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Jamaica

Ska: the pulse that doesn't die; Reggae: evolution of a rebel music

Foundation Ska
The Skatalites
Heartbeat/Rounder through Festival

Review by Norm Dixon

March 25, 1998 -- Green Left Weekly -- Viewers of late night music television will have noticed a revival of the unmistakable "ba-ba-ba" ska pulse in some of the clips emanating from the US. Punk/thrash bands like Rancid and No Doubt, as well as longer established new-wave ska outfits like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the Toasters, are leading what is dubbed the "ska-core" or "third wave ska" movement.

This revival is simply the latest example of how western pop music repeatedly rejuvenates itself (via often circuitous and complex paths) from the music of the African diaspora.

Ska appeared in Jamaica around the time of independence in 1962. It reflected the pride and assertiveness of the Jamaican people as they threw off the shackles of formal British rule. Ska was Jamaica's first indigenous popular music, and its influence has spread far and wide.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Jamaican musicians made their living playing in "society bands" — big bands which played very restrained swing music for the colonial upper crust and their local imitators in swank hotels and nightclubs. Poor Jamaicans, in the countryside and the ghettos, played and listened to traditional, African-derived mento music.

Jamaicans seek change, elect opposition PNP

Jamaica's first female prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller.

By Barry Weisleder, Montego Bay, Jamaica

January 6, 2012 -- Socialist Action (Canada), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Car horns blared, orange flags waved and campaign reggae jingles pulsated. Youthful political celebrants blew vuvuzelas from roving car caravans on the evening of December 29, 2011, continuing well past sunrise, across the Caribbean island nation of Jamaica.

A snap election called by the governing Jamaica Labour Party catapulted the opposition People's National Party into government after a five-year hiatus. In terms of seats in the House of Representatives, it was a landslide, 41-22 for the PNP. In terms of votes, it was a 3 per cent shift from the very close 2007 results. This time the PNP won 53 per cent, the JLP 47 per cent. Political pundits were equally surprised by the relatively large margin of victory, and by the record low 52 per cent turnout.

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