Dance the Reggae, Reggay, Rege?

During my recent visit to Kingston, I conducted some research at the National Library of Jamaica with my good friend and colleague Roberto Moore who has an excellent knowledge of the holdings there at the library. He introduced me to the rare books room where we went through a few bound collections of Swing Magazine from 1968, and therein we found the following articles and photo spreads on the reggae as a “dance craze.” The dance is done with “hunched shoulders, hands almost still, feet in a step by step trance, and a whole lot forward jerking of the torso and knees.” The article cites Studio One as ground zero for reggae music as Jackie Mittoo’s rocksteady keyboard blends with the “congo and bongo” drums of Afro-Cuba. The article below traces the evolution of reggae from ska and rocksteady, from Clu J, to Prince Buster and Derrick Morgan, to the World’s Fair, to Hopeton Lewis and Carlos Malcolm. Enjoy and kick up your heels this weekend!

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