JAMAICA (CelebrityAccess) – Reggae has been added to a list of international cultural treasures protected by the United Nations.
Announcing the decision, Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) said the music’s “contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual”.
It added: “The basic social functions of the music – as a vehicle for social commentary, a cathartic practice, and a means of praising God – have not changed, and the music continues to act as a voice for all.”
Reggae rose to prominence in Jamaica during the 1960s thanks to artists like Toots and the Maytals, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Lee Scratch Perry and Prince Buster among others.
Jamaica applied for reggae’s inclusion on the list this year at a meeting of the UN agency on the island of Mauritius.
The protected list, which began in 2008, grew out of the UN’s convention for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in 2003 and is aimed at ensuring respect for communities, groups and individuals involved in the listed activity, to raise awareness and encourage appreciation of those activities nationally and internationally.
Other cultural traditions which made this year’s list included a Spanish riding school in Vienna, a Mongolian camel-coaxing ritual and Egyptian puppetry.