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Musical history and Tan Teddy


Tan Teddy is proud to trace our rich musical heritage all the way back to West Africa. Our folk tradition was brought by our enslaved ancestors to the island in the 1600s. Arriving from different West African regions, people carried with them different languages, religious and cultural practices. Through singing, dance and drumming people were able to engage in  spiritual acts of freedom. Britain controlled Jamaica from 1655, praising our island from Spanish control. Thousands of enslaved African people continued to arrive on the island shores until 1808 when the slave trade was outlawed. People were finally fully emancipated in 1838.

Though traditionally scorned by the British plantation owners, Jamaican folk music gradually evolved into various different forms  such as  mento, ska, rocksteady and reggae.  The language most often used in music  is Creole also known as Patois. Highlighting the coming together of Africans from many different tribes and their exposure to European languages, our music deftly  expresses many different aspects of our society and experiences  - from political  and social events, religious movements, to key moments in history. 


Folk music  embraced other musical influences  in the mid 20th century and  a new type of popular  folk music was born out of traditional folk music. This evolution was named  ‘the second folk revival’ and can be seen to be a fusion of  folk rock, folk metal and  electric folk.

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