Song of the Week: Lost My Sneakers (Jamaica)
Hello wonderful Music Class families. I have learned SO MUCH researching music from around the world for our blog this session, and I hope you’ve been enjoying the theme as much as I have! The goal has been to inspire you to listen to different styles of music with your kids. There’s no one “best” kind of music; our personal favorite songs usually just have to do with whatever we’ve listened to the most. By exposing your kids to tons of different styles, you’re giving them a much more comprehensive, well-rounded understanding of music! That has always been one of our biggest goals in Music Class which is why we include songs from all over the world in every collection. This brings us full circle back to our Song of the Week, “Lost My Sneakers!”
“Lost My Sneakers” is The Music Class's adaptation of a Jamaican folk song called “Lost My Gold Ring” or “Biddy Biddy.” (Not this “Bidi Bidi”, even though it’s also a great song. Not this either.) Jamaican music and reggae in particular have a HUGE influence in the world of music, which is especially impressive considering the island’s relatively small population. Let's talk about some of the most influential styles of Jamaican music!
Like most (all?) of everybody around the world, I love Bob Marley. Seriously, who doesn’t love Bob Marley? If you are feeling down, just play some “Three Little Birds” or “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” (not the fish version) and BOOM instant mood lift. Obviously, reggae did not begin or end with Bob Marley. We are currently living through a super exciting time in the reggae music scene: a 19-year-old woman just won the 2020 Grammy for Best Reggae Album! Koffee is the FIRST WOMAN EVER to win this category, as well as the youngest artist ever. She’s an incredible powerhouse. Check out her NPR Tiny Desk Concert because it’s amazing and just as feel-good as a Bob Marley marathon. Here’s Koffee’s debut single “Toast!”
Ska is a precursor to reggae and another Jamaican music style that has had a huge impact on music around the world. As a white American teenager, I thought of Ska as “Come on Eileen” from Save Ferris and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, lol so it’s great to learn about where Ska actually came from; Jamaica! One of the most identifiable characteristics of Ska is the emphasis on the upbeat or offbeat, known as the “chop.” To me, this is the thing that makes Ska sound so bouncy. It’s also primarily an instrumental genre filled with lots of horns, bass, and drums, but some vocalists became exceptionally famous. Derrick Morgan is considered one of the founding fathers of the genre and the “King of Ska.” (He actually helped launch the career of Bob Marley!) This video of Derrick Morgan performing in 2014 is so much fun, please enjoy and dance.
THAT’S NOT ALL FOLKS!
This blog is me just barely scratching the surface of all of the amazing Jamaican music out there, so I hope you’re now feeling inclined to listen to more! As a side note, it’s super helpful to watch this video on the language of Patois to help understand why we English speakers can sometimes understand only a tiny portion of what Jamaican musicians are singing about. ALSO: February is “Reggae Month” in Jamaica, and it’s going virtual in 2021! CLICK HERE TO ATTEND REGGAE MONTH EVENTS FROM ANYWHERE!! Talk about an upside to 2021: access to all kinds of music from all around the world for your family.