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|Reggae||- compiled by DJ Asha
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The origins of Reggae can be traced back to the many forms of folk music that were popular in Jamaica in the 1950's. The first recorded Jamaican music was Mento which drew heavily from all the forms of folk music. It was often referred to as Jamaican Calypso, however only some of the more uptempo Mento tunes sounded similar to Calypso. Mento music had begun in the 1940's and by the time it reached the first Jamaican recording studio in the winter of 1951-52, it was well-established and very popular.
In the 1940's the phenomenon known as the 'sound system' began to replace live musicians, principally because it was cheaper. The sound systems played US R&B and later their own Jamaican-recorded R&B, which although initially copied the US style, evolved over a couple of years into a distinctively Jamaican sound. This sound drew from Mento as well as R&B and by the end of 1961 had evolved into Ska.
Ska remained popular throughout the 60's, however from 1965 to 1967, the ghetto youth of West Kingston were developing their own version of Ska which was referred to as 'Rude-Boy' music. It was a more dynamic version of Ska and its lyrics addressed their ghetto lifestyle.
In 1966, Ska had also begun to evolve into the much slower, cooler and more refined sound of 'Rocksteady' as a result of the various Soul styles also popular at that time. Rocksteady flourished until 1968 when it evolved into what is now labelled as 'Reggae'. Reggae became a term which encompassed the many developing styles of Jamaican music characterised by the trademark 'skank'. By the mid 1970's, Roots reggae had developed which concerned itself with the life of the ghetto sufferer, with reality, with truths and rights. Many Roots artistes drew on Rastafarian ideologies and indeed this dominated its lyrics.
In the early 1970's, Reggae produced yet another offshoot in the form of Dub. Dub, which is now used throughout the world of dance music to describe a remix, originated in Jamaica in 1967, initially in the quest for sound-system exclusivity. Dub, in the now familiar form of radically remixed versions of tunes with the lyrics stripped down or removed, arrived in 1972, and was largely due to the contribution of King Tubby, boss of the leading sound-system in Kingston and a superb engineer.
By the early 1980's however, the Dub craze had run its course and few dub sets were being issued. In recent years, 'version' sides of new Jamaican 45's have harked back to the form's golden age. However the revival of interest from the outside world in vintage 1970's Dub has yet to prompt any return to a regular supply of new Dub albums from Kingston.
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