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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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The construction of a musical memory

The construction of a musical memory

(p.69) 4 The construction of a musical memory
Time and Memory in Reggae Music

Sarah Dayens

Manchester University Press

The history of reggae music is long and complex and, in reference to a common expression within reggae and the Rastafari movement, ‘half the story has never been told’. Record labels in Jamaica are sometimes nothing more than a studio and backyard. The presence of both old and new recordings in people's record collections is not only a question of taste or persistence: in reggae music; the new itself also conveys the old, through a process that is characteristic of reggae – the importance of the ‘riddim’. The lyrics literally ‘make’ the history of reggae music. One of the most powerful tools used by collective memory concerns the remembrance of the dead, because it unites the group through a shared sense of belonging, through the memory and emotion linked to the disappearance of their own people. Among others, two examples are especially significant in the case of reggae music: Bob Marley and Garnett Silk.

Keywords:   reggae, history, Jamaica, recordings, riddim, lyrics, collective memory, Bob Marley, Garnett Silk, remembrance

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