NAIROBI – Jamaican Reggae music has been allocated a spot as one of the United Nations’ global cultural treasures, the organization said Thursday.
UNESCO, the UN’s cultural heritage organization, made the announcement at a meeting in Mauritius.
“(Reggae music’s) contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual,” UNESCO said in a statement.
“The basic social functions of the music – as a vehicle for social commentary, a cathartic practice, and a means of praising God – have not changed, and the music continues to act as a voice for all,” the statement added.
UNESCO said Reggae music in Jamaica is a jambalaya of earlier Jamaican/West African music influences as well as other music strands from the Caribbean, North American and Latin America.
“In time,” UNESCO said, “Neo-African styles, soul and rhythm and blues from North America were incorporated into the element, gradually transforming Ska into Rock Steady and then into Reggae.”