Preserving Heritage With Reggae Calendar

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A report from Jamaica’s Gleaner.

Java Immanuel-I’s introductory Reggae Calendar was ­published in 1984 in the hope that it would one day be accepted as a source of historical reference of the musical genre that has been acclaimed the key element of Jamaica’s culture that put us on the global map.

For many years, the cultural-­infused article was an ­independently funded project of Java’s, but the marketplace slowed and distribution of the calendars ­became infrequent. Java then ­decided to have calendars printed during years that had significant celebratory occasions. The last ­edition was printed in recognition of the Jamaica 50th Independence Celebration in 2012.

The Tourist Linkages Network and Tourism Enhancement Fund has endorsed and assisted with the publication of the 2019 ­calendar, which just happens to be Volume 19.

“The main goal is to feed the people knowledge within a ­physical capsule that also acts as a souvenir,” Java said.

The calendar contains ­pictures and historical data that are ­significant to the growth and ­development of reggae music and its contributors. It has the ­birthdates to the death memorials of reggae entertainers and cultural activists.

“Given that reggae is synonymous with Rastafari from a cultural perspective, instead of using ­astrology and the zodiac signs to represent the months in the layout, I utilised the 12 Tribes of Israel and the designated colour of each to give it meaning for everyone,” he continued.

Each month in the flip-style wall calendar holds a different pictorial, and the dates are updated with each publication.

Java, who is also the author of the book Reggae Sunsplash 1978-1998, explains, “I always taking pictures at mammoth festivals like Sunsplash and those that came after, and what better way to share them? I want it to be a calendar people don’t want to throw away at the end of the year – that is still relevant because of the ­information provided.”

Music industry professional Copeland Forbes says the Reggae Calendar serves as a collector’s item.

“It is unlike a regular supermarket calendar, although it still may not be well known, but it is in great demand. It has been displayed at reggae-themed events all over, and there are even some persons that pay unbelievable amounts of money for this unique gift,” Forbes said.

“I have about 13 of them, each has incorporated events and some of the best pictorials of every artistes this reggae land has come out with it.”

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