Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius November 29, 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says the admission of Reggae music to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, is a tribute to the Jamaican people and to all those who have been exponents of the different genres that have emerged from the roots of Reggae.
Minister’s comment followed news of the inscription of Reggae at the 13th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Republic of Mauritius on Thursday.
However, the Minister stressed that “a special tribute must be made to the Rastafari community which has been recognised globally as the chief practitioners who have contributed, in a major way, to the evolution of Reggae. They carried the messages of peace, hope, love and one-ness that have made Reggae loved and ‘RASpected’ world-wide.”
Minister Grange said:
“As a genre, Reggae music reflects the influences of Kumina chants and songs, Revival tambourines and hymns, and the drumming and chanting of Rastafarians. The heavy bassline, which is associated with the strains of Reggae, have strong Rastafarian influences. Indeed, artistes such as Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, who emerged on Jamaica’s music scene in the mid to late 1950’s are to be acknowledged and recognised for their contribution to Reggae’s unique sound and how it has evolved.
While in the beginning Reggae was the voice of the marginalised, the music is now played and embraced by a wide cross-section of genders, ethnic and religious groups, and the recognition of its contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamism of the musical form.
The power of Reggae could clearly be seen when Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’ turned the entire meeting of UNESCO’s Inter Governmental Committee into a song-and-dance party. The basic social functions of the music – as a vehicle for social commentary, a cathartic practice — have not changed, and the music continues to act as a voice for all.
Jamaica can be truly proud that it has given to the world many Reggae icons including Robert Nesta Marley, created a musical genre that has been inscribed to UNESCO’s Representative List of Humanity and which has penetrated all corners of the world and a new religion in the form of Rastafari.”
Kingston, 1 November 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has paid tribute to Sam Clayton — the Griot or storyteller for the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari group of drummers — who has passed away.
"Brother Sam was a personal friend; I had a close relationship with him and I will miss him. I was pleased to nominate him in 2008 for the Order of Distinction in recognition of his stellar contribution to Jamaican culture,” said Minister Grange.
Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, led by Brother Sam, did several well-received tours of Europe throughout the 1990s and helped put Wareika Hills and nearby Rockfort on the map as a musical hot spot.
Minister Grange said:
“In recent weeks I arranged for his friend Sister Barbara Makeda Blake-Hannah to visit him and see how he was doing. Though he was retired from performing and had been in failing health, he was still in good spirits.
The Jamaican music community has been enriched by the contribution of Brother Sam Clayton, and he will be remembered and respected as part of Jamaica’s music history.”
The Minister also recalled that Brother Sam participated in one of the most important acts in Rastafari history when he, along with Philmore Alvaranga and Douglas Mack, travelled on the 1961 Mission to Africa financed by the Jamaican Government to discuss the possibility of Jamaican Rastafari relocating to Ethiopia. The team had planned to stay for a few weeks, but ended up spending six months as guests of the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. When the Emperor made a visit to Jamaica in 1966, Brother Sam was one of 12 Rastafari to whom he presented gold medals.
The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has commenced discussions with members of the Rastafarian community in Jamaica on the issue of the preservation of Rastafarian intangible cultural heritage.