30 Nov 2018

Get Up, Stand Up! Reggae declared a global cultural treasure

6:31 pm on 30 November 2018

Reggae music has been given protected status as a global treasure by the UN's cultural body UNESCO.

Bob Marley

Reggae's most famous songwriter and performer, the late Bob Marley. Photo: B.javhlanbayr (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The music, which began in Jamaica in the 1960s, has spread across the world with its calls for social justice, peace and love.

Its most famous songwriter and performer, the late Bob Marley, became a global superstar with hits like "No Woman, No Cry" and "Get Up, Stand Up".

Other notables include Jimmy Cliff and Toots and the Maytals.

Artists such as the Clash incorporated its chunky beat and its politics into their own music, bringing it to a wider audience. It caught on from Britain to Brazil and Africa.

In a statement UNESCO said reggae acts as a voice for all.

"Its contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual."

Reggae joins a list of UNESCO's collection of "intangible cultural heritage" which includes more than 300 other cultural traditions like the Spanish art-form flamenco, Mongolian knuckle-bone shooting, and yoga in India.