April 15, 2011


Despite its popularity, reggae, and the myriad Jamaican popular music forms from which it springs, has long lacked a bibliographic resource that could aid its legion of fans, students, and scholars. Until now.

Based on more than 15 years of research, Jamaican Popular Music, the second volume in ADP’s Black Music Reference Series, offers some 3700 entries on the  the island’s commercial music scene from its inception in the 1950s to the present. Idioms covered range from the calypso-like mento of the late 1940s and ’50s to ska and rock steady of the 1960s, roots reggae and dub poetry of the 1970s and ’80s, dub and dancehall from the mid-1980s on, and international offshoots such as British 2-tone, Puerto Rican reggaeton and Brazilian samba-reggae. It also provides in-depth coverage of the music’s diffusion to more than 51 other countries along with a biographical section documenting the careers of some 800 individual artists, producers, and others. Sources range from fanzines and newspaper reportage to books, theses, journal articles, and audio-visual materials from Jamaica, Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Much of this material is cited here for the first time. Particularly notable is the attention given to local reggae and dub poetry scenes in Britain, the US and Canada, along with lesser known, but equally vital, scenes in France, Germany, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Japan.

The result is a ground-breaking effort offering insights into all facets of Jamaican popular music and its local, regional and transnational impact.

The compiler is veteran bibliographer John Gray whose previous works include Blacks in Classical Music, African Music, Fire Music: a bibliography of the New Jazz, 1959-1990, and, From Vodou to Zouk.

To order please visit the ADP website: www.african-diaspora-press.com. The book is also available through most library wholesalers.

Also available: From Vodou to Zouk: a bibliographic guide to music of the French-speaking Caribbean and its diaspora (Black Music Reference Series; vol. 1)

Forthcoming (Fall 2011): Afro-Cuban Music: a bibliographic guide (Black Music Reference Series; vol. 3)

Praise for the author’s previous works:

From Vodou to Zouk:  “...will prove an indispensable, in-hand reference to current French Caribbean music scholarship”—Library Journal

African Music:  “...a truly outstanding achievement...likely to become the standard reference tool on African music for the next decade or so. Supersedes all previously available bibliographies in scope, the clear organization of its data, and of course, in its up-to-dateness” 


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