Reggae/Catalogs

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An informational catalog, or several catalogs, about Reggae.

Reggae precursors

Ska

Period: 1960-1966
Description: The first major local Jamaican genre, derived from American Jazz and R&B, flourishing from 1961 or 1962 to around 1966. It is characterised by a fast, syncopated rhythm guitar stroke, driving horns and boogie-style stand-up bass. Major ska artists include Byron Lee & The Dragonaires, Derrick Morgan, Prince Buster and The Skatalites. The style influenced the 1980s British 2 Tone ska revival, which was a mixture of ska, punk rock and pop music.

Rocksteady

Period: 1966-1968
Description: A slower musical style, with a tempo in between ska and early reggae. Besides the slower pace, its main feature is the electric bass, which takes on the position of lead instrument with intricate melodies and a high position in the mix. Rocksteady is known for its Impressions-styled vocal harmonies. Major artists include Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, The Paragons and Desmond Dekker.

Reggae genres

Early reggae

Period: 1968-1970
Description: Also known as skinhead reggae, is generally considered to be the period before the Rastafari movement popularized in Jamaican music. It can be distinguished from rocksteady by the slightly faster beat marked out by the drummer using the hi-hat, heavy organ lines, lower mixing of the bass, and electronically doubled rhythm guitar stroke. It met great success in the UK, especially with the skinhead subculture. Major artists include John Holt, Toots and the Maytals, The Pioneers and Symarip.

Dub

Period: 1970s-1990s
Description: An instrumental genre built around the application of electronic equipment on existing recorded tracks. Its sound (built around individual instrumental tracks changing volume, appearing, disappearing, all while various effects and filters are applied to them) has proven very influential on modern dance music. Major artists include King Tubby, Lee "Scratch" Perry and Scientist.

Toasting

Period: 1970s-1980s
Description: Jamaican precursor to hip hop, based on Deejays (Jamaica's emcees) toasting (talking) over instrumental tracks or riddims. Famous deejays from before the dancehall era include U-Roy, Big Youth and King Stitt.

Roots reggae

Period: 1970-1979
Description: The best-known form of reggae today, with its Rastafarian message. Early reggae production is further developed with electronics and influences from contemporary western music. Although largely supplanted in the popular imagination by Dancehall in 1979, the style continues even today as a minority underground genre. Bob Marley is the internationally most famous exponent of the style, but Peter Tosh, Horace Andy, Black Uhuru and The Abyssinians are also well known.

Lovers rock

Period: 1970s-1980s
Description: Also known as British Lover's rock, this genre became popular in the late-1970s to mid-1980s. It is characterized by its smooth, Quiet Storm-type musical style infused with a gentle reggae beat. This genre of reggae began in the UK but spread out quickly; reaching popularity in Jamaica as well. Janet Kay, Audrey Hall and Maxi Priest are some examples of Lover's Rock performers.

Nyabhingi

Period: ?
Description: A roots subgenre related to the Rastafarian grouping of the same name. It's characterised by hand-drumming derived from religious ceremonies. Well known artists are Count Ossie or Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus.

Rockers style

Period: 1970s
Description: Created during the mid-1970s by Sly & Robbie, who at the time were the rhythm section of The Revolutionaries. Rockers is described as a militant, mechanical, and aggressive style of playing reggae music.[1]

Dancehall

Period: 1979-present
Description: Characterised by stripped-down, spacious productions, prominent basslines and the inclusion of dub-style effects, often coupled with bawdy 'slackness' lyrics. The genre spawned a new generation of Jamaican stars, including Barrington Levy, Yellowman and Eek-a-Mouse.

Ragga

Period: 1985-present
Description: Also known as raggamuffin, is electronic dancehall music. Beginning under producer Prince Jammy in 1985, the genre originally was produced on simple keyboards but eventually other synthesisers have been added. Super Cat, Shabba Ranks and Charlie Chaplin are some of the well-known artists of the eighties and early nineties.

Rumble

Period: ?
Description: Mixture of roots reggae, garage, soul and ska first created and popularised by Mandeville the house band of the popular reggae group Me & You.

Reggae singers

Period: Present
Description: Also known as Reggae culture, modern terms for Roots Reggae reggae. This genre of reggae uses many of the same techniques that modern dancehall reggae uses as far as instrumentatation and presentation. However this genre features more singing than dancehall and more socially conscious or Rastafari-oriented themes. Notable performers include Capleton, Sizzla, Morgan Heritage, Tony Rebel, Lucky Dube and Freddie McGregor.

References

  1. Dick Hebdige, Cut 'n' Mix: Culture, Identity and Caribbean Music p.67