Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

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Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby underated » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:52 pm

After reading the rant made by the editor of The Independent,
[thanks to mikus for posting]

I pose the simple question,
Could reggae survive without the Contributions of The Rastafari ?
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Re: Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby John Eden » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:20 pm

I think, as the article says, that you can have credible reggae without rasta whether it be lovers, or ska or even bashment.

But what is undeniable is that rastafarianism has played a huge role in all reggae sub-genres and I think that is one factor which has put the brakes on it becoming just another strain of "world music" or "global bass culture".

I suspect as time goes on there will be more and more reggae without a rasta influence anyway. Whether it will be any good is another question.

To turn the question on its head - I personally doubt that rastafarianism would be so widespread today if it wasn't for reggae.
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Re: Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby capullo » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:54 pm

of course not. but i see rastafari more as a metaphor or say as a sum of the heritage of different african influences (also mixed with european and east indian culture - but mainly african) - musically and spiritually. the same question could be asked for afro-cuban music (nowadays mostly known as son or salsa). exchange the word rastafari with yoruba and the answer is the same - it would not have been created the same way. the foundation is the percussion. percussion is always related to spiritual rituals. that said, without the foundation the music might survive but would somehow lose the essence - and i don't mean any dogmas in any form. IMHO of course.
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Re: Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby ScrollZ » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:01 pm

i think "reggae" would survive, but "roots" (as i/we call it) reggae probably wouldn't.
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Re: Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby informer » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:10 pm

can rastafari survive without reggae ?
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Re: Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby capullo » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:19 pm

can rastafari survive without reggae ?


that's a very good question! probably not without its caribbean creole backbone - but who knows..at least the rasta influcenced music i personally like most.
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Re: Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby kingj » Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:25 pm

my feelings are that rastafari played THE role in reggae...especially at the time of its first international push around 75-76.
the key studios were coming to fruition, and the cultural awareness of rastafari propelled it forward.

they were doing something, doing something with a purpose,and the most influential purpose at the time was rastafari.
Reggae, was the PERFECT medium for a message based in bible,politics..and cultural awareness
A perfect storm.
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Re: Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby lankou » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:58 pm

Of course, it could! Most of the early years of reggae had a minor element of rasta in it an there was so much creativity going on (which went unnoticed by many, but that's another debate)!
Later, a lot of artists jumped on the rasta bandwagon too, and didn't really practise what they preached. Almost everyone was a rasta on the surface and those who didn't conform sometimes faded into oblivion.
Nowadays, a good number of the best roots reggae music (mostly from outside JA) isn't even recorded by people who are rasta people (some sympathize with the cause, though, not to forget that you can get along fine and reason with rasta people even though you are not necessarily one of them). I got into reggae during years when white people understood that rasta was purely a black thing. That's the way i still see things and forever will. Some beg to differ and i won't try to deter them from thinking so. You don't have to embrace things 100 % to share common grounds. Reggae can survive without rasta as a lot of artists who recorded "reality" anthems back in the 80's and 90's were not even rasta,which didn't prevent them for releasing exciting tunes. There are also artists who are rasta but hold it for themselves: they lead that life pure and simple and don't have to shout it out loud abou their faith everywhere. Not everyone goes for proselytizing. There are also artists who never cease to churn ou the same formulaic rasta rethorics, which don't do much for the cause in the end (clichés?). As long as reggae is entertaining and "conscious" and provides nice examples to the youth, is there really more to ask?
On the other hand, rasta could survive without reggae too and there are bonafide rastas who don't go for it, some even ban it from their communities.
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Re: Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby Mark T » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:00 pm

I'm in the 'of course it could' camp. There were number 1 reggae hits in England before the large Rastafarian and undeniable influence. I prefer music from the roots era but reggae got along perfectly well before it and I agree that many of the cliches, even as represented in the article are not all that helpful or enlightening.
I think Informer's question is more to the point and without the cool, reggae vehicle Rastafarianism would struggled to have taken hold anywhere outside a small island cult.
But I'm certainly open to being persuaded otherwise.
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Re: Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby lankou » Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:36 am

Back in the 70's, outside JA and the UK, it's really the dreadlocks which had the biggest impact on foreign people who were not in the known.
I remember being struck the first time i ever saw a dreadlocked person on a photo - just the same as the first time i ever saw punk rockers in their classic attire. Mix that image with the mysticism and you had the right blend to attract young unsuspecting youngsters and older post-hippies alike (including a number of trendy journos who couldn't help putting down the later branches of reggae, the same way as they put down the later branches of the punk tree), simple as that! Most people never got too deep into rasta rethorics beyond the visual aspect and the ganga thing, really. Has it really changed that much? It's just that the element of surprise faded away a long time ago.
Last edited by lankou on Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby KingSimeonSound » Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:50 am

Very good post lankou, well put.

More complex issues of identity play a role, (more about a persons own idea of who they are/how others perceive them) but I think you've hit it pretty accurately in your observation.

As an extra note, check the interview in Deep Roots Music where Bunny Lee talks about the music and Rasta... with J. Clarke and Delroy Wilson sitting with him, an interesting interview closer to the times.
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Re: Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby capullo » Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:22 pm

yes, good arguments. this makes me think of king tubby's. tubbs was no rasta at all (as far as i know). would reggae be the same without tubby's? of course not but the music surely would have survived. yabby you wasn't rasta either - not in its commonly known sense. but yabby you was probably more rasta than many others calling themselves "rasta"
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Re: Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby steve rice » Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:25 pm

The question should be would Rastafari have survived or at least become so popular without reggae...
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Re: Could Reggae Survive Without Rastafari

Postby lankou » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:06 pm

I think everyone knows the answer! :wink:
It would have survived, though.
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