Come Ketch Di Riddim as Jamaica's Reggae Month Goes Virtual
Reggae Month, an annual event held in February, is now in its 14th year. February is a landmark month as it is the birth month of Bob Marley and Dennis Brown, well-known reggae singers world-wide. This year, Reggae Month will be held virtually with the theme, “Come Ketch di Riddim,” referring to the infectious beat of reggae music. Reggae Month also features various genres of Jamaican Music such as: Ska, Dub, Gospel, mento, classical, folk and rockers. Training opportunities and master classes in publishing and copyrighting will be a feature of this year’s Reggae Month celebrations. These classes will present an opportunity for creatives world-wide to interact.
Reggae Month was first held in February 2008, led by the Ministry of Culture in association with the Jamaican Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA). Reggae Month highlights Jamaica’s musical heritage on the country’s social, cultural, and economic development. Reggae music has affected life in Jamaica. It has also created an understanding of Jamaican lifestyle and culture for the rest of the world. A form of music for the masses in which their word can be heard and spoken. It is a way to celebrate their nationalism and life.
February is also Black History Month and both Bob Marley and Dennis Brown were born in February. Dennis Brown, also known as the ‘Crown Prince of Reggae’, was born on February 1, while Robert Nesta ‘Bob’ Marley, the renowned ‘King of Reggae’, was born on February 6. The annual celebration has been a huge success, attracting on average 40,000 attendees each year. The goal of Reggae Month is to draw international acclaim for Jamaica as the reggae mecca of the world; enhance travel and tourism; and provide an educational platform of entertainment for all ages.
REGGAE MONTH FACTS
February is Reggae Month in Jamaica and as we celebrate 14 years of this annual event in 2021, here are some facts about Reggae Month:
1. The first ever celebration of Reggae Month took place in 2007 on the grounds of the Edna Manley College of Visual Arts for 3 years
2. Reggae Month was officially declared by Sir Kenneth Hall, former Governor General of Jamaica, on January 24, 2008 and is produced by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) in partnership with the Jamaica Tourist Board and the CHASE Fund
3. Reggae Month events include concerts, poetry readings, festivals, award shows, book launches and lectures.
4. Reggae Month features various genres of Jamaican Music including Ska, Dub, Gospel, mento, classical, folk and rockers
5. Every year Reggae Month is celebrated under a different theme. The theme of 2021 is “Come Ketch De Rhythm Virtually.”
COME KETCH DI RIDDIM
Dates: January 31, 2021 - February 28, 2021
Bob Marley Museum
56 Hope Road, Kingston 6, Jamaica
“Come Ketch di Riddim,” was launched on Sunday, January 10, and of course virtually. Reggae Month 2021, which is a product of a partnership between the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports and the Ministry of Tourism, will also see its full slate of activities being held virtually, in keeping with the national social distancing protocols caused by the COVID -19 Pandemic.
The Month presents an opportunity to further increase the skills of Jamaica’s technical creatives through virtual workshops in areas such as sound engineering, writing and stage management. Training opportunities and master classes in publishing and copyrighting for songwriters, musicians and artistes will be a feature of this year’s Reggae Month celebrations. This will present an opportunity for creatives world-wide to interact as Reggae is among the world’s most vibrant brands.
The producers of Reggae Month 2021 are determined to stage a virtual event that is comparable to the live event, but they aware of the associated costs. Virtual, if it is to be done properly, will require more production elements and, therefore, could be more costly. The producers, however, are working to ensure that the partnerships already established assist in keeping the costs within previous limits.
In previous years, there were reggae concerts in Kingston and Montego Bay. Signature events such as Reggae Wednesdays, Dennis Brown Floral Tribute, Bob Marley’s 75th Birthday celebrations, Reggae Gospel, and the Children of the Icons and Emerging Artistes concerts. Jamaica Music Museum’s Grounation Series, held at the Institute of Jamaica; the Jamaica exhibition, hosted by the National Gallery of Jamaica; and the Prime Minister’s Reggae Month Reception on the lawns of Jamaica House were among the highlights of Reggae Month 2020.
Some events are under the purview of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports while JaRIA has control over the staging of others.
“The producers will be presenting their signature events such as Reggae Wednesdays, Reggae Open University, and our JaRIA Honor Awards all virtually. We hope to use this opportunity to reach even more persons than last year with the efficient engagement of virtual platforms and global partnerships,” they elaborated. Speaking during a virtual launch on January 10, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, said that the virtual celebration will enable people to “Get together and feel alright, even from a distance”.
In 2018, Reggae was recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage deemed worthy of protection and promotion.
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Jacqueline is a writer/editor with decades of writing experience running the gamut from blogging to reporting. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica and is the chief writer for the Jamaica So Nice Blog. She is a trained engineer and musician and loves to see people transformed through her work.