MUSIC AND CULTURE
Music has single-handedly grown the global awareness about this tiny nation in ways we can’t even begin to quantify: reggae and its many derivative forms (dancehall, ragga, dub and even drum and bass) have spread to every corner of the globe and in recent years had a huge influence on the sound of Western pop music.
From afar, it seems crazy that the music of this tiny place has had such an impact. However, when you go to Jamaica and see how intrinsic part of everyday life music is, how much people truly love listening to their reggae, and how proud they are of the music, it begins to make sense.
The Bob Marley Museum is high on the must-see list of attractions in Jamaica. It’s located inside Marley’s former residence at 56 Hope Road, Kingston 6, and was home to Tuff Gong Records. There was no photos allowed inside unfortunately but the tour is very informative and gives visitors a chance to learn more about Marley’s incredible life. The house even has a replica of the Wail’n Soul’m Tuff Gong Record Shop, which was the record shop in Trenchtown owned by Bob Marley and the Wailers, complete with the sign and a piece of the aluminum siding from the original shack.
Statue of Bob Marley outside the Marley Museum in Kingston. No photos inside unfortunately.
Of course one of the highlights of the trip was attending Bacchanal, which is sometimes called Carnival. The annual celebration falls in line with Easter each year and is a true representation of raw Caribbean flavour and the incredible energy and celebration of music you won’t find anywhere else. The world-famous Carnival of Trinidad is very influential on Jamaica’s Bacchanal and there were a lot of Trini folks in attendance. We had the opportunity to join in the street dance and parade which was an experience like no other.
The costumes were the stars of this show; the beauty and intricacy of them was quite remarkable. The colours and designs are really something, and all different types of people—old, young, big, small—wear them with a confidence that is inspiring and something we don’t witness much in North America.
The atmosphere at this event is something that can’t really be described in words. The gorgeous costumes, free-flowing booze and of course incredible music are everywhere as thousands of people join together to march, dance and celebrate. If planning a trip to Jamaica, it’s definitely worth it to try and be there for Bacchanal, a vibrant and one-of-a-kind experience of some authentic Caribbean culture.