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Reasoning from the Reggae Underground

Essay by Klive Walker


2006 Insomniac Press 978-1894663960 English

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Exerting influence far beyond its small size, the Carribean is the centre of the musical universe. And reggae is at the very centre of Carribean musical culture. In "Dubwise", Klive Walker looks at the global impact of the Caribbean diaspora and takes a new look at the careers of international icons like Bob Marley in the wider context of Carribean culture. While acknowledging Bob Marley's international stature, Klive Walker also looks at the work of other Jamaican personalities like hand-drummer Oswald 'Count Ossie' Williams, jazz saxophonist Joe Harriott, ska trombonist Don Drummond, and poet Louise Bennett. Essays on Bennett and Drummond show the influence of each on the development of reggae and the aesthetic of Bob Marley. Dubwise also assesses the career of vocalist Dennis Brown, whose impact on reggae singing is unparalleled. The history of reggae women, ignored for far too long, is addressed in a groundbreaking essay. Walker considers the impact of figures like producer Sonia Pottinger and singer-songwriters Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt. 'Dubwise' is more than just a history of reggae. The book also illustrates the importance of ska, Jamaica's first popular music, and shows how its influence is just as widespread. Two essays not only link roots reggae and ska, but also discuss its history, reconnecting ska to its origins in the history of jazz in Jamaica and in nyabinghi hand drumming. Walker investigates the international legacy of Jamaican ska and jazz up to the present time. Finally, Dubwise takes its organic approach to its logical conclusion by assessing the symbiotic relationship between reggae and hip-hop.


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