Reggae music to be protected by United Nations |

Reggae music to be protected by United Nations

Chris Pastrick
Jamaican Reggae singer Bob Marley performs on stage during a concert in Bourget, Paris, on July 3, 1980.

The United Nations thinks reggae music is worth protecting.

BBC News reports the genre was added to a list of international cultural treasures by the the UN’s cultural agency UNESCO because “its contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, sociopolitical, sensual and spiritual.”

Jamaican Culture Minister Olivia Grange said the country was behind a push to list reggae as a “uniquely Jamaican” tradition. “It is a music that we have created that has penetrated all corners of the world,” Grande said.

Reggae started in Jamaica in the late 1960s, as a blend of ska and rocksteady with blues and jazz. Its songs often touch on sociopolitical issues, like police brutality, imprisonment and inequality. The word reggae stems from the term “rege-rege,” which translates to “rags” or “ragged clothes.”

The style uses a heavy four-beat rhythm of drums, bass and electric guitars.

Top artists in the genre include Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, and Toots and the Maytals, whose 1968 track “Do the Reggay” was the first song to use the term.

“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 UN agency said.

The other cultural traditions that made this year’s lineup include a Mongolian camel-coaxing ritual, a Spanish riding school in Vienna, and Czech puppetry.

The UN’s protected list began in 2008.

Chris Pastrick is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at 724-226-4697, [email protected] or via Twitter @CPastrickTrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.