Where did Reggae come from?

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According to the Dictionary of Jamaican English, the word Reggae means “a recently established spelling for rege“, as in rege-rege, a word that can mean either “rags, ragged clothing” or “a quarrel, a row”. However, this is not the only definition. Other reputable sources contend that Reggae has roots in the Patois (Jamaican creole) word for loose woman, Streggae, or in the Latin word for King, Regi.

Looking no further than the word ‘reggae’ it can easily be seen that it is neither ethnically Jamaican nor distinctly African or European. In that case, what is it?

Rhythms

A deeper look can turn to the musical background. Though most reggae bands have historically used western instruments such as guitars, keyboards, and horns, the backbone of any Reggae song lies in the dominant bass and drums- a style originating in the ancient African heritage of the Jamaican people. This can be most easily be identified by turning to the style that many say was Reggae’s most immediate predecessor- the sound of Carnival- Calypso.

For a deeper look into Reggae history: click here