A quick look into reggae’s past shows just how many branches make up its family tree.
Like many genres in popular music, the roots of Jamaican reggae reach back much further than the 20th century. Yet when the pieces began falling into place, its evolution happened quickly, over the span of 30 years or so. Jamaican folk genres of mento, ska, and rocksteady were all important influences on the development of reggae. Listen to some examples below and see if you can hear how the sound progressed.
Lord Messam – “Take Her to Jamaica”
Keith & Ken with Byron Lee & the Dragonaires – “Jamaica Ska”
The Clarendonians – “I Am Sorry”
Bob Marley and the Wailers – “Three Little Birds”