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20 Voices Telling Their Reggae Story

20 Voices Telling Their Reggae Story

20 Voices Telling Their Reggae Story

By on - 2 comments

BB Seaton, Sly Dunbar, Etana and more talk about the impact of reggae music in the world.

Over the last months there have been several events to celebrate Jamaica's 50 years of independence from British govern. There have been concerts, albums and tribute songs all over the world.

And we at United Reggae got a chance to show the acclaimed documentary 'Man Free' for two days in early August as a celebration. But that's not all. We've also asked a number of people in the music business around the world about reggae and how the genre has impacted the world of music.

We've received answers from people ranging from veterans like BB Seaton, Sly Dunbar and Bunny Rugs to more recent artists and producers such as Million Stylez, Mista Savona and Etana.

What we know from all the answers is that reggae has had a huge impact on music makers around the world and that the future looks bright.

But you can find out for yourself and draw your own conclusions when checking their stories.

Alpheus - Singer from UK

AlpheusWhat does reggae mean to you?
Reggae means my culture to me and where my roots are coming from. My soul.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
I feel reggae has brought a lot of unity, love and joy to the world. Reggae has also saved many lives. 

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
I believe reggae will be in an even better place in 50 years time because there are many new and improved labels, producers, artists (sound systems and bands) serving reggae at the moment. And not to mention better media and festivals and dances that actually care about the promotion of reggae.

More live music is being produced again and this is in turn creating many new young fans and maintaining the present and elder reggae lovers. So, in fact, the chances of reggae evolving and continuing for many years to come are very promising.

Barbara Blake Hannah - Jamaican author, film-maker and journalist

Barbara Blake HannahWhat does reggae mean to you?
Reggae is the music that took the Righteous Rastafari message to the world through many messengers – the best known of whom was Bob Marley.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
It has brought the awareness of a new spiritual outlook of peace, a new way of defining love, a new spread of racial harmony coming from Black to White, a new form of godliness. A new hope for a new world, coming out of a little rock in the Caribbean where they used to brutalize enslaved Africans.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
In another 50 years reggae will either be the music the world sings every day, or else it will have sunk under the commercial music industry that has locked out the true messengers and replaced them with the commercial vultures that populate music today.

I pray reggae fulfills its original destiny. 

BB Seaton - Jamaican singer and member of The Gaylads

BB SeatonWhat does reggae mean to you?
Being a part of its creation, reggae means the world to me.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
Reggae has brought a unique rhythm to the rest of the world.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
In 50 years reggae will be remembered and played just like R&B, ska, jazz etc.

Bunny Rugs - Jamaican singer, producer and member of Third World

Bunny RugsWhat does reggae mean to you?
It means everything to me, it sends my kids to collage, take care of my family and allow me to travel the world. In other words it's my life.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
It has given the world much more than just music. It has changed people’s way of thinking about what they eat, the way they dress and has brought Africa to the rest of the world.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
The seeds that were planted in the first 50, will continue to grow and produce more fruits in the next 50.

Clinton Fearon - Jamaican singer, producer and formerly member of The Gladiators

Clinton FearonWhat does reggae mean to you?
Reggae means strength, speak your mind, it means standing up for justice and truth. Spreading the message of love in general.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
In short, the greatness of simplicity, a true value of simplicity. How a simple two chords can make you feel good, and in the same breathe the message can be so profound.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
Hopefully it will still be around. I think it will still be around. My hope is that it recycles itself to go back to roots and re-energize itself. I hope for a little more spiritual involvement.

Dubtonic Kru - Jamaican band

Dubtonic KruWhat does Reggae mean to you?
Reggae music for us as an African people living on the most beautiful piece of land in the west is our voice. A most powerful voice. This voice speaks to our struggles and triumphs, our hopes and aspirations. This voice speaks to the magnificence of a people who have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to define themselves in an emerging new world. Reggae is our joys and sorrows, our ups and downs. It is the essence of our innermost expressions.
 
What has reggae brought to the world of music?
Reggae has brought the reaffirmation of the one love message. People no matter where they are from are one. As all civilizations started in Africa the human family is one family.

Reggae is built on a strong Afro-centric foundation and as such is a constant reminder of the invaluable contributions our Mother continent has made to world development.

Reggae has brought to the world of music the message of equal rights and justice that is the divine right of each and every human on planet earth. And the hope of mutual cohabitation between all the races of the world.

Where will reggae be in the next fifty years?
As with all things, change is constant and reggae music is no exception. So from its humble beginnings to the respected position that it now holds, I expect this most influential genre of music, from this little island in the Caribbean, to keep evolving, keep growing in consciousness. I expect its core message to remain what it has always been – message music. Music that uplifts, giving hope to the less fortunate, empowering and emancipating the mind. Ever chanting down Babylon!

Etana - Jamaican singer

EtanaWhat does reggae mean to you?
Reggae music is to speak for the poor; express their pain, struggles, joy and triumph. Heart and soul music to share love and positive energy.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
Reggae unites people of all nations and brings nothing but positive vibes, love and togetherness – Rastafari.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
Playing in some kind of instrument we have never seen before and won't see in this time. Reggae will be celebrated like it is being celebrated now years from now. Reggae cannot die.

Elliot Lieb - U.S. chief label executive Zion High Productions

Elliott LeibWhat does reggae mean to you?
Rastafari is the black pearl inside the reggae oyster. Seek and ye shall find.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
During the rise of the golden age of reggae, Jamaica's Rastafari movement was identified worldwide with global African liberation.  From the ghettos of western Kingston to the frontlines in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa rocking roots and culture to a reggae riddim.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
As brother Bob Marley said long ago now – "This music will keep growing and growing until it finds its right and proper audience."  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Mark Wonder - Jamaican singer

Mark WonderWhat does reggae mean to you?
Reggae is music, it is said music alone shall live so reggae is like that life to I.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
It brings a conscious way of life and spiritual hype that has never been seen in no other genre of music. It offers cultural teaching, love and togetherness. And it represents the voice of the voiceless.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
InI know that reggae music lives for iver in the heart and soul of man. So InI only can speak for this present and this future.

Michael Goldwasser - U.S. producer and co-founder of Easy Star Records

Michael GoldwasserWhat does reggae mean to you?
Reggae means putting the struggle to music. While there are a lot of styles of reggae with various lyrical themes, I was first drawn to reggae by the lyrics calling out for social change and decrying the problems of the world. Yes, there are other styles of music that take on these themes, but reggae really brought it to the next level by adding such captivating rhythms.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
Reggae has helped to bring the voice of the downtrodden to the world of music. So many of the reggae greats came out of the poorest sections of Kingston, and these singers gave voice to the situation of their people. And it's amazing to think about how reggae is "big, big music from a little island" (to quote Third World) - reggae's influence has been very disproportionate to the size of its birthplace.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
I hope that in 50 years from now, reggae will be more widely accepted as popular music in the Western world. Right now, it is still relegated to being a niche market, and many people are not exposed to reggae except for when they are on vacation in the Caribbean or because of the omnipresence of Bob Marley. But to me, reggae is just like any other genre of music - there's great reggae, there's bad reggae, and there's everything in between. There's nothing exotic about it - it's just music!

Million Stylez - Swedish singer and producer

Million StylezWhat does reggae mean to you?
Reggae is the most spiritual and positive music there is. Reggae is the only music that can unite the world. Reggae is truth. Reggae is my life.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
I think I only need to mention Bob Marley as the biggest artist there has ever been. He has also sold the most records up to this day. The youths nowadays don’t listen to Elvis or The Beatles, they listen to Bob and of course all the other great legends both living and dead.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
Reggae will take over the whole world and will be the biggest music genre there has ever been, because once you start love it you can never do without it. Just like Jah love!

Mista Savona - Australian producer

Mista SavonaWhat does reggae mean to you?
Bass. Drums. Mind melting rhythms and sounds. Life - both earthly and heavenly. Soundsystems. Dusk till dawn. Woman and man intertwined. Love. Equality. Integrity. Spirituality. A search for the divine in music, and for a better life on earth. Reggae is a powerful vehicle of higher consciousness!

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
A focus on the drums and the bass! King Tubby, the Upsetter and many others revolutionized the way we hear music. Jamaican music is responsible for so many major shifts in music production that it’s hard to list them all here. The idea of the remix, of versions, dubplates, the pounding drum and bass and the cosmic approach to sound - these pioneering breakthroughs are all still influencing the music of today.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
Jamaica is a hotbed of creativity. The soil, the air, the food, the ganga, it all creates an incredible and mysterious energy that the artists (and athletes) clearly thrive on. I think this was possibly what Bob Marley was hinting at in his song 'Natural Mystic'. So Jamaican musicians will continue to transform modern music in exciting and unpredictable ways well into the future, and continue inspiring people around the world. Reggae music is so nourishing - it will live on long as life exists on this planet.

Mr. Vegas - Jamaican singer and producer

Mr VegasWhat does reggae mean to you?
Reggae means love, vibes and positiveness. 

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
Reggae has brought a different energy to the world of music. Bob Marley is the biggest artist of all time. When you hear a reggae beat you have to move.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
Reggae will be in every corner within the next 50 years. Rock bands are already starting to transform into reggae bands.

Neil Perch - UK producer and owner of Universal Egg records

Neil PerchWhat does reggae mean to you?
Reggae means the world to me.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
Reggae has brought bass, mc and dub to the world of music.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
Reggae will probably not exist in 50 years due to the constantly changing musical scene.

Perfect - Jamaican singer

PerfectWhat does reggae mean to you?
R - rebel music
E - energizing
G - gigantic
G - giving
A - awesome
E - enchanting

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
Reggae has brought the message of equal rights and justice to all people, especially the poor and less fortunate in desolate places. Plus the exceptional sound that it has and the way it was invented is interesting and also makes it an improvising and motivational tool for other genres.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
Definitely, reggae is infinite.

Rod Taylor - Jamaican singer

Rod TaylorWhat does reggae mean to you?
Reggae is motivation within and it brings forth joy and happiness within the souls. It’s a healing with its meaning. It’s the heartbeat of the nation giving the message to all the generation on creation. That’s what reggae means to me and the rest of the Jamaican people.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
Reggae has brought Jamaica on top. It explores our roots and culture elevating our music industry and inspiring many nations taking this music to the world.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
Reggae will always be in the fields of music. It’s the only music with the messages therein and so on they will always listening to Bob Marley and other Jamaican singers over 200 years to come. Don’t forget that reggae is here to stay – people will be listening to this music until the world without end.

Sadiki - Jamaican singer and producer

SadikiWhat does reggae mean to you?
Reggae to me is a movement which should have the primary focus of bringing people together – regardless of race, religion, political beliefs or any other differences. It should bring people together “all in love”.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
Reggae has brought a sound that is unique throughout the world. This sound came out of the struggles of the Jamaican people. It is sometimes hard to believe that reggae started from this little speck on the world map. Jamaica has given birth to an industry that has benefited people in every corner of the world.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
I couldn't say where reggae will be, but I can say where I would like to see it. I would like to see reggae or Jamaican music on commercial radio stations in every major market around the globe!

Sly Dunbar - Jamaican drummer and producer

Sly DunbarWhat does reggae mean to you?
Reggae means the world to me. It is my life and I love it

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
Reggae has brought unity to the world. Love and happiness

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
Reggae is older that 50 years, and it will be around forever because it is spiritual. God bless the musician with the inspiration to create this music. I lean from the great musician that God gave the gift of music.

Taj Weekes - St. Lucian singer and producer

Taj WeekesWhat does reggae mean to you?
Apart from being a medium for my expression, it is overall an incredible rhythm to a poor man's cry.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
Reggae music has brought a greater conscience to music and has been for the most part a wonderful balance against the excesses sung about in our genres.

By and large reggae is the music of and for the socially conscious and at times has been the beacon for the marginalized and under served     

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
It will evolve enough lyrically to include and incorporate a broader subject matter while still remaining true to its foundation message. The darker the day the brighter its light will shine. Musically it will come back to the root but will also spawn some off shoots to create other sub genres.

Tippy I - Producer and owner of I Grade Records from the U.S. Virgin Islands

Tippy IWhat does reggae mean to you?
To me, reggae music is the king of music. Not in a boastful sense that reggae music musically superior to all other forms of music, but the sense of kingly power – power to liberate, power to heal, power to build both a person and a nation.

What has reggae brought to the world of music?
Reggae and dub gave birth to hip hop, dubstep, reggaeton and have influenced most forms of electronic music. So reggae music brought the world the most popular and widest listened to genres of music in the past forty years.

Where will reggae be in another 50 years?
Like all music, reggae will evolve and branch off as cultures and technologies change. But the root of it is so deeply and widely planted that roots reggae will still be strong and vibrant in 50 years.

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Read comments (2)


Posted by faddarootz on 12.28.2012
Love and Ispeck United Reggae family. Great honor to be included among the strong and positive voices for reggae music moving forward.

Posted by rigo Verwimp on 12.30.2012
Spot on for Mr Fearon and the proof is in the pudding. Mr Fearon states view t eloquently, simple and clearly. I've been a reggae lover now for 30 years and have been working on the Reggaegeel festival for 25 year. And It took me a while to realize that what Mr Fearon says is very true. When I am being asked by journalists as to why Bob Marley is so popular. I want to say : "Open your eyes". A true message to which everybody can relate and in words that everybody on this planet can understand, no. And a few well aimed chords. And his charisma off course.
Anyway nuff respect to everyone above here, you're all true. Bless.

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