Tag Archives: dancehall reggae

COMMENTARY: Cubans love Music; Is ‘real’ Reggae Music finally seeing some light in the largest Caribbean Island?


Photo/Caridad

Views expressed are solely the opinion of the writer, and when of others is clearly quoted, and not (unless specifically stated as such) that of www.nataliemonique.com.

by Natalie Monique

The Republic of Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean (over 11 million inhabitants), having gained formal Independence from the United States in 1902. Cuba has always been known for its rigid Communist regime under Leader Fidel Castro, causing a huge lack of Freedom for its citizens. After Raul Castro became President in 2008, he promised that there would be more freedom in Cuba, of which there has been progressive changes. Though slow in movement, one can say there seems to be a ray of hope. There are still major restrictions for example, Computer ownership/Internet use and Travelling to name a few, and there is still a high rate of Illegal Emigration. However, the island does boast a highly rich Culture (understandable being a highly multi-ethnic region), offers the best worldwide healthcare, a 99.8% literacy rate and a lower infant death rate than most developed countries, but many of the benefits are not equally distributed.

A huge part of Cuban Culture is Music, right now various types of Music though not definitively known as Genres are enjoyed more in the island. Besides Cuban produced Music, local Cuban musicians also tend to adapt worldwide Popular Cultures such as Hip Hop, Reggae, Reggaeton and Rap, while still maintaining their own vibe through content and lyrics representing current Social and Political issues.

Approaching the 1990’s, Cubans began listening to Reggaeton, a ‘form’ of Reggae Music (blending Reggae, Electronic and Latin beats) which many original Reggae Lovers feel can never come remotely close to the authentic and meaningful Genre. Reggaeton is mostly popular in the Latin American Culture and spreading to other regions especially where Latin American communities exist, I would be lying if I say it doesnt get me moving. There is nothing more satisfying and relaxing even somewhat holistic, than some real, unadulterated Reggae Music seeping through your body. However, I think its great when persons try to emulate this beautiful Genre, I’m all for diversifying, creating an eclectic blend, mixing cultures, as long as the original is still maintained and respected…I do agree however, we can never say it is actual Reggae Music:)


Holding Cuban and Jamaican Flags – Photo/Caridad

Some Cubans have actually criticised Reggaeton as being ‘too explicit’ and sexual, and publicly yearned for Reggae, and original Reggae lovers there have made efforts to push the actual genre, however limited by Resources and support. When say Reggae, I am not referring to Cuban Reggae, which is a mix of Hip Hop, African Beats and Reggae, but the original ‘Jamaican born’ Reggae. In Cuba, Reggae is largely associated with the Rastafarian culture, as is in many other societies, hence Reggae is represented and promoted by the small cross section of Rastas in Cuba. Reggae? We all instantly think of the Jamaican King of Reggae, Bob Marley who was a convicted Rastafarian, spreading Reggae Music worldwide, touching the lives of persons from various races, cultures, age and class.

Most of the Rastas and Reggae Musicians reside in in the Eastern part of Cuba, where it is believed mostly Jamaicans live, and a huge Caribbean influence exist. However, Cuba does not permit the ‘public’ Rastafarian practice, namely smoking Cannibis, which is considered a main part of the faith. There has been controversy as Reggaeton is more popular (not without criticism though) than Reggae, the original genre from where it was even created. There are a few Reggae bands/artistes in Cuba, main ones such as Remanente and Paso Firme, and others on the rise still trying to keep the genre alive.

I recently bumped into an article in the Havana Times, where the author Dmitiri Prieto said he met with Raudel, a local Musician who pleaded for ‘the advance of pacifistic non-conformist spirituality in support of reggae and against reggaeton, which he said represented the corruption and perversion of the music that gave it its birth.’ He also highlighted the fact that Rastas are unable to freely practice their belief due to Law enforcement.

Check out this Documentary trailer, directed by Susanne Moss ‘Ras Cuba’:

He mentioned that the Mass Media has also been airing more Reggae promotions and even Bob Marley which is a good sign for the well loved Genre. To highlight progress, he also made reference to a recently published Cuban book ‘La Cultura Rastafari en Cuba’ (Rastafarian Culture in Cuba) by Cuban Researcher/Author Samuel Fure Davis. I also came across another interesting online narrative by Fure wrote back in 2005, ‘Lyrical Subversion in Cuban Reggae’ and and his in-depth ‘Reggae in Cuba’, a presentation at the University of the West Indies, UWI, Jamaica. Prieto also mentioned an upcoming conference on ‘African-based’ beliefs of which he says will include the Rastafarian Faith, for the first time.

Reggae means different things to different person, to Cubans it is synonymous with Rastafari. I am not a Rasta nor smoke Marijuana, (not every Islander smokes meds by the way), but those who know me well, KNOW I deeply enjoy the natural mystic/outdoor vibe, nourishing and healing the body with herbs, seeking knowledge, eating organic and healthy AND I am an avid fan of my Island’s Reggae and Dancehall Music! Despite what Reggae means to you, we here at nataliemonique.com are determined to keep this island gem of a genre alive and taking the authentic Caribbean culture to the World:)

We love the move, the word is getting out…Free Up Reggae maan! Its not ‘just’ Music, it is a euphoric experience! We may like Music, but everybody needs a little Reggae!:) Who better to explain what Reggae is all about than the King of Reggae himself: (Watch Videos below) Feel free to comment/share your thoughts:)

NEW!! Music Video: Nicki Minaj repping her Trinidad roots hard in ‘Pound The Alarm’

Muy, muy caliente!!! Love how Nicki Minaj always repping her Trinidadian roots…Pound the Alarm babyyy!!:)

Oh, and if you missed it, check out Nicki in the new ADIDAS Commercial (below):

NEW!! Video: Soul Prince John Legend to get down and dirty sexy in ‘Tonight’ (Best You Ever Had) Music Video


by Natalie Monique

R&B/Soul star John Legend recently released his sexy, hot new single, ‘Tonight’ (Best You Ever had ft. Ludacris from the ‘Think Like A Man’ Soundtrack….and now the visual is about to unfold.

Essence.com sources revealed that they will be premiering the video on Monday, March 12 and says fans should ‘prepare to fan themselves from all the sexiness.’ From the lyrics, we def heard a side of the multi-talented Legend that is uhm, quite rare…real bad ass, bedroom talk, and now learning he will be shirtless and all in the visuals? Peep the sneak peek pic they posted (above) Ive started fanning already..cant wait:) lol

“…Come on let me kiss that, ooh, I know u miss that..I dont wanna brag, but I’ll be the best you ever had….she know I beat it up like the thriller in Manilla..then throw you on a grill, cuz seven days a week ur my five course meal, forreal..”

>>>Good Lawdieeee Take a listen to these lyrics!

UPDATE: See video here

NEW!! Video: STING 2011 Highlights: Annual controversial Dancehall Clash Competition


Who you think owned Sting 2011??
Sharing a few of the performance highlights we caught online ..check below {Explicit Content}:


NEW!! Official Video: Reggae artiste Konshens ‘World Citizen’


by Natalie Monique

Konshens releases a real thought provoking Music Video to his single, ‘World Citizen’. The song was produced by French label Damalistik and Djei Gogo of Roots Survival Records on the ‘World Citizen Riddim’. The Music Video was directed by Brano Vincze.

The video shows persons from all different cultures and races in the streets as Konshens performs a very deep message of unity.
Amazing concept and lyrics in this tune…Taking the Caribbean all over the world!! Great job on this…

“…we are citizens of the world….lets put an end to the segregationnnn…You coulda come from the Alps inna Switzerland, or the plains of the Motherland, American or Caribbean…” Check it!