Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Aloun Ndombet Assamba, speaks at the London launch of the book ‘Global Reggae’ edited by University of the West Indies (UWI) professor, Dr Carolyn Cooper (seated 2nd right)
LONDON, England -- Jamaica’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, says that the musicians, singers and all those involved in reggae music should take the business aspect of the industry seriously.
Speaking at the recent London launch of the book ‘Global Reggae,’ edited by University of the West Indies (UWI) professor, Dr Carolyn Cooper, the high commissioner said she is concerned that the business of reggae music is not being taken seriously in Jamaica. She said the book clearly shows that the music is being taken seriously all over the world.
“My concern is that Jamaicans need to find a way to make money out of reggae. We need to make sure that for music that is created in Jamaica, by Jamaicans that everything is copyrighted and that it is operated as a business. Our musicians, our artistes, the people who develop the reggae, really ought to be the ones making money out of the reggae. That is not always so. I hope our performers, and our producers, will stop behaving as if they’re just doing a ‘ting,’” she stated.
‘Global Reggae’ is published by UWI Press and features the plenary sessions from the inaugural Global Reggae Conference in 2008. Contributors to the text include Erna Brodber, Peter Ashbourne, Roger Steffens, Clive Walker and Dr Cooper.
High commissioner said the book shows us that reggae is not just “a little ting.”
Cooper, in a question and answer session, outlined the journey to ‘Global Reggae’, which started with a lecture at the Jamaica Conference Centre, the development of the Reggae Studies Unit and the Global Reggae Conference. She said that when the event was first suggested many believed a very substantial conference was not feasible.
The 14 lectures, which comprise the book, were given during the conference by keynote speakers from all over the world, who were invited to share how Jamaican reggae has been appropriated and adapted in a variety of cultural contexts across the globe.
Renowned poet and musician, Linton Kwesi Johnson, who participated in the session, said that ‘Global Reggae’ is an important book.
He noted that the lectures contained in the publication, “exemplify the length and breadth of current scholarship of Jamaican popular music. It makes an important contribution to the inter-disciplinary study of popular culture, and the first ever of the reggae movement.”
Johnson also acknowledged the role that the Diaspora plays in bringing the music to a wider audience.
“Yes, Jamaican popular music has had a phenomenal impact on popular global culture, but what we sometimes forget is that it was the post-World War II settlement of the Jamaican Diaspora in Britain that made the globalisation possible,” he noted.