There is no doubt that America has some of the most diverse musical influences and talent due to the fact that we are a melting pot of immigrants and traditions. A few of the diversities present in the US include: Creole music and jazz from Louisiana, African roots, blues, and gospel, Nashville country, contemporary R & B, rock and roll’s counterculture, and hip hop from the Bronx, to name a few. Do you ever wonder where these influences come from? To answer your questions, here’s a list of four countries that influence modern popular music, from Jamaica to Iceland.
Influences: Roots Reggae, Dancehall, Dub, Ska
Jamaica is known for its infectious rhythms, which include one drops, rockers and steppers; the three main known drum styles in reggae music. For example, the one-drop has the entire emphasis on the backbeat by dropping the one. Reggae originated in Jamaica in the 1960s and is associated with the Rastafari movement. Bob Marley is the face of Jamaican roots reggae and the Rastafari lifestyle. With the help of the Wailers, Bob started a cult following of the reggae movement in the American pop culture scene in the 70s.
Notable Jamaican influences: Peter Tosh, Ernest Ranglin, Joe Gibbs, Burning Spear, Toots and the Maytals, Joseph Hibbert, Family Man Barrett
Influences: Raga Sangeet, Hindustani Classical, Carnatic, folk, indi-pop, raga rock
Indian music has a lot of influence on present-day jazz. George Harrison from The Beatles studied with Ravi Shankar and brought Indian music to a new era of pop music. Indian influence can be heard in rocks groups such as The Grateful Dead, The Doors and Cream and jazz musicians like Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane and Miles Davis.
Notable Indian Musicians: famous sitarist Ravi Shankar, sarodist Ali Akbar Khan, violinist L. Shankar, guitarist Fareed Haque
Modern Indian Influenced Musicians: tabla player Zakir Hussein, Norah Jones, Anoushka Shankar, Selena Gomez, M.I.A.
Influences: Hip-Hop, Rave, Zulu, Afrikaan, Kwaito, JIVE, Drum n Bass
South Africa has unparalleled diversity and many musical influences including Dutch folk, as well as French and German. The Dutch, Germans and French largely colonized South Africa in the late 1680s and were mostly fleeing due to religious persecution. The hodge-podge of cultures that make up South Africa might explain the dynamic duo from Cape Town, Die Antwoord, who is known for their nontraditional antics and shock value.
Notable South African Musicians: John Bhengu (father of Zulu Traditional), Brenda Fassie, Lucky Dube
Modern South African Musicians: Die Antwoord, Bongo Maffin, TKZee, Krushed and Sorted
Influences: Folk, Islandsklukkur, electronic, experimental, Alternative, post-rock, Indie
Most people think of Iceland as an isolated and cold island nation, but it has proven to spawn some very talented and distinct musicians. Because of this isolation, much of their music has gone unnoticed, however, their musical history and style is unique and incomparable, dating back to their Nordic music roots. The creative talent out of Iceland has continued to develop throughout the 20th century. Traditional Icelandic music has evolved into progressive contemporary folk, pop, indie rock and electronic.
Notable Icelandic Musicians: Bjork, GusGus, Voces Thules, The Sugarcubes, Emiliana Torrini, Pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, cellist Sæunn Þorsteinsdóttir and Daníel Bjarnason
Modern Musicians: Of Monsters and Men, Soley, Seabear, Leaves, Samaris, Lay Low, Thor, Mammut, KRAKKKBOT, Bang Gang, ADHD, Mugison, Sigur Ros