      Reggae has become a sensation for decades now.  Over the years Jamaicans who have held prominent positions on foreign charts include Boris Gardener, Sophia George, Ken Boothe, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Shaggy, among others.

     It has made such an impact that singers from other countries have made reggae songs which became quite popular. A big hit in 1972 was Johnny Nash's song 'I Can See Clearly Now.' It stayed 4 weeks in the No. 1 spot on the Pop charts. Way back in 1990 when Janine and I wrote an article titled "Reggae and its future" for the Daily Gleaner, the British group Beat's international reggae song "Dub Be Good To Me" went to No. 1 on the U.K.national charts, while UB 40's 'Kingston Town' made it to the No.4 spot.  Both songs were also successful in the Netherlands as they became No.1 hits there. 
       For many years Reggae Sunsplash drew large crowds of visitors to our shores and Jamaicans to enjoy some of our top reggae singers and groups as well as some foreign performers. In recent years it has been replaced by Reggae Sumfest which has also become a big event on Jamaica's entertainment calendar every summer.

      When it comes on  to favourites I must say that Janine and I have had so many over the years -Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Beresford Hammond, Jimmy Cliff, Marcia Griffiths, Freddy McGregor, Shaggy, Rita Marley etc. I could go on and on and on!

      These days I am also among many persons who like to hear our gospel singers singing songs to a reggae beat. You feel the spirit every time! I also like what is now called dancehall reggae. Give me reggae any time in its many forms!
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