Reggae Lunch’n’Learn in the Cowtown:How’s your Riddim?

How’s Your Riddim? The Reggae Beat Explained. Image courtesy of Calgary Reggae Festival Society

by Carey Rutherford

Well, I’m going to totally schlep out here and show you an email I received recently, which is a BRILLIANT opportunity to learn about one of the greatest musical genres that has come from the southern hemisphere: reggae!! It’s not just a Marley and Tosh old-school neophyte kind-of-thing. That’s like saying that rock n’ roll is the Beatles, and leaving it at that. No way. There’s so much more!

From the Calgary Reggae Festival Society:

“Greetings!

Join Cantos Music Foundation and Calgary ReggaeFest for Music@Noon.

Reggae Lunch’n’Learn, a monthly lunch hour presentation sharing the history and evolution of Reggae. A First Thursday Event!

When: First Thursday of each month (May – October) from 12:10 pm – 1:00 pm
Where: Cantos Music Foundation – 134 – 11 Avenue SE
Admission: FREE – Bring Your Lunch and a Friend!”

In case y’all have forgotten the activity going on at Cantos, they, amongst other organizations in the city, are interested in increasing energy and participation in the arts, and have banded together for a mini-festival throughout the centre of the city on the first Thursday of every month. This lunch-hour event combines the best of many of the district’s prerogatives: music, culture, food (your own), and it’s a bargain! And like the other First Thursday events, these people are serious:

2011 Dates & Topics:
May 5 – What is Reggae?
June 2 – Evolution of Reggae: from Mento to Dancehall
July 7 – How do you get your Reggae? Reggae’s influence on other Music Genres
August 4 – Canadian Reggae, YES! We do have Reggae
September 1 – How’s your Riddim? The Reggae Beat Explained
October 6 – Do you know your Reggae?

“Help us spread the word across Calgary about Reggae Music! Join us on the first Thursday of each month over the lunch hour. Bring friends and introduce them to the reggae that you know and love….. and maybe you will learn something new as well!
ReggaeFest – Life’s Better As a Rastagarian ~ August 18 – 20, 2011”

Every person I know should go to this if only because they invented the word “Rastagarian”! Hopefully it’ll be included in the next Oxford Dictionary.

Having attended last years Reggae Fest, I can attest to the need to learn more about this very rich, very active, social commentary medium. One of the attendees at the 2010 event in Calgary has managed to get himself to #1 on the Jamaican music charts. There’s vitality in Canadian reggae!

Nadera, the self-proclaimed “Women’s Mouthpiece,” also performed last year, and I suspect she’d wonder why there’s no continuation in the above schedule with the ‘Women of Reggae’ theme that she discussed then. “We have a reggae scene that is very big in Toronto, because there’s always artists coming from all over to perform (and) the women there show their presence: there’s Mandy Woods, there’s Tasha T there’s myself and there’s Amanda Weez. I think there’s a lot of women!.. . . It’s still male-dominated, (but) I would say there’s more women in the dancehall side of reggae, the (more rebellious part). I think we’re taking our place, and that there’s a lot more opportunity for us to be out there right now.”

Thank goodness