Brazil requests intangible cultural heritage status for reggae dance | Entertainment


The people of São Luís in Brazil are proud that their city is known around the world as “Brazilian Jamaica”. And the reason for this designation is the fact that reggae music is the heart of São Luís. People are so in love with this Jamaican music that they have their own reggae museum; their own reggae dance, the agarradinho; The town hall has its own Reggae strategic planning committee; reggae music is played around every corner; reggae festivals are part of the fabric of the city; and reggae shows abound on the radio.

One of these programs is “Reggae Point”, which was broadcast live 30 years ago. During that time, it aired continuously for three decades, with a two-hour prime-time slot on the radio every day, including Sundays. Waldiney Silva, known to everyone as DJ Waldiney, has been the enthusiastic host for 26 of those years, and he is honored to celebrate the milestone of the program.

“The power and energy of reggae music is so special and vibrant. There is no other music that can give a person what reggae music does. For decades our city was called Brazilian Jamaica. We wear our Jamaican colors at parties. Around every corner you can hear reggae music, sometimes houses, ”said DJ Waldiney, who speaks only Portuguese. The Sunday Gleaner by its interpreter, Daniella Dourado.

The disc jock, who can sing reggae songs verbatim, explained that “Reggae Point” was born out of another reggae program, “Reggae Night”, and since then it has been airing continuously for three decades. . “Reggae Point” dominates the main audience on Mirante FM 96.1, beating all other reggae programs on various radio stations. From the start he has had enormous importance for the spread of reggae music in Brazil, especially because beyond playing two hours of reggae music he also shares information about the genre, and in the past he has helped bring many Jamaican artists and bands to play in our city, ”said the reggae-loving DJ, who always has a visit to Jamaica on his wishlist.

One of the fascinating things about the São Luís reggae experience is that reggae music from the 60s and 70s dominates the airwaves. “We play a lot of songs from that era because they are the most inspiring to people. But we also play current artists eg Tarrus Riley, Etana, Richie Stephens. A few years ago Richie Stephens came to São Luís and heard them play a very old reggae song from the 70s, and he couldn’t believe it. He said, “In Jamaica, we don’t play these songs! The song was Donkey train», Said DJ Waldiney, while shaking his Gregory Isaacs t-shirt because he was celebrating July 15th the birthday of the« Cool Ruler »of reggae.

He added that another song that also surprised Stephens when he heard it performed at the club was by Yvonne Sterling. Full of music, which, by the way, was also the first full length album he bought decades ago.

“Imagine, in 2015. Richie and I were talking about this song, then in 2020 the people of São Luís were able to organize a fundraiser for Yvonne Sterling. We had planned to bring him with Richie to perform in Brazil. I was devastated when I heard that she had passed away, ”he added.


The Brazilians also created their own reggae dance, called the agarradinho, which DJ Waldiney was happy to share is now considered cultural heritage.

“A few decades ago Brazilians danced salsa and merengue, but when reggae music came in the mid-1970s we didn’t know how to dance it, so we made our own steps. And so over the years, in every club you go to, you can see the couples dancing side by side, ”he said. The Sunday Gleaner.

“The way we dance reggae music in São Luís is different. We call the dance “agarradinho” because we dance together to the beat. Agarradinho means together or very close, and it is in the process of being recognized as intangible cultural heritage, and this will only be possible thanks to the existence of reggae music in the world, ”he shared enthusiastically.

Oral traditions, performing arts, local knowledge and traditional skills are all considered intangible heritage. In November 2018, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization designated reggae music as “intangible cultural heritage of humanity”.

It was in 2018 that the government of São Luís opened the Museo do Reggae Maranhão, the first reggae-themed museum outside of Jamaica, with the aim of preserving reggae culture. Reports indicate that in the first year of operation, the museum received 50,000 visitors.

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