The songs reflect what is happening in society | Letters



Frederic G. Cassidy (1971) wrote that in Jamaica “the line between religion and superstition can hardly be drawn”. Both the uninitiated and the believer can experience an “anointing,” not knowing the difference between entertainment, “shref-shref,” or God’s Holy Spirit. Our timidity often assimilates anyone to ‘a word’, to a ‘prophet’; even if the “word” came from “the imagination of their hearts!”

The ‘unusual disturbances’ at Oberlin High in St Andrew and John Rollins Success Primary in St James are nothing new. The late Canon Ernle Gordon was called upon to provide both spiritual guidance and practice exorcism in a few schools where devotions, or “works”, took place which unleashed spirit possession – not by J Wray and his nephew nor the Holy Spirit.

During the unbroken political tribalism of the mid-1970s to late 1980s, the mainline churches retreated while American Pentecostalism, non-denominationalism, and confirmation of local Afro cults not allied to Christian churches, though often named according to them, have gained in acceptability and respectability. in Jamaica.

Such spiritual shifts coincided with reggae’s cries of liberation. As the Church retreated, Bob Marley cried out: “How long will they kill our prophets, while we stand aside and watch?” like his song of redemption (1979) strongly protested against discrimination. He used his music to bring the oppression of people of African descent to the fore. Some nine years later, Bunny Wailer’s Release (1989) echo the economic purgatory of the dispossessed:

“If you live in a market

And you are neither a buyer nor a seller.

You’ll find yourself left in space

Subject to being bought or sold.…”

While emerging religious groups sought “milk and honey” in the heavens, the emergence of dancehall music lamented the state of being and social environment faced by many economically dispossessed people: Dancehall deejay Skillibeng’s Coke lyrics, by Vybz Kartel gun clown and alkaline side chick reflected the rise of drug addiction, gun culture, and marital and sexual relationships. THE STAR had a headline on May 21, 2019, “Artists Turn to ‘Guard Rings’ for Success and Protection”.

Despite the banning of certain songs “not suitable for public airwaves”, these continue to penetrate the ears in overloaded taxis and minibuses with sexually explicit lyrics that would make any brothel a sterile place of safety.

The songs or the lamentations of our artists reveal what is happening on the ground, but who listens to the cries of the people? It’s not too late to open our ears and eyes and take action to save our nation.


Mandeville, Manchester

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