Tag Archives: Reggae

Reggae as Intangible Cultural Heritage


Each year UNESCO adds to its list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and Jamaica submitted reggae for consideration in 2018. The genre was approved in late November of that year, joining a list of over 300 cultural traditions.

In its statement, UNESCO noted that reggae’s “contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love, and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, sociopolitical, sensual, and spiritual.”

The statement continued: “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.”

This according to “Reggae added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list” by Jon Blistein (Rolling stone 29 November 2018). Above, Bob Marley in 1980; below, a short film issued by UNESCO in connection with the announcement.

Related article: Bob Marley’s œuvre

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Bob Marley’s œuvre

Throughout Bob Marley’s life, and perhaps even more since his death at the age of 36, his music has demonstrated a unique ability to combine with almost any cultural setting, no matter how different the elements might at first appear. Through his adaptable yet enduring musical messages, he represents an especially articulate type of singer-songwriter.

Marley released a large quantity of introspective, autobiographical material at the height of his success, providing a deep understanding of who he was and what he hoped to achieve through his life and music. Salient themes include protest, revolution, love, hate, biblical concepts, and Rastafari culture.

This according to The words and music of Bob Marley by David Vlado Moskowitz (Westport: Praeger, 2007).

Today would have been Marley’s 70th birthday! Above, a photo by Ueli Frey from 1980, a year before Marley’s death; below, performing with The Wailers the same year.

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Filed under Performers, Popular music