Let’s start with a video that in many ways embodies my values as a human being:
The song was one originally performed by Bob Marley, whose work I have admired for more years (now decades) than I would probably want to admit. This is a pretty nice cover, as it conveys the best our global village (as we once called it) has to offer.
I heard my first reggae songs thanks to a news segment back in the mid 1970s. Jamaica was newsworthy at the time, for reasons that were not quite understandable to a child, and I am sure the segment was intended to capture at least part of the political turmoil going on at the time. It was the music that caught my attention. My first exposure to the sound of steel drums came from that experience. My first exposure to reggae music came from that, and as my memory tends to be long, I remembered to look for reggae music when I started buying records just a handful of years later. The impression I got from Bob Marley’s work was that he was combating hate, racism, and economic injustice by injecting a bit of love and music into the lives of anyone willing to listen. Bob Marley died when I was a teen, but he left a great impression on me. Like any fan, I have my favorites, and many will be familiar to you. So here are a few videos I hope you enjoy.
Of course, by the time I was a young adult and digging the club scene, Ziggy Marley would have been more contemporary. And I do like this song:
Reggae has changed a lot since my day. I was in an outdoor cafe nestled along a beach on Lake Michigan, taking a break from workshops and panel discussions earlier this summer in Chicago. While I was enjoying some kebabs, a DJ was dropping the latest from today’s reggae scene. The music is still in some ways recognizable, but it has a different flavor to it. Each generation has to make it their own, of course. Even this old school guy could enjoy it though. I’m sure the sight of a middle aged guy in business casual attire grooving to the tunes the DJ was spinning was one to behold. Alas, eventually I had to head back, as there was still work to be done. Such is life.
When I did get back home, I made a point of adding a few more reggae albums to my flash drive to make the commute a bit more bearable. Bob Marley and Peter Tosh – always. But I also enjoy quite a bit of dub: (Lee “Scratch” Perry, African Head Charge, Creation Rebel, etc.). Another story for another diary.
Thanks for reading and listening. I’ll have another cafe and lounge up hopefully next week. Until then, light up the darkness.