UN Officially Adds Reggae Music To Its List Of Global Cultural Treasure Worth Protecting
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added reggae music to its list of cultural institutions worthy of protection and preservation.
Each year, UNESCO adds to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and Jamaica submitted reggae for consideration earlier this year.
While reggae music has been popularized around the world by artists such as Bob Marley and the Wailers, and sampled by musicians like Kanye West and Jay Z, its inclusion on UNESCO’s list is about showcasing and preserving its distinctly Jamaican history.
The genre now joins a list of over 300 cultural traditions, including numerous musical ones such as Dominican merengue, Slovakian bagpipe music and Vietnamese xoan singing.
— UNESCO (@UNESCO) November 29, 2018
Confirming the addition of Reggae music in a statement issued on its website, UNESCO said:
“Its 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. 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 music is one of the more high-profile 2018 additions to Unesco’s list. Other newly honored practices from around the world include traditional hand puppetry from Egypt, the love ballad form of music called Dondang Sayang from Malaysia, and Tamboradas drum-playing rituals from Spain.
You can find the full list of over 300 Unesco cultural traditions here.