Reggae Music Declared Global Cultural Treasure By UNESCO
The United Nations’ cultural and scientific agency (UNESCO) has added reggae music to its list of global cultural treasures, joining a list of more 300 other cultural traditions like the Spanish art-form flamenco, Mongolian knuckle-bone shooting, and yoga in India.
UNESCO praised reggae music for being a voice that
‘functions as a vehicle of social commentary, as a cathartic experience, and means of praising God remain unchanged, and the music continues to provide a voice for all.’
The announcement came at UNESCO’s meeting in Mauritius, where 40 proposals were under consideration — including Jamaica’s inclusion of reggae, AFP reports.
Around the the 1960s, Reggae became popular in Britain and the United States — countries where many Jamaican immigrants had moved to after World War II. Its bass heavy and drum sound has inspired the dancehall and dub genre; as well as influence a number of artists. Reggae artist Sister Nancy’s “Bam Bam” has been heavily sampled by the likes of Lauryn Hill and Kanye West. Reggae is also associated with the religion Rastafarianism. Reggae music often celebrates Jah, which means god, ganga (marijuana) and Ras Tafari — the former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie who is deified in the religion.
Five other traditions were also added to the cultural heritage list, including Chidaoba (wrestling) from Georgia and the Irish sport of hurling, the body said in a press release.
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