Celebrating Reggae Month 2017
by H.E. Cheryl Spencer, High Commissioner of Jamaica
In Jamaica, the month of February is a packed month. Although Reggae festivals are held year-round, for music lovers and the culturally conscious, it is a month which is highly anticipated. It is also the month when Jamaica’s winter tourism season is at its peak.
From a musical standpoint, February is also the birth anniversary month of some of the most illustrious Reggae Icons, starting with none other than Robert Nester (Bob) Marley, the King of Reggae music, Dennis Emmanuel Brown, the Crown Prince of Reggae music, the legendary Singer and Record Producer, Derrick Harriott and William 'Bunny Ruggs' Clarke of the internationally popular Reggae Band, Third World.
It is well known that the month is dedicated to celebrating Reggae and its impact, as well as generating local and international focus on Reggae music. Under the 2017 theme, “Reggae Mecca” the Reggae month celebrations kicked off at Mandela Park, Half-Way Tree, on 1 February 2017 and for the remainder of the month there will be, inter alia, Reggae Open University discussions, weekly concerts, a Global Reggae Conference and an awards ceremony.
Every year, Reggae Month takes on added significance and attract greater participation.
The celebrations this year will also serve to highlight other critical elements of the Reggae music industry such as Sound Systems, Sound System Selectors, Music Producers and the Media, as well as industries on which the music has had a great impact, such as the international fashion industry. In addition, one of the main themes to be explored during the month is “Preserving the Music”.
During last year’s celebrations, we noted that it is still very difficult to quantify the impact of Jamaica and its music on global culture and that through Reggae, the country’s influence is secured for many years to come. We also reminded that globally, many are the beneficiaries of a harvest flowing from a seed planted and nourished in that small Caribbean Island and urged that we honour and savour its influence.
Reggae is still the conscience of socio-political activities and policies, bringing people together, drawing them into love and participation and serving as mediator between the Individual, the Community, the Country and the World as a whole.
While we celebrate, our quest is also to ensure that Reggae music is honoured, celebrated and preserved as such.
In the words of the Reggae Month Declaration:
“Reggae is the heartbeat of Jamaica…the unique music that springs from the creative imagination of a diverse people, forged in a crucible of common experiences, struggles, successes and spirituality that survived the Middle Passage to become our indigenous creation, our national expression, our musical voice in the world, a driving force of our economy and the industry….”
The Jamaican High Commission in Pretoria, joins Reggae fans in South and Southern Africa in celebrating Reggae Month 2017.
“One good thing about (this) Music, when it hits you feel no pain; so hit me with Music…..” (Bob Marley: “Trench Town Rock”)
Jamaican High Commission, Pretoria