February was officially declared as Reggae Month by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Sir Kenneth Hall, at a ceremony held on (Jan. 24) at King’s House.
Sir Kenneth read the formal proclamation, which will also provide for the annual celebration of the music genre, for which Jamaica is known around the world.
Several dignitaries headed by Prime Minister, Bruce Golding and key stakeholders in the local music industry, participated in the historic launch, which followed Mr. Golding’s announcement, on January 9, of Government’s decision to declare February as Reggae Month annually.
In a brief address, the Prime Minister noted that the music has served to clearly and definitively distinguish Jamaica from the rest of the world, adding that Jamaicans could be proud of the fact that Reggae is what has given the country global recognition.
In paying tribute to the music’s pioneers, the Prime Minister noted that “none has captured, explored, and expanded the music’s potential more than Bob Marley. There’s no country in the world that you go (to) where Bob Marley is not known and recognized. Bob Marley is Jamaican music.he personifies, (and) he symbolizes Jamaican music.”
According to the Prime Minister, the music genre had evolved over the years through many stages and varying influences.
“Our music was influenced by our own indigenous mento but it (also) absorbed jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and it fashioned all of that into a musical expression that I don’t think has been done in any other music form in any other part of the world. It is Reggae that is (now) influencing other music (genres),” Mr. Golding pointed out.
Stating that much of Reggae music is a profound commentary on life, he said that, “it has become a powerful medium to carry a message, not only in Jamaica, but all over the world. I’m not sure that we understand its power and how it can be used as a transformational tool, not just to transform our own country that needs transformation in so many ways, but to change the culture of the world and the way in which people relate to and treat each other.”
While noting that this year’s celebration would serve as a “learning curve”, the Prime Minister said that the aim was to make the annual celebration an international event.
“We want it to be an international event. We want to advertise it all over the world. I want the (Jamaica) Tourist Board to get involved and promote it, I want Jamaica Trade and Invest to recognize it as an area for investment. I want us to really come together and say to the world ‘we dey ya and we ain’t going nowhere’, because Reggae music is here to stay”.
The occasion also saw the unveiling of the Reggae Month logo, which depicts the pioneers of the music.