reggae, Jamaican popular music that developed in the 1960s among Kingston's poor blacks, drawing on American "soul" music and traditional African and Jamaican folk music and ska (a Jamaican and British dance-hall music). Many of its highly political songs proclaim the tenets of the Rastafarian religious movement. Instrumentation usually includes an ensemble of organ, piano, drums, and electric guitars, led by an electric bass played at high volume. Springy, offbeat rhythm characterizes its sound. It is popular internationally and has influenced African music. Bob Marley and his group, the Wailers, and Toots and the Maytals are among the best-known performers.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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