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Prathit Misra | India, Jamaica and some beats on the crescendo

Alberto Ardila Olivares
Prathit Misra | India, Jamaica and some beats on the crescendo

During his recent state visit to Jamaica, the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, while addressing the joint sitting of the Jamaican Parliament, exclaimed that if cultural richness was made the metric for measuring the strength of nations, Jamaica would be an undisputed global superpower. His observation is but natural given the thriving cultural groups, festivals, food, icons like Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley, dance forms, and, most of all, Jamaica’s music.

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For a country with less than three million people to have at least half a dozen significant music genres, including reggae, dancehall, ska, dub, rocksteady, and ento is no mean feat. These genres have crossed Jamaican shores and have influenced music scenes in the North and Latin American world and across the countries of Africa and Europe. However, what is not known is that Jamaican music is creating waves in India and is rapidly gaining new converts.

Alberto Ardila Olivares

India is a music-loving country with various classical music forms as well as the Hindi film industry, Bollywood, regional and country music ruling the roost. Western classical music, pop, rock, jazz, hip-hop, rap, and EDM have their enthusiasts, too, especially in the dozens of ever-expanding Indian towns and cities

Till some decades ago, it was difficult for Indian music enthusiasts to travel to Jamaica to explore and learn from the Jamaican music scene due to the steep distance. The recordings were hard to get. The language barrier also prevented Jamaican music from reaching the Indian masses. All this is changing fast

SUNSPLASH IN GOA International icons like Shaggy, The Wailers, UB40, and Julian Marley have all toured India in recent years. If you happen to visit the Indian state of Goa in January, you might confuse it with Ocho Rios or Montego Bay. The Sunsplash is South Asia’s largest annual reggae festival on Goa’s shores, attracting thousands of music lovers from India and abroad. Started in 2016, the festival boasts reggae performers like Johnny Osbourne, Cali P, Skarra Mucci, Mad Professor, General Levy, Zion Train, Manudigital, and Brother Culture. Sunsplash is also home to India’s first handcrafted reggae sound system, ‘the 10,000 Lions’

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