Interviewing the Caribbean Volume 7 Issue 2
Edited by Professor Opal Palmer Adisa
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A Global Music for Peace & Justice
Nyabinghi drumming and rhythm pounds in the bottom of my belly sending waves all throughout my body.
As a child it was the slow mento tempo that sashayed like women’s skirts that defined the music then. But that gave way to ska, bubbling into reggae, grinding into dancehall and is still moving, endless as waves to emerge as something else.
Jamaican music has had an impact on the globe and has influenced many social movements. Wherever in the world I travel, when I say I’m Jamaican, regardless of the language the person speaks, they smile and sing a verse or line of a reggae song; Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Burning Spears, Dennis Brown, etc. Jamaican music is known for building Community, advocating for peace, chanting down Babylon and crying for justice and equality.
Jamaican music is considered to be healing music, intended to lift the spirit, to encourage perseverance, to guide us to be steadfast and to seek and work for justice. This is why this volume is so important. We have numerous musicians in every genre; there is so much it would take volumes to include all, so what you have here are a handful of my favourite musicians.
I feel blessed and must thank all of the musicians who took time to speak with me. Big up Jimmy Cliff and The Harder They Come, that celebrates fifty years in 2022. Big up Big Youth, Judy Mowatt, Sean Paul, Etana, Koffee, Fab 5, Willard White and Shirley Thompson, Chevelle Franklyn, Myrna Hauge, Ibo Cooper, Ernie Smith, Marjorie Whylie, Steve Golding, General B, Hugh Douse, Michael Holgate, Bongo Herman, Shola and Paris, and all the many others I did not have the time to interview.
Big up Minister Grange for making sure UNESCO added Reggae to the Global Heritage List; Carolyn Cooper for driving the academic connection; Pat Chin for producing and promoting; Andrea Davis for managing; Lisa Tomlison and Donna Hope for teaching about the music; and Herbie Miller for ensuring that it is preserved.
To all those amazing musicians who transitioned in the last two years, especially Toots, who was the first artiste I saw live back in the day.
Nuff respect to all Jamaican musicians in all genres for promoting and melodizing our culture and giving it back to us and spreading it throughout the world.
Let us continue to create great music that positively impacts the world, let’s chant down Babylon, continue to chant for Justice, for Peace and for Equality!
Opal Palmer Adisa