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What Is Jamaica Famous For | by Sheree-Anita Shearer, Associate Writer
What keeps Jamaica on everyone’s lips? What is Jamaica famous for? Well, it is hard to isolate just one thing as the reason behind the popularity of the island. But, we can talk about a few. Chances are you came to know about the island because of one of these reasons too.
Reggae is one of the most revered and celebrated genres in the world and it all started in Jamaica in the 1960s. The history of Reggae music is quite long, but it all started as a combination of other musical genres that were prominent at the time, and the result was this distinct sound which became a genre in itself.
The content of the music is usually centred around social issues, injustice and authority. While these are the most prominent topics, love and relationship are also topics which feature in Reggae music. Some of the nation's biggest names are known through their association with the genre.
Many artistes, DJs and producers of Reggae are now household names all over the world. Lee “Scratch” Perry, Coxsone Dodd, King Jammy’s, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Beres Hammond, Gregory Issacs, Jimmy Riley, Taurus Riley, Buju Banton, Damian “Junior Gong” Marley and Morgan Heritage are all very well known names in Reggae.
The newer crop of Reggae stars includes Etana, Chronixx, Koffee and Protoje who are all continuing to build on the very well laid foundation of Reggae music.
Reggae has been the foundation from which other genres have been derived as well, another Jamaican genre Dancehall, is what I would call the more upbeat, risque cousin of Reggae music. Reggae is also one of the inspirations behind Hip Hop music, which started in New York.
Many immigrants from Jamaica and other Caribbean islands all lived in the area and so, they sort of combined the music from their home countries to create hip hop music.
Dancehall has its own stars who are also well known and well-loved artistes. One of the most-watched versus battles was between two of the genre's greatest, Beenie Man and Bounty Killa. Other well-known names are King Yellowman, Lady G, Lady Saw, Shaggy, Sean Paul, Spice, Wayne Marshall, Agent Sasco (Assassin), Vybz Kartel, Mavado and Popcaan.
You were probably wondering how I could have mentioned Reggae Music and not Bob Marley and you would be correct. There is no mentioning Reggae without the name of the person who is almost always associated with it. But, the fact is, Bob Marley has become such a well-known figure that his name is mentioned even outside of the context of the genre.
Even now, so many years after his death, his music is still topping charts outside of Jamaica. With his Song of the Century, One Love, No Woman Nuh Cry, Stir it Up, Lively Up Yourself and so many more songs you'll be Easy Skanking for days.
As the “Land of Wood and Water”, Jamaica lives up to expectations with opportunities aplenty to visit the many beaches, rivers, waterfalls, caves, historic sites and other fun attractions on the island. We are a well-known tourist destination for many reasons and sheer beauty is just one of them.
For many people, a trip to Jamaica is a definite bucket list item. The prospect of “summer” all year long is irresistible too. My guess is that you already know all the top spots, Dunn’s River, Blue Lagoon, YS Falls, Negril’s Seven-Mile Beach, and Lover’s Leap being just a few. To let you in on a secret, those adventures off the beaten path are just as exciting.
The popular ones are just the tip of the iceberg but are good to start.
What good is a vacation without world-class rum? Maybe no fun at all. It is not uncommon to see visitors heading back home with bottles of Appleton Estate and J. Wray and Nephew filling up their suitcases.
These two brands are must-haves on the island. They make delicious cocktails but if you are as gutsy as some older Jamaican males, have your overproof rum on the rocks.
Sometimes locally made beers are simply lacking in flavour. But with a Red Stripe, there will be no disappointments. The refreshing taste of an original beer in its distinct red bottle is delicious but if you want to change things up you can’t go wrong with a fruity flavoured Red Stripe Lemon, Apple, Melon or Raspberry.
Nothing pairs better with Jerk chicken than a bottle of your favourite Red Stripe. And speaking of which…
Jamaica has some of the best tasting, flavourful dishes in the world. Our diverse culture has allowed us to create a cuisine so uniquely Jamaican, that it is quite difficult to compare it to anything else. So much so that it is difficult to recreate outside the country.
Jerk Chicken is not the only famous dish though, there are many other must-haves. Ackee and Saltfish, Curried Goat, Oxtail, Escoveitched Fish are paired with delicious sides like Rice and peas, festival, bammy, fried breadfruit and plantains for a Jamaican food feast. Variety, Spice and Flavour are waiting for you to try.
Jamaica is much more than a tourist destination, it is an experience and a big part of that experience is our people. Jamaicans do not believe in mediocrity and so, if there is something to be the best at, then that is what the aim will be, to become number 1, and (unfortunately), the opposite is also true for things not so commendable.
Jamaicans are known for their ambitiousness and warm, friendly nature. Sometimes passion, excitement or a good-natured conversation between old friends can be mistaken for an argument if the person looking on is not familiar with Jamaican culture.
Most persons are also fascinated with the way we speak our dialect and often try to imitate it themselves with varied success (usually a source of entertainment for the Jamaicans who happen to be around).
Jamaicans are also known for their legendary partying, we will always be ready for a great time even if we are the only ones feeling the vibes at the time. Even worship experiences and religious ceremonies such as funerals have the element of energy and excitement that makes them uniquely Jamaican. We can make anything fun.
Jamaicans have one of the greatest collections of world-class athletes in the world. From our country alone, we have the sprinter with the most sub-10s in history, Asafa Powell and the fastest and second-fastest women in the world Elaine Thompson-Heath and Shelly-Ann Frazer-Pryce respectively. Elaine Thompson Herah is the current women’s world 100m world record holder.
Usain Bolt is a name that speaks for itself in the world of athletics. As the fastest person in the world, and with the medals and world records to prove it, I’m sure you can understand why.
Those are just a few of the many athletes who have represented Jamaica on the world stage recently but even before they came along there were Herb McKinley, Arthur Wint, Merlene Ottey, Donald Quarrie, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, Veronica Campbell-Brown and many others who displayed their great talents while donning Jamaican colours.
This religion originated right here in Jamaica. Reggae music is actually heavily influenced by Rastafarianism and the principles of the religion were reiterated quite a bit throughout the songs.
Because of this, Jamaican society is also greatly influenced by Rastafarianism. Rastafarians are known for ital living, which is healthy eating habits and getting sustenance from plants and herbs and refraining from eating animal products and processed foods.
Not every Rastafarian has dreadlocks and not every person with dreadlocks is a Rastafarian, however, the hairstyle choice began with the Rastafarians and now many persons across the world both of those who practise the faith and who just like the style wear it.
So what is Jamaica famous for? These are just some of the many things that makes Jamaica so very popular. We love sharing our country, our attractions and people with you. Be sure to visit soon!
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