Redemption Songs
June 21, 2019 6:39 PM   Subscribe

Redemption Songs
I drew a longform comic on the fascinating, intertwined story of China and reggae. Chinese Jamaican music producers helped turn reggae into a global sensation—one that would eventually reach all the way to the country their ancestors had left behind.

The transcendental riddim of reggae was born in revolution exactly 50 years ago. The signature sound of its golden age was built by Chinese-Jamaicans, hakka migrants who’d set sail from the port of Guangzhou as indentured labour.

Leslie Kong, ice-cream maker and record label owner, was the first person to record Bob Marley, and launched the careers of everyone from Toots & the Maytals to The Wailers. Patricia and Vincent Chin set up VP Records in the late 60s, a formidable roots powerhouse that took reggae, dub and dancehall global.

It would take three decades, however, to reach their former homeland. The wait was worth it. In a strange mirror of the ferment that produced the genre, the word-sound-and-power of reggae has found a strange, powerful calling in China today – as one of the last surviving, thriving, form of protest music in a tightly-controlled state.
Role: Writer and Illustrator
posted by beijingbrown (4 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by Bella Donna on June 25, 2019: Redemption Songs

This is awesome! Saw it linked in Anne Helen Peterson’s Facebook group.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:51 PM on June 21


This is really, really neat!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:08 AM on June 25


Awesome. Love how you mix in the actual songs.
posted by signal at 5:32 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


Really cool! Can’t wait to listen to this music.
posted by sallybrown at 6:08 PM on June 25


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