Preface

From North America to mother Africa, a new sound can be heard from the Caribbean haunting the places where Black people get together for music and dancing. From the prestigious Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan on the Ivory Coast to the secluded Meridian Hotel built by Kwame Nkrumah in the seaside city of Tema in Ghana, wherever the reggae is heard, its lighthearted mysterious sound always evokes an emotional reaction. Beginning with a slow, undulating, hesitant beat, the music of reggae assaults the primitive brain stem where emotions originate. Before the brain can decipher the new beat, the driving Trench Town music captures and transports the listener. The effect of reggae is magic; it is Africa, Jamaica, soul, nature, sorrow, hate, and love all mingled together. It sprang from the hearts of Africa's children in "Babylon"--Jamaica. It is liminal music that sings of oppression in exile, a longing for home, or for a place to feel at home.

Reggae, like its earlier counterpart calypso, quickly became a medium of social commentary as part of the African cultural tradition transported to the Caribbean by the slaves. It still serves as a social safety valve through which oppressed peoples express their discontent. Like the music of Africa, the reggae is for dancing, but the lyrics elicit a variety

-vii-

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The Rastafarians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Paradise Island 1
  • 2 - Domination and Resistance in Jamaican History 29
  • 3 - Ethiopianism in Jamaica 68
  • 4 - Beliefs, Rituals, and Symbols 103
  • 5 - An Ambivalent Routinization 146
  • 6 - Dissonance and Consonance 167
  • 7 - After Selassie: The Rastafarians Since 1975 210
  • 8 - Where Go the Rastafarians? 248
  • Afterword 267
  • Appendix 271
  • Notes 281
  • Bibliography 295
  • Index 299
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