Only rasta can liberate the people: Resistance and revolution<sup>1</sup>

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:
Only rasta can liberate the people: Resistance and revolution1

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Reggae has always been a socially and politically engaged musical style, which conveys a strong and explicit revolutionary message. Indeed, the narrative contained in reggae music is not only a denunciation: it also puts forward a call for political engagement and struggle, and even for revolution. The rejection of paradise and hell, to which the Last Judgment is substituted (eternal life for the righteous, eternal punishment for the sinners, after the return of the messiah and the judgment of God), plays a central role in the constant articulation made, within the Rastafari movement, between eschatology and revolution. The notion of revolution is present in reggae music, throughout its evolution and in Jamaica as much as in Great Britain. Reggae music can be considered as the narrative of a history as much as of a memory, as a tool of communication and of transmission of a religious knowledge and socio-political message. Through it, hope is entertained and redemption promised.

Keywords: reggae; revolution; Rastafari movement; Jamaica; Great Britain; transmission; hope; redemption; Last Judgment; eternal life

Chapter.  8992 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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