Jimmy Cliff probes reggae, punk connections on return to his roots

Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff’s career could serve as an encyclopedia of innovation in modern Jamaican music.

But these days, the 64-year-old Cliff is moving forward by looking back, revisiting his early roots through a decidedly punk lens. He performs June 13 at Meijer Gardens.

While reggae is frequently stigmatized as fluffy feel-good music for the cruise ship set, the music is steeped in the brutal poverty and social inequality of Jamaican society. It is natural, then, that the music contains strong social messages, Cliff said.

“Our happiness and celebration of life was this music. At the same time, we were expressing our environment and what was going on. That is why the music is able to touch or balance both sides — happy music, but also touching serious subjects,” Cliff said. “That is exactly how the music was born, where it is coming from.”

Read more at MLive.

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About brianjbowe

Brian J. Bowe is a veteran journalist, author, and educator whose work examines the interplay of journalism and culture in multiple settings. Bowe earned his Ph.D. in Michigan State University’s Media and Information Studies program, where he was named the 2013 Outstanding Ph.D. student. His research interests include media framing, the media’s agenda setting function, and news coverage of Muslims. His research has appeared in top-tier journals such as Public Understanding of Science, International Communication Gazette and American Behavioral Scientist. In 2010, he co-produced the award-winning short documentary The Death of an Imam. He also co-authored and served as assistant coordinator of the Social Science Research Council-funded project Migrations of Islam: Muslim-American Culture in the 21st Century. Bowe has written extensively about music. He is the author of Judas Priest: Metal Gods, The Ramones: American Punk Rock Band and The Clash: Punk Rock Band. All three books are part of Enslow Publishers’ Rebels of Rock series of young adult biographies. He is the co-editor of CREEM: America’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll Magazine (Harper/Collins), and has written liner notes for releases by Iggy & the Stooges, the MC5 and Was (Not Was). He served as editor of the online resurrection of CREEM Magazine and has published in regional and national publications such as Harp, Blurt, MLive and the Metro Times.
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