If you travel through Africa and speak with musicians, you'll encounter various accounts of reggae's African origins. Perhaps only hip-hop boasts more claims of primal ownership on the continent.
courtesy of Wrasse Records
Tiken Jah Fakoly has emphasized the griot's role in criticizing injustice and wrongdoing, a practice that eventually forced him to go into exile for political reasons in 2002.
Whatever the factual basis of such stories, there remains little doubt that reggae is one of the most widely embraced musical genres in Africa today. Bands everywhere play it, even if it's not their principal style, and every major African city houses full-time reggae bands. Over the years, Africa has produced superstar reggae talent, as well, notably Alpha Blondy of Ivory Coast and the late Lucky Dube of South Africa.
Here are five glimpses into a genre that has gone far beyond imitation to take on a character and life of its own.