PORT LOUIS: Reggae music, whose calm, lilting grooves found international fame thanks to artists like Bob Marley, on Thursday won a spot on the United Nations’ list of global cultural treasures.
UNESCO, the world body’s cultural and scientific agency, added the genre that originated in Jamaica to its collection of “intangible cultural heritage” deemed worthy of protection and promotion.
Reggae music’s “contribution to the 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,” UNESCO said.
The musical style joined a list of cultural traditions that include the horsemanship of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, a Mongolian camel-coaxing ritual and Czech puppetry, and more than 300 other traditional practices that range from boat-building, pilgrimages, and cooking.
Reggae emerged in the late 1960s out of Jamaica’s ska and rocksteady genres, also drawing influence from American jazz and blues.
The style quickly became popular in the United States as well as in Britain, where many Jamaican immigrants had moved in the post-WWII years.
It was often championed as a music of the oppressed, with lyrics addressing sociopolitical issues, imprisonment, and inequality.
Reggae also became associated with Rastafarianism, which deified the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie and promoted the sacramental use of ganja, or marijuana.
The 1968 single “Do the Reggay” by Toots and the Maytals was the first popular song to use the name, and Marley and his group the Wailers produced classic hits such as “No Woman, No Cry” and “Stir It Up.”
Jamaica applied for reggae’s inclusion on the list this year at a meeting of the UN agency on the island of Mauritius, where 40 proposals were under consideration.
“Reggae is uniquely Jamaican,” said Olivia Grange, the Caribbean island nation’s culture minister, before the vote.
“It is a music that we have created that has penetrated all corners of the world.”
Country star Kacey wins Grammy
LOS ANGELES: Kacey Musgraves, one of country music’s most critically praised artists, took home the Grammy for Album of the Year Sunday, an upset win for a genre-bending musician who infused “Golden Hour” with elements of psychedelia.
The Nashville-based musician’s third studio album beat out a crowded field of heavyweights including rappers Kendrick Lamar and Drake. She also bested fellow female artists including Cardi B, Janelle Monae, and Brandi Carlile to snare the coveted prize, in a year that saw women recognized across the top categories, after largely being snubbed in 2018. “It was unbelievable to be even in a category with such gigantic albums, really brilliant works of art,” Musgraves told the audience at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Musgraves won four Grammys in all; the others were for Best Country Solo Performance, Best Country Song and Best Country Album.
She took the country world by storm in 2013 with her banjo-heavy hit “Merry Go ‘Round” – winning a Grammy for Best Country Song in 2014 and scoring a nomination for the coveted Best New Artist prize. She won a second Grammy for Best Country Album that same year. She is considered an innovator in the historically conservative world of country music. Rolling Stone Magazine has dubbed her “one of the loudest symbols of young country musicians embracing progressive values.” The 30-year-old has said several of the songs on “Golden Hour” came out of a summertime LSD trip, and the project infuses elements of disco and also uses a vocoder – a machine that manipulates vocal signals with synthesizer signals to create a machine-like effect favored by electronic and pop musicians.
Vocalist Mehnaz remembered
ISLAMABAD: Sixth death anniversary of the renowned and legendary singer was observed today.
Mehnaz Begum, the distinguished singer of Pakistan, had died on 19th January 2013 at the age of 55. She was on way to the United States when her condition deteriorated in Bahrain where she breathed her last at a hospital.
The master of classical genres like ‘ghazal’, ‘thumri’ and ‘dadra’ was born in 1958. Mehnaz began her career as a playback singer in the early ’70s. Her mellifluous voice and control over the sur instantly made her popular among music composers and film audiences. She sang for a number of films a majority of which became popular.
The talented singer sang many hit and evergreen chartbusters like Mujhe Dil Se Na Bhulana from film ‘Aina’, Kyun Roi Shehnai from ‘Haider Ali’ and Do Piyase Dil Ek Huay from ‘Bandish’.
Surrayya Bhopali was among the first films that Mehnaz sang for and Zeba Bakhtiar’s Babu was her last film as a playback singer.
Lok Virsa to launch Lok Baithak on 9th Jan
ISLAMABAD: National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, Lok Virsa has announced to start a new fortnightly series of folklore and folk music called “Lok Baithak” here from 9th of January.
With the advent of new year, “Lok Baithak” Program has been presented by Research and Media section of Lok Virsa. The first program will take place on Wednesday and that will be arranged on alternate Wednesdays.
The main purpose behind “Lok Baithak” is to revive the informal settings of the traditional and rural communities. These Lok Baithaks were multifaceted and used to serve the multiple purposes of associationalism, camaraderie, entertainment, social cohesion, knowledge sharing, the creation of disciplinarian and organizational spirit, and above all hub of promotion of art and culture in the general communities.
“Lok Baithak” at Lok Virsa would be run while being true to the mandate of Lok Virsa i.e. the promotion of folk and traditional heritage of Pakistan. This program would be open to the people of all age groups and to all ethnicities, in the style that they themselves would be the speakers and listeners with Lok Virsa as regulator and facilitator only. Agenda of the next Baithak sittings would also be set in the general meetings of the Baithaks making people feel this as their very own program.
“Our audience is encouraged and allowed to bring their musical instruments and crafts that they specialize in. They would be mobilized to share the values, knowledge, wisdom, stories, songs, tales, fables, epics, jokes, traditional games, riddles etc. Overall everything falling within the domain of folklore of their respective regions. Singers and musicians among them would sing and play music. Lok Virsa would make its contribution through inviting a folk/ semi-classical / classical singer or through musical performance. We would also invite traditional treasurers (gunny, sughars people etc.) who have a lot to share about the folk and traditional heritage of their respective regions”, said the organizers.
The star artist of first “Lok Baithak” would be Muhammad Ali a renowned ghazal, semi-classical and folk singer. He learned music from Ustad Mehdi Hassan, Ustad Shokat Manzoor, and Ustad Allah Rakha. Among accompanist, Ustad Nizakat Ali Khan on harmonium and Ustad Amanat Ali Khan on tabla will show their skills.