The complex evolution of Jamaican popular music and the idiosyncrasies of British reggae will be the focus of the Reggae University sessions.
This space for learning about Jamaican culture that enhances the festival's daytime agenda will also explore the different forms of dub poetry, the global rise of Afrobeats and the importance of Rastafari both inside and outside Jamaica.

The complex evolution of Jamaican popular music and the distinctive features of British reggae are two of the main topics that will be on the agenda of the Reggae University at Rototom Sunsplash. The meaning of dub poetry, the importance of Marcus Garvey and the incredible rise of Afrobeats will also be addressed in the different sessions scheduled in this temple for learning Jamaican music, one of the vital spaces on which the daytime programming of Europe’s largest reggae festival revolves.

Once again, Reggae University maintains a similar schedule to previous editions, with film screenings starting between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m., followed by talks from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., just before the Main Stage music program begins.

This journey of learning and interaction through reggae will begin on August 16 with the screening of ‘We must change the world’, from Tommaso D’Elia (Italy, 2023) and with a celebration of the iconic Ariwa label, which Mad Professor has directed in London for the past 50 years, followed by a master class given by himself, which will allow the audience to participate in a practical way. Also this first day will host the exclusive presentation of the book in Spanish ‘La Isla del Tesoro. Historia de la Música Jamaicana del siglo XX’ (2023, Caligrama), with Carlos Monty, Ragnampaisser, Doctor Decker and David Katz.

Benicassim, 17/08/2015 – Sunsplash 2015 – REGGAE UNIVERSITY/BUNNY WAILER – Photo by Luca d’Agostino © Rototom 2015

On August 18, Professor Donna Hope of the Institute of Caribbean Studies at the University of the West Indies (Jamaica) and visual artist and editor Carla Lamoyi of Fiebre Ediciones in Mexico City will launch their bilingual book ‘Dancehall Queen: Erotic Subversion/Subversión Erótica’. On August 17, Professor Werner Zips of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna will engage in conversation with the pioneering Jamaican dub poet Mutabaruka. In addition, throughout the week there will be round tables with artists such as Kabaka Pyramid, winner of the 2023 Grammy Award for best reggae album, Inna De Yard, Linval Thompson, Willi Williams, Roberto Sanchez, Don Carlos, Anthony B, Don Letts, Gaudi, Nigerian Afrobeats queen Yemi Alade and renowned dancehall artist Chi Ching Ching, to explore all things reggae, dancehall and beyond.

As for this year’s film content, on August 17, the movie ‘African Redemption’ from Roy T Anderson, in a national premiere, will contribute to a better understanding of the relevance of Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican hero of black self-determination; the screening of the documentary ‘Rebel Dread’ on the 21st will give context to the session with. Don Letts and Gaudi; and the screening of the documentary ‘Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica’ on the 19th will showcase the acoustic reggae project by Inna De Yard led by veterans such as Cedric Myton, Kiddus I, Winston McAnuff and Keith and Tex. The national premiere of ‘Strictly Prohibited’, to be screened on the 18th, will shed light on the controversy surrounding the recent ban on dancehall radio airplay in Jamaica; and the 20th screening, also a national premiere, of ‘OutDeh: The Youth of Jamaica’, will explore the many difficulties currently faced by young people residing on the island.

Throughout the week, renowned artists from the main stage such as Kabaka Pyramid, Anthony B, Linval Thompson, Willi Williams, Roberto Sanchez, David Hinds and Selwyn Brown of Steel Pulse, Mutabaruka, Yemi Alade and Chi Ching Ching, will be among the guests who will bring those stories behind the music. In addition, on August 20, members of House of Rastafari will offer a seminar on the relationship of Rastafarianism to the relentless pursuit of peace, both individual and global.

In addition to this session at Reggae University, House Of Rastafarianother of the epicenters of Rastafari culture within the Rototom Sunsplash, has organized its own programming in its space with different seminars in tune with the general theme of the festival, ‘United for Peace’, in which they will share with the public the Rastafari approach to peace.

With Rasta artist Iqulah Rastafari as special guest, the event will be chaired by Ras Julio and Ras Ibi. As every year, the sessions will be opened by the Nyahbinghi chants, the sacred Rastafari chants.

Thus, the Rastafari path towards inner freedom to build individual and universal peace, or the works and mission of Haile Selassie I will be discussed. The program of House Of Rastafari will also address how the ‘Ital living’ tradition teaches how to use diet and lifestyle to generate and enhance peace of mind and body.

Share this!