Popular Jamaican music genre ‘Reggae’ has now been included to the list of International Cultural Treasures by UNESCO, adding the genre to its collection of ‘intangible cultural heritage’. The list was started in 2008, aims to ensure respect for communities, groups and individuals involved in the listed activity, to raise awareness and encourage appreciation of those activities nationally and internationally. The body deemed Reggae fit of protection and promotion.
“Reggae music was the voice of the marginalized, the music is now played and embraced by a wide cross-section of society.” said UNESCO.
Jamaica had applied for reggae’s inclusion on the list this year at a meeting of the UN agency on the island of Mauritius.
“Its contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual.” said UNESCO while announcing the inclusion.
Adding that “The basic social functions of the music – as a vehicle for social commentary, a cathartic practice, and a means of praising God – have not changed, and the music continues to act as a voice for all.”
The music, which grew out of Jamaica in the 1960’s thanks to artists Bob Marley and Peter Tosh amongst others, is now appreciated globally. Reggae incorporates some of the musical elements of Rhythm n Blues, Jazz and even African folk tunes.
Reggae is noted for its tradition of social criticism and religion in its lyrics although many reggae songs are about love and socializing.
Reggae is best enjoyed not only on the beach on a lazy afternoon but also at the parties in the night. Reggae music, which has sought to fight injustice and social evils, which is evident in the famous Bob Marley song..
“Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don’t give up the fight.”