Commentary and Analysis by Mitch Santell
Producer and Co-Founder, Big Reggae Mix
Since launching Big Reggae Mix (KREG) on November 5, 2014 we have watched our little station grow organically.
While my own background has been producing POP, Smooth Jazz, Alternative and Rock Music, you need to know from me as the Co-Founder of the station that I have learned about Reggae from our Founder Scott T. Brown whom I have known personally for over ten years.
In looking at the spectrum of various music formats, I sincerely know in my heart that in 2015 -- Reggae Music (and most of its sub-genres - no we don't play dance hall), has a profound impact on our world.
The impact and the healing power of Reggae to 2015 is what the Folk and Rock Music Movements were in the 1960's. Reggae Music is literally the one form of music that is still promoted, run and distributed for the most part by music people.
Many of the artists that I now listen to I listen to because of Scott T. Brown. If Big Reggae Mix was more than just an online radio station - let's say we expanded and became a record label - I am now convinced that with Scott T. Brown's ears and Errol Brown (our partner and Executive Producer) we would have a slew of #1 hits.
The music business continues as always to go through tremendous transition. As I learn more and more about Reggae, I am open and willing to share with you, our followers, listeners and fans some more about the depth and breadth of Reggae.
So check this out:
Reggae is the musical genre which revolutionized Jamaican music. When it emerged in the late 1960s, it came as a cultural bombshell not only to Jamaica but the whole world. Its slow jerky rhythm, its militant and spiritual lyrics as well as the rebellious appearance of its singers, among others, have influenced musical genres, cultures and societies throughout the world, contributing to the development of new counterculture movements, especially in Europe, in the USA and Africa. Indeed, by the end of the 1960s, it participated in the birth of the skinhead movement in the UK. In the 1970s, it impacted on Western punk rock/ pop cultures, influencing artists like Eric Clapton and The Clash. During the same decade, it inspired the first rappers in the USA, giving rise to hip-hop culture. Finally, since the end of the 1970s, it has also influenced singers originating from Africa, the Ivorian singers Alpha Blondy and Tiken Jah Fakoly, and the South African Lucky Dube clearly illustrating this point. Thus, my paper will examine the impact of reggae music on the worldwide cultural universe, focusing particularly on Europe, the USA and Africa.
Reggae music not only influenced the skinhead movement, but it also strongly influenced the punk movement, partly thanks to Don Letts, a young black man born in London of Jamaican parents. In 1977, Don Letts was a DJ at the legendary nightclub The Roxy where he introduced reggae and dub to the burgeoning punk rock scene, thereby influencing British punk bands like The Clash and The Sex Pistols. In an interview that I conducted with Don Letts, he explained to me how he happened to play reggae in this famous punk-oriented club:
Once I started to do my own research and uncover the “ back story ” on the origins of Reggae I was even more impressed.
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