Wheel And Come Again: 50 years of Jamaican music is a fantastic hour-long BBC radio exploration of the roots of Jamaican music, its history and influence. It was on yesterday and is available for another six days on iPlayer:

Colin Grant looks at the cycles of Jamaican music that have emerged from the dirt poverty of its ghettoes and the mystical beauty of its hinterland…charts the evolution of the music from the gentle caricature of the Calypsonian-inflected island in the sun to the sexually-charged Dancehall; dropping in on its redemptive golden period along the way.

Finally, Colin Grant shows the power and polarity of Jamaican music: the tension between Bob Marley’s “One Love” and Peter Tosh’s rejection of peace because “peace is the diploma you get in the cemetery”.

It’s a really great piece with loads of fantastic music (obvs) and made me feel happy and proud and terribly sad at the same time. The struggle, the suffering, that underlies all of Jamaican music (and don’t most folk think reggae is all about good times dem nah?), is brought out beautifully here. It’s what I specialised in at university, the cultural history of Jamaica, and it feels great to revisit it.

Do listen to it. It’s a wonderful, sad, important history, for all of us, about a tiny island that had a massive impact on the whole world through its slavery, through it’s suffering, through its song.

Wheel an’ come again.



Yesterday, 6th August saw the 49th Independence of my country of origin Jamaica. Well known as being a former British colony, Jamaica is also famous as being the home of reggae and a rather popular tourist destination. 


Despite all the bad press and derogatory views that people like to circulate about it and it’s inhabitants/diaspora, Jamaica has a lot to offer. Beautiful & rich landscape, stunning coastlines and a charming culture. When you actually visit Jamaica, you get to experience this plus the warmth of the people - and that isn’t me being bias. Real Jamaicans are an intelligent, hard-working and dutiful people all-to often overshadowed by the “yardie” image portrayed in this country.

I am proud and happy to have been brought up within a Jamaican-influenced household and although I am certainly a BBJ by definition, I also relate heavily to the culture of my parents, grandparents and ancestors.

I wish all my Jamaican and BBJ’s a very happy (if belated) Independence day and leave you with something from one of the country’s most famous exports - Robert Nesta Marley.

                                        *Out of many, one people*


~Ri~ x


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It’s kind of a big day in Jamaica and the many expatriate Jamaican communities spread around the globe. August 6th, 2012 marks the 50th Anniversary of Jamaican independence. We’ll let Lord Creator break the story of Jamaican independence down to you though. Put on your favorite Jamaican record and have a Red Stripe, it’s the least you can do to celebrate the Independence of a country responsible for so many wonderful things from rocksteady to curry goat.