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Reviving the Roots: The Significance of Reggae Music in Contemporary Culture



The significance of reggae music is a reality in modern times. More and more, the general public connect into ideas and themes that reggae music brings to the fore.


Here's a few reasons why we choose to create and enjoy reggae music.


Social Commentary


Reggae music has always provided a vessel for commenting on hard social topics, such as justice and equality. The conveyance of these messages is perfect for the reggae genre: even the hardest-hitting and toughest ideas seem to be presented in a setting of easy communication without angst. Through reggae's conscious lyrics, important topics of injustice, racial division, discrimination, poverty divides and more are kept in conversation, rather than being brushed under the rug or conveniently forgotten and ignored. The fact that the reggae genre makes these themes integral to the art and beauty of the music just adds to the fabric: reggae music is about pain, but it's also about love. You can't have one without the other. So if you're here for the party, you had better be here for the reality as well!


Promoting Unity and Hope


Reggae music brings people together. While we're all taking in those conscious lyrics, there's a little more understanding and respect at the end of the night. You've expanded your consciousness a little more. Reggae music and culture promotes themes of unity, hope and overcoming oppression. It reminds us that anyone can be oppressed, many are oppressed, and no one should be oppressed. Many people say that reggae music makes them feel good. The music can uplift and make you feel glad to be alive. When you experience reggae music with others, I feel like everyone's spirit is more connected with the world around them.


Cross-cultural boundaries are lifted


Reggae music is of Jamaica. Everyone knows this. But how reggae music transcends what it is of and evolves into a global phenomenon, cannot be ignored. We are unified in our feeling of humanity, as I said above, with these themes of hope and overcoming oppression, and we are now of our own community: The reggae community. We always describe people who enjoy our music as our Reggae Family, because that is what Reggae music has allowed for the world! It doesn't matter what your background, geographical location, or many many other aspects that make us individuals. What matters is that we connect to reggae music, and so we connect through reggae music. Reggae music champions community and communal living - not like, living in a house with six families, but rather viewing your place in the world in relation to others. It reminds me of the phrase 'It takes a village to raise a child'. In a time where radical individualism is encouraged as well as on the rise, reggae music reminds us that we are one humanity and that we exist in relation to each other.


If You're Not Vibing, You're Only Surviving


One of the most wonderful things about being in this time in human history is the evolution of realising that 'mental health' is not a problem for the few. Everyone has their own mental health that they need to take care of, just like their physical health. Reggae music through its uplifting themes, it's relaxing rhythms and it's deep bass can truly provide an antidote to the stress that more and more people are realising they can escape from with a little dose of music. Reggae music takes you away from it all in a conscious and healthy way, without disassociating or damaging yourself in any way. It's quite meditative, in a way, to really listen in to reggae music. You mindfully immerse yourself in a very real and, at the same time, very comforting world.


Continues a Legacy


I'd like to think that in 2024, the world is a more accepting place than ever, even if there are many judgements and a lack of acceptance still prevalent. However, the legacy of reggae music is of great importance. Bands like ours are carrying the torch, and bands after us will continue to do so, of the great pioneers of the industry. When there was very little acceptance of difference, racism abounded, closed-mindedness prevailed and belief proscribed by age-old institutions, brave musicians carved out new sounds, strong speakers shouted out their views and new beliefs and religious movements flowed through the veins of humanity. Reggae music speaks to that.


Inspires continually


Reggae music has fed into so many other genres that have emerged since it's inception. From hip-hop to pop music, Reggae's rhythms, beats and sounds have been adopted, celebrated and translated to create all sorts of music. Incidentally, there are very few songs that don't work 'In a reggae', because putting a reggae style beat and a rootsy bass line to any music makes it hit just that little bit nicer! Reggae music has fed into continual music evolution.


Countercultural Values


Big words, huh? Reggae music has long been the voice of the people. It's connection to Rastafari and the mindsets and ideals of the philosophies around Rastafari communicate an alternative, or counter, culture to what is mainstream. This is similar to the new age spirituality that emerged and rose to popularity from the sixties onwards. Rastafari and reggae music have key tennets that resonate with modern audiences more and more, such as the emphasis on natural living. Reggae lyrics promote living organically, growing your own food, avoiding Babylon chemicals and protecting the natural world around us. This counters a growing reigning theme of industrialisation and mass production, along with an increased reliability on pharmaceuticals.

Reggae frequently challenges authority. Many reggae musicians I know share the idea that 'If the government tell you to do something, do the opposite'! Reggae music is non-conformist. It asks you to ask them! Systemic oppression and corruption are facts, not conspiracies, and reggae music imbibes these ideas and thematically presents not subscribing to the status quo.

Rastafari spirituality is central to reggae music. Awareness of the self and connectivity with the natural world are prized over materialism. Reggae shows you that you don't have to be at the top of the pile and you don't need or want everything someone could covet. The importance of self-awareness, simplicity and staying humble is sacred as opposed to the persuit of greed, material wealth and status.

Self-reliance is key. Many reggae pioneering artists formed their own, independent labels and the popularity of sound systems stressed the importance of not relying or conforming to the people with the money.


Expanding the Mind


Reggae music focuses on the expansion of your thoughts. It encourages putting the shoe on the other foot, walking a mile in someone else's shoes, seeing and understanding other perspectives. We are not islands, we are a species. We may not always agree, and that is fine. Appreciation and insight are more important than arguing your own point - we may never learn anything in that mind set. Again, the championing of connectivity to your fellow man (or woman!) is integral to the message of reggae music. The messages of reggae encourage attaining higher consciousness and better self awareness. With these tools you are able to assess and move forward in a real and informed way, rather than ascribing to that herd mentality.


So, in essence, we choose to create and celebrate reggae music because it is a way of life. More so than any other genre, as far as we are concerned, reggae music keeps you immersed in a view of the world that is an aspiration. We create reggae music to encourage independent thought, living in harmony with others and with nature, questioning the mainstream, social boundaries and prejudices and more.

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