Many experts believe that dancehall sprang directly from reggae while another school of thought holds firm to the view that dancehall is a separate entity, having its origin elsewhere. The confusion is further compounded when we recall that there was a music called dancehall music during the late 1950s, which took its name from a physical space where such music was played. There were places like Forrester’s Hall, The Success Club, Chocomo Lawn, King’s Lawn, Bournemouth, and Jubilee Tile Gardens, all located in Kingston. Here, heavyweight sound systems like Sir Coxsone’s Downbeat, Duke Reid The Trojan, and King Edward The Giant would blare the Rhythm & Blues music from New Orleans and the ska from Jamaica into the wee hours of the morning.
Modern-day dancehall bore some resemblance here, having also begun in the dancehalls that have always been the lifeblood of Jamaican music. So as we enter Reggae Month 2019, it is perhaps a good time to put things into perspective and unravel some of the misconceptions that surround the two genres − reggae and dancehall.