Chapter

The construction of a musical memory

Sarah Dayens

in Time and Memory in Reggae Music

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780719076213
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702116 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719076213.003.0005
The construction of a musical memory

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The history of reggae music is long and complex and, in reference to a common expression within reggae and the Rastafari movement, ‘half the story has never been told’. Record labels in Jamaica are sometimes nothing more than a studio and backyard. The presence of both old and new recordings in people's record collections is not only a question of taste or persistence: in reggae music; the new itself also conveys the old, through a process that is characteristic of reggae – the importance of the ‘riddim’. The lyrics literally ‘make’ the history of reggae music. One of the most powerful tools used by collective memory concerns the remembrance of the dead, because it unites the group through a shared sense of belonging, through the memory and emotion linked to the disappearance of their own people. Among others, two examples are especially significant in the case of reggae music: Bob Marley and Garnett Silk.

Keywords: reggae; history; Jamaica; recordings; riddim; lyrics; collective memory; Bob Marley; Garnett Silk; remembrance

Chapter.  5163 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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