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JAM | Jun 28, 2023

International Reggae Day to salute Jamaica’s dancehall genre

/ Our Today

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Pre-pandemic file photo of scenes from a dancehall party in inner-city Kingston.

Jamaica’s dancehall rhythm gets a day this Saturday July 1 when International Reggae Day salutes the evolutionary spin-off music that influenced a global audience through the 1980s and 90s.

On this day, fans of the genre from Kingston to the United Kingdom, Brazil, Kenya, Serbia, Harare, Zimbabwe to New Zealand will connect via virtual broadcasts, films, music, concerts with a myriad salutary tributes.

Caribbeanlife.com reports that the tributes will be spearheaded and endorsed by ireggaeday.com. Conceptualised by Andrea Davis, founder and producer of IRD, the 24-hour trailblazing event began in 1994 to purposely celebrate “the best of Jamaica’s musical creativity and unite the reggae community around the world.”

“From Bruckins To Bogle”

This year’s theme ‘From Bruckins To Bogle‘ accentuates the progression dance advanced using music. Brukins – defines a ‘thrust and recovery’ dance movement popularised on the island.

While daggering and religious cult-associated, kumina and pocomania preceded as prevalent forms, the ingenious talents of choreographer/dancer, Gerald Levy aka Bogle won wide appeal during revelry of the dancehall era.

Bogle died in 2005 but the legacy he left transcended the nickname he inherited from a moniker in honor of a national hero named Paul Bogle. His game changing movements heavily influenced the masses the way Michael Jackson’s moonwalk fascinated professionals and novices to imitate and improvise.

(Photo: Facebook @InternationalReggaeDay)

Similarly, dancehall rhythms permeated the beats of hip-hop recordings in the US; Afrobeats on the African continent, reggaeton throughout Latin America and electronic dance music all across Europe. In previous years, Davis has hailed the island’s rocksteady and ska beats but dancehall will get its day this Saturday.

Dancehall influence

Grounded by its rhythm-heavy beats, dancehall is a subgenre of reggae music and the popular music played in clubs, parties and dancehalls. Dancehall music impacted a generation causing an eruption of cultural conversions in media, art, fashion, vernacular, dance, clubs, travel and a generation of loyalists to the genre.

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