Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2017

Peter Fowler
Taxonomy of Jamaican Music
Peter Fowler
Taxonomy of Jamaican Music

Did you know that punk rock is influenced by Jamaican music? Congratulations if you do, as very few people are aware of the influence that Jamaican music has had and continues to have on musical genres from around the world.

As I was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but moved to Boston, Massachusetts when I was eleven, before my musical interests were cultivated, it was not until moving to West Palm Beach, Florida that my interest in Jamaican culture grew. Not many Jamaicans resided in Boston and I did not find my Jamaican mother “cool.” In Florida I met new friends who taught me aspects of the island’s culture such as Sound Clashes. One friend in particular, explained the subtleties of sound system culture like what dub-plates are and their significance to Sound Clashes.

Modern music as we know it today is a combination of these clashes and sounds in a way that most people are unaware of. This lack of awareness has led to the belief that Jamaican music is limited to reggae. Enlightenment on Jamaican music and its influences is the primary purpose of my project. During my research as I delved into much of the islands music and history, patterns were revealed that displayed how the evolution of Jamaican music often paralleled shifts within the political climate of the country. The main goal of this project is to create an interactive map of Jamaican music for users to explore from auditory and informational perspectives.

Audrey Farnsworth
Myesha Evon Gardner
The Hairspace Project