Vocal Styles in Jamaica: A Study of Hegemonic Dissolution Displayed in Popular Music Culture and the Role Society Played in Informing Them by Nadine Theresa Simone Sutherland

One of the strongest tools in recognizing an individual is their voice. The voice is “the sound made by passing air out through the larynx and tensing the vocal cords.” (Corsini1059). The voice in the human being is used as a way of communication and the transmitting of thoughts. It can convey our emotions, our holistic well-being, our familial and country of origin. The voice in popular music culture is predominantly used for the purpose of entertainment, but if further deconstructed can reflect the historical and ideological issues experienced by the society from which it emerges. In Jamaica’s popular music culture the individual voice of the music performer has displayed this phenomenon, through the vocal styles of singing, Deejaying, and Singjaying. Although these vocal styles are not unique to Jamaica, they possess attributes that might be described as distinctively Jamaican.

In the Caribbean‘s effort to write their own stories, there have been many books on the different musical forms and the specific conjunctures of the era that they were situated in. Although one of the more important elements in the identification of Caribbean musical form is the vocal styles, these have not yet been exposed to vigorous study. This study considers two aspects of vocal performances in Jamaica. Firstly, how these Jamaican vocal styles emerged from the ideological, historical, cultural and political conjunctures of pre and post colonial Jamaica and how these vocal styles reflected the process of hegemonic dissolutions in the overarching society.

These vocal styles will then be dissected in the context of locally recorded popular music with consideration for the ways that performers have navigated foreign influence sand replaced them with elements that reflect a Jamaican world view and a process of hegemonic dissolution.

Keywords: Nadine Theresa Simone Sutherland; hegemony: vocal styles; popular music culture; Deejaying; Singjaying.

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