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BGSU University Libraries

Reggae Music Resources: Getting Started

Getting Started with Reggae

Reggae is a musical style that is irrevocably linked with the Caribbean nation of Jamaica. The origin of the music that came to be identified as reggae developed in Jamaica in the late 1950s and 1960s. Reggae grew out of a synthesis of earlier Jamaican musical forms such as ska and rocksteady as well as American soul and rhythm and blues.
Michael Halliday, "Reggae" Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

Browsing the Shelves in the Library

Call Number Description
ML 156.4           Discographies in general, mainly found in the reference section
ML 420 Artist biographies
ML 3532 Books on reggae
ML 3790 Books on the music industry, informative for reggae
ML 3918 Books on music and politics/nationalities/race/aesthetics/philosophy


Searching in the Catalog

In the BGSU Libraries Catalog, try the following subject searches:

Reggae Music
Reggae Music -- History and Criticism
Reggae Music -- Jamaica
Reggae Musicians
Reggae Musicians -- Interviews
Dancehall (music)
Ragga (music)

To find books about reggae musicians or performers, try a SUBJECT search of the individual's name (Last name, First name).

To find books, recordings, or scores (printed music) by reggae musicians or performers, try an AUTHOR search of the individual's name, (Last name, First name) or a TITLE search of an album title or a song title.

You can also limit your search results by designating a specific material type, such as sound recording or musical score.

Note: Many albums have excellent historical and biographical notes, and lyrics are frequently included on containers or inner liners.

Subgenres of Reggae

"Roots reggae is identified as a direct descendent of the earlier mix of ska and soul music."    

Michael Halliday, "Reggae" Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

"Dancehall reggae developed in the late 1970s and included the older roots reggae template but with an altered vocal style, including rapping and toasting. Dancehall reggae also tended to include more electronica, and some artists utilized drum machines."

Michael Halliday, "Reggae" Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

"Ragga [Raggamuffin] is barely distinguishable from the earlier dancehall, the main differences being its slightly more aggressive attitude, an alignment with the concerns of its youthful audience - one-upmanship, guns, sex - and an all-important, rocking electronic beat."    

"Raggamuffin/ragga" Encyclopedia of Popular Music

"Reggaeton is most frequently represented as a Puerto Rican and, increasingly, pan-Latino fusion of hip-hop and dancehall reggae. Featuring lyrics in Spanish and propelled by a modified reggae rhythm referred to as the “dembow,” the genre also travels in the form of a suggestive, sexualized dance called “perreo."    

Wayne Marshall, "Reggaeton" Grove Music Online

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This guide was created by Liz Tousey, former Music Library Student and Circulation Supervisor.

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Photo by raremusicvideo1

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