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Judy Mowatt: The Grateful Dread

Susin Shapiro, Viva, November 1977

IN CORNERS cut off from the rude-boy violence in poor black Jamaican communities, reggae music took seed, an offshoot of calypso, ska, R&B, and, further back, classical African chants and gospel. Reggae reflected the seediness of backwoods shacks; it provided a shelter from danger. Its earthen sensuality was based on a belief that those who sang with enough soul would escape the ghetto.

Total word count of piece: 743


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