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Kudos for Kingston

Observer senior reporter

Friday, December 06, 2019

JAMAICA'S capital city Kingston has secured the number two spot on a rating of 10 music meccas around the world you need to visit, in a compilation by the American weekly news magazine Newsweek.

Kingston, was only topped by Baton Rouge in Louisiana, United States, which was said to be a haven for those wishing to listen to acoustic sounds. Newsweek noted that “this city is known for non-profit listening rooms, where musicians make their money through chair donations from the audience”.

In Kingston's case, the city was linked to dancehall music with the magazine stating that this form of the local music scene is gaining international popularity and recognition despite the presence of the more recognised reggae.

“In a town famous for the reggae sounds of Bob Marley, dancehall has become internationally recognised as well. Stars such as Sean Paul have made the Jamaican music style—rapping over Jamaican beats—a worldwide sensation,” the blurb on Jamaica read.

Other cities named by Newsweek included Bogotá, Colombia for alternative sounds; St James in Canada for folk music; Glasgow, Scotland for lovers of rock music; Bamako in Mali for fusion; Vienna, Austria for electronic music while lovers of karaoke were encouraged to journey to Seoul, South Korea.

This endorsement from the internationally recognised periodical comes alongside the addition of Kingston to the creative cities network by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Kingston joins 245 other cities across the globe and has been named a creative city of music. Kingston has been recognised as the breeding ground of six musical genres: reggae, mento, ska, rocksteady, dub and dancehall.

According to UNESCO the music sector remains the driver of the local economy with a global value of over US$130 million and employing around 43,000 people. Other cities which have received such a designation for music include Ambon, Indonesia; Essaouira, Morocco; Havana, Cuba; Leiria, Portugal and Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

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