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Reggae Christmas Songs

Reggae

Reggae is a relatively new music genre, developed in Jamaica in the 1960s. Although most Jamaican music is often thought of as being reggae, the term 'reggae' actually describes a particular rhythm and style, usually slower than ska or rocksteady. No-one is quite sure exactly where the word 'reggae' comes from - some artists claim that it is derived from the word streggae, used to describe someone who looks 'raggedy', whilst others claim that it is derived from the sounds made on the organs and guitar. Reggae music has a distinct style and this distinct style lends itself well to laidback Christmas music - so sit back with something tropical and relax into the sounds of Christmas with our list of reggae Christmas music.

1) The RAS Family - We Wish You A Merry Christmas

If Christmas classics are your favourite type of Christmas music, you'll love this version of classic Christmas carol We Wish You A Merry Christmas. With a laidback vibe and a beat that you can groove to, this is one of the real classic reggae Christmas songs. Plus, it showcases the vocals of some of the best reggae artists: Peter Broggs, Don Carlos, Freddie McGregor, Michigan & Smiley, June Lodge, Glenice Spenser, Eek-A-Mouse and Pablo Black.

2) Eek-A-Mouse - The Night Before Christmas

Eek-A-Mouse, also known by his birth name Ripton Hylton is a Jamaican reggae musician and singer who has been releasing music since he was in college - in fact, his first records were produced by his maths teacher! This Christmas offering from him is a cover of another classic carol, The Night Before Christmas, and is a little darker than and not quite as frivolous as some of the other songs on our list - but it's still fantastic.

3) Pablo Black - Silent Night

This fantastic reggae cover of classic carol Silent Night is absolutely a wonderful example of reggae music - and it's an even better example of reggae Christmas music. Pablo Black is a Jamaican reggae musician and producer and is a well-known artist on the reggae circuit. This song would be a definite welcome addition to any Christmas driving playlist.

4) Peter Broggs - Twelve Days of Christmas

This slowed-down version of classic song Twelve Days of Christmas, by internationally-recognised reggae artist and musician Peter Broggs is one of our favourite Christmas covers ever. The new reggae lyrics and pared down backing track really show off Broggs' smooth reggae vocals to perfection.

5) Freddie McGregor - Feliz Navidad

Feliz Navidad is a traditional Spanish Christmas song that was originally written by Jose Feliciano in 1970. Since then, the song has been covered many times by many different artists, including Celine Dion, and has become a classic song in the U.S., the Philippines and Canada. This reggae version puts a spin on the traditionally Spanish-inspired Christmas song and it's a real gem. Definitely worth a place on your Christmas playlist.

6) Don Carlos & Glenice Spencer - Jingle Bells

This version of absolute classic Jingle Bells is both reggae and traditional, making it a wonderful mix of the two styles. With classic sleigh bells but also a typical reggae beat, this is a brilliant example of Don's vocals. Don was very popular during the 80s dance hall craze but this Christmas offering from him is distinctly reggae in flavour.

7) June Lodge - Joy to the World

This is a brilliant reggae tune with English music influences. Sung by June Lodge, an English singer born to a Jamaican father, June was taken to Jamaica as a child where she was immersed in reggae culture and sung along to everything she heard. Lodge has released mainly reggae records, although she's also released R&B and pop records. This version of Joy to the World is both traditional and reggae in style and shows off June's unique vocals in a lovely, festive way.

8) Michigan & Smiley - Drummer Boy

This genius reggae dancehall version of Christmas classic Drummer Boy is perfect for having a boogie to. With the classic reggae beat, a stylised backing track and some inventive new interpretations of the original arrangement, this is definitely one for any Christmas disco playlist.

9) Barrington Levy - I Saw Mommy Kiss a Deadlocks

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus is probably one of the most popular Christmas songs of our time - it's one of those songs that everyone can remember and that pretty much everyone knows the words to. Because of that, this reggae version is likely to come as a surprise - with entirely new reggae lyrics, describing mommy kissing a man with dreadlocks underneath the barley tree, this is a brilliant Christmas cover.

10) Bryan Adams - Reggae Christmas

Bryan Adams isn't particularly well known for his reggae roots, but this reggae-style Christmas offering from him is actually far more authentic than you might think. This song has the classic reggae beat and Adams' vocals are also slower and more laidback than usual, making this song, in our opinion, a genius reggae Christmas number.

11) Yellowman - We Wish A Reggae Christmas

Reggae artist, DJ and musician Yellowman is also a dancehall DJ, widely known across the reggae scene as King Yellowman. This Christmassy offering from him is yet another brilliant combination of classic and reggae - chock a block of sleigh bells and violins set to a reggae beat, Yellowman wishes us a Reggae Christmas and a Reggae New Year in this wonderful festive treat.

12) Bob Marley & The Wailers - White Christmas

Bob Marley, probably one of the most well-known reggae artists of all time, often heralded as the King of Reggae is up next with The Wailers with this stellar version of White Christmas. It's still a slow and traditional Christmas number, but with Bob's wonderful vocals and slow and sultry style of singing pepping it up. Give this a listen if you're looking for something a little different this Christmas.

13) The Dreadlocks - Santa Claus is Coming to Town

The rather aptly named band The Dreadlocks are 13th on our list with this sunshine-filled version of classic number Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Taken from the album A Reggae Christmas: Yule Favourites With A Reggae Beat, this is another great blend of classic and reggae styles to create an overall wonderful festive number.

14) Honey Boy - Away In A Manger

This is Away In A Manger like you've never, ever heard it before. With a dancey reggae beat, staccato reggae vocals, it also morphs into Jingle Bells halfway through to give you two classic Christmas songs for the price of one! Honey Boy is a hugely influential reggae artist and this festive offering from him is absolutely one of the best Christmas covers we've heard.

15) Thriller U - It's Christmas

This festive tune from Jamaican reggae singer is one of the more modern songs on our list - with a definite popular R&B feel and a slow and smoochy backing track, this is the perfect song for having a slow dance to this Christmas!

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