Essay by Lloyd Bradley
Jamaica is a small country in the Caribbean, 146 miles wide and populated by less than 3 million people. Nevertheless, it exerts a powerful hold on international popular music. From Prince Buster to Burning Spear, Lee “Scratch” Perry to Yellowman, Bob Marley to Shabba Ranks, reggae music is one of the most dynamic and powerful musical forms of the twentieth century. And, as Lloyd Bradley shows in his deft, definitive, and always entertaining book, it is and always has been the people’s music. Born in the sound systems of the Kingston slums, reggae was the first music poor Jamaicans could call their own, and as it spread across the globe it always remained fluid, challenging, and distinctly Jamaican. Based on six years of research, original interviews with most of reggae’s key figures, and a lifelong enthusiasm for one of the most remarkable of the world’s musics, This Is Reggae Music is an indispensable achievement.
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