Bearers of Jamaican Popular Culture
Jamaican popular music started with ska in the early 1960s, evolved into rock‐steady in the mid‐1960s, and eventually into reggae in the late 1960s. This development was driven and facilitated by Jamaica's sound systems – mobile discos – and the emerging recording industry. The influences on Jamaican popular music are quite diverse, including African sensibilities mediated through Jamaican folk genres, British popular and religious music, American rhythm and blues, Trinidadian calypso, and Latin rhythms. As the music evolved into reggae, the Nyabinghi rhythms of Rastafari – adopted from Burru drumming – became the characteristic sound, and the Rastafarian philosophy pervaded the lyrics. The influence of Rastafari on the development of Jamaican popular music (reggae) has been the most salient factor in moving Rastas from the margins toward the center of Jamaican cultural life.
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