Exhibition: “Jamaica Jamaica!”

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Jamaica Jamaica!, curated by Sébastien Carayol, is a major exhibition on the history of music in Jamaica, as the tagline says, “from mento to Trenchtown to deejays.” The exhibition—which includes memorabilia, photographs, visual art, audio recordings, and a wide array of performances, concerts, and related events—opened on April 4 and runs through August 13, 2017 at Philharmonie de Paris (located at Parc de la Villette, Paris, France). A Jamaica Jamaica! album of selected music and a detailed catalog are available on site and online.

Description: In the middle of the Caribbean, a tiny island barely bigger than Corsica has become an absolute exception in the history of music. Jamaica is the birthplace of one of the major musical currents of the second half of the 20th century, there is far more to Jamaica than reggae and its universal icon Bob Marley, and its complex history extends far beyond music.

The branches of Jamaican music reach as widely as those of jazz or blues, and its roots dig deep into the days of slavery, tracing back to traditional forms of song and dance inherited from the colonisation of the 18th and 19th centuries.

What many people don’t know is that since the 1950s, inventions in Jamaican music—born out of the “do-it-yourself” ingenuity pulsing through the ghettos of Kingston—have laid the foundations for most modern-day urban musical genres, giving rise to such fixtures of todayʼs musical lingo as “DJ”, “sound system”, “remix”, “dub”, etc.

Often blurring the lines between distinctions—spiritual or nonreligious, rural or urban, a soundtrack for Rastafarian wisemen or rude boys from the ghetto—Jamaican music is anything but one-dimensional. Often placed under the heading “World Music”, it is so popular around the globe that it could be called the “World’s Music”.

The Jamaica Jamaica! exhibition seeks to acknowledge this history, reconsidered through the prism of the postcolonial conflicts and encounters that led to a unique and universal movement—a virtual “sound clash” between Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Lee Perry, King Tubby, Studio One, the Alpha Boys School, Haile Selassie I, Marcus Garvey, etc., through musical styles as varied as burro, revival, mento, ski, rocksteady, reggae, dub and dancehall.

Jamaica Jamaica! brings together rare memorabilia, photographs, visual art, audio recordings and footage unearthed from private collections and museums in Jamaica, the United States and Great Britain. Also providing a platform for young Jamaican artists, the exhibition is a loudspeaker for the voice of a people—a powerful wail that has been ringing out internationally for decades through its music.

For schedule of performances, see http://philharmoniedeparis.fr/en/programming/thematic-weekends/jamaica-weekend

For more information, see http://philharmoniedeparis.fr/fr/exposition-jamaica-jamaica and http://philharmoniedeparis.fr/en/jamaica-jamaica-exhibition

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