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UNESCO inscribes Jamaica’s reggae music on heritage list

Jamaican musician Stephen Marley, son of late reggae legend Bob Marley, performs during his concert on the open air stage of Zold Pardon in Budapest, Hungary, May 31, 2012. EPA-EFE FILE/BEA KALLOS

Jamaican musician Stephen Marley, son of late reggae legend Bob Marley, performs during his concert on the open air stage of Zold Pardon in Budapest, Hungary, May 31, 2012. EPA-EFE FILE/BEA KALLOS

EFE

Jamaican Reggae music has been allocated a spot as one of the United Nations ' global cultural treasures, the organization said Thursday.

UNESCO, the UN’s cultural heritage organization, made the announcement at a meeting in Mauritius.

"(Reggae music’s) contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual,” UNESCO said in a statement.

“The basic social functions of the music - as a vehicle for social commentary, a cathartic practice, and a means of praising God - have not changed, and the music continues to act as a voice for all,” the statement added.

UNESCO said Reggae music in Jamaica is a jambalaya of earlier Jamaican/West African music influences as well as other music strands from the Caribbean, North American and Latin America.

“In time,” UNESCO said, “Neo-African styles, soul and rhythm and blues from North America were incorporated into the element, gradually transforming Ska into Rock Steady and then into Reggae.”


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