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Reggae music falls short on film soundtracks

BACK CATALOGUE: Reggae icon, Bob Marley

ALTHOUGH REGGAE music has found its way into many movies, there are still difficulties in getting proper clearance to use songs in films.

This was the general view of panellists at the Reggae Music and Film Symposium, held as part of the Bob Marley 70th Earth Strong Celebrations on Friday (Feb 6) at the Bob Marley Museum in Jamaica.

The speakers were convinced that although the music is loved, sometimes those who wish to use reggae songs in various films experience difficulties in doing so.

"The problem we have with reggae music in films is clearance," producer Clive Hunt said, noting that filmmakers sometimes struggle to find out who owns specific songs. "I have dedicated all my life to reggae music and I would like to see it go much further in the avenue of films," he said.

Dr Rachel Moseley-Wood said, "Some form of formalised process needs to be put in place for lines of communication, so independent film-makers can get access to the music."

She noted that her research shows that Bob Marley songs have been used in at least 200 movies and TV shows in various languages. Moseley-Wood added that some of the more frequently used material are love songs or lighthearted tracks.

FAMILY AFFAIR: Julian Marley (centre) exchanges greetings with someone who attended Bob Marley's 70th birthday celebrations at 56 Hope Road, St Andrew, last Friday (Feb 6). [PIC CREDIT: Photos by Rudolph Brown/Freelance Photographer]

Film Commissioner Carole Beckford stressed that those involved in music need to better protect their intellectual property.


Friday's celebrations did not stop at the Reggae Music and Film Symposium as people gathered at the museum as early as 6am for activities such as blowing the abeng, a drumming session, cake cutting, the releasing of doves, and numerous symposiums.

As the day progressed, there were performances from Ishabel, Ricky Chaplin, One Love Youth Camp, Bongo Herman, Uprising Roots Band, and William Maxwell.

And although it rained during much of the afternoon session, the sun was out in all its glory for the unveiling of the 1976 Series III Land Rover that Bob Marley owned, which was restored by ATL Automotive.

Bob Marley's children and grandchildren gathered for the unveiling, taking pictures with the famous vehicle.

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