Reggae Museum planned for Bob’s birthplace

Reggae singer, Bob Marley, performs in this 1980 handout photo.
AP Photo/Island Records

Jamaica can boast another cultural achievement with the establishment of a central archive for reggae music to be named Jamaica International Reggae Museum.

It will boast the largest and most complete collection of vintage reggae music in the world.

The Roger Steffens Reggae archive (now based in Los Angeles, California) will be the first and most spectacular exhibition for the Alva, Nine Mile, St. Ann, Jamaica museum. Located at the birth and resting place of Bob Marley, the King of Reggae, the collaborative venture with a community FM radio station will house a collection, which will include not only rare artifacts but virtually all of the recordings of Bob Marley and his partners Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Many of the exhibits will feature unreleased materials. Highlighted will be hundreds of Jamaican artists, many of them obscure. Some will feature broadcasts of Jamaica’s musical developments while others will tell the musical story of those who took reggae from its small island roots and transformed it into a global culture — from mento and the birth of ska, to rock steady, reggae and beyond.

It will showcase the rich cultural musical history as well as embrace other artists and scholars.

With more than 100,000 individual recordings on vinyl singles and albums as well as cassettes; 10,000 hours of tapes, featuring rare singles, interviews and thousands of live shows and more than a thousand Marley and the Wailers’ related tapes of live shows, interviews, out takes, demos, unreleased songs versions, rehearsals and tributes reportedly, an application was made for a community based radio station to provide a medium to preserve Jamaica’s cultural heritage and to historically showcase Jamaican cultural recordings.

Allegedly, the venue will house and provide archival recordings from music’s early beginnings to the present reggae era.

According to director Chazz Morris, the recordings will be accessible to the public through a website created by the museum’s digital library as well as the FM Radio Station.

The community radio station will also advise visitors and the community about the scheduling of upcoming events and festivities at the museum.

The Grammy Foundation is in receipt of the application for funding to begin digital preservation of the tens of thousands of songs on vinyl and cassettes, most of them unavailable on any other format. An added bonus is professionally recorded master tapes recorded from seven years of the annual Jamaican Sunsplash Festival from 1982 through 1988.

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