UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has added Reggae Music to its list of ‘cultural institutions worthy of protection and preservation’.
Jah man … Jamaica’s groovy genre, that’s been only half-a-century in the making, now joins a select role of over 300 cultural traditions on the UN’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
To mark the acknowledgement of Jamaica’s Reggae Music as a world cultural treasure, UNESCO released a statement that reads:
“While in its embryonic state Reggae music was the voice of the marginalized, the music is now played and embraced by a wide cross-section of society, including various genders, ethnic and religious groups. Its 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. 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.”
Reggae Music emerged in the 1960s out of Jamaica’s Ska and Rocksteady musical styles. Jamaica’s Reggae is also widely recognised as a testament to the power of culture to act as a tool for social change, starting from grassroots level.
And Jamaicans are extremely proud of their musical heritage, as can be seen in the following short documentary film, released by Jamaica’s National Government…
The vibey island nation now also plans to further preserve and protect the Reggae Music genre on local soil… through establishing radio stations centred around reggae, hosting reggae museum exhibitions, and the introduction of Reggae Month that will be celebrated in February, the birth month of Jamaica’s most famous son, Bob Marley.