October 1, 2008

We Jammin’ With the Masters


What: Reggae: The Story of Jamaican Music: Part 1

Where: Documentary Channel

When: 8.30pm, Saturday


REGGAE music has conquered the world and rocked successive generations. Jamaican music was, and is, a truly urban folk music -- unlicensed, uncopyrighted, uncensored and, to this day, untamed.

The Story of Jamaican Music bears witness to the durability of the reggae movement over the past 40 years, tracking the constant human and cultural traffic between Kingston, London and the United States.

Lloyd Bradley highlights the social and political history of a newly independent Jamaican people and their displaced brothers and sisters in Britain and America, through the expression of its greatest art form, reggae music.

Through newly recorded interviews, Bradley tells the stories of the major figures in the development of reggae, from Prince Buster and Coxsone Dodd, through to more recent stars like Sly, Robbie and Shabba Ranks.

He also pays tribute to the producers, deejays and fans, revealing that above all, it is the indomitable Jamaican spirit that has driven the development of the music, from ska to reggae and the dancehall music of today.

The opening episode, Forward March, looks at the newly independent Jamaica where ska was born at downtown sound systems -- the first modern Jamaican style.

This was the music and the dance that exuberantly celebrated the birth of a new nation of "Israelites". By the time it crossed to Britain and later to America, it was reggae, a bone fide pop style. This was reggae's first golden age, celebrating what it meant to be "young, gifted and black".

As a music made by the people, for the people, reggae became the voice of Jamaica's dispossessed, a situation that would produce the island's biggest superstar and the music's greatest ambassador -- Bob Marley.

The documentary also features artists such as Big Youth, Sugar Minott, Bob Marley, Max Romeo, Bunny Lee, Prince Jammy and many more.


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