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Time and Memory in Reggae MusicThe Politics of Hope$
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Sarah Daynes

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719076213

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719076213.001.0001

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Only rasta can liberate the people: Resistance and revolution1

Only rasta can liberate the people: Resistance and revolution1

(p.205) 12 Only rasta can liberate the people: Resistance and revolution1
Time and Memory in Reggae Music

Sarah Dayens

Manchester University Press

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

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