The surprising story of the connection between Chinese immigration to Jamaica and the formation of rocksteady, reggae and dub music in the 1960s and ’70s is something we’ve scratched at here at RADII, but it’s a deep and fascinating topic that hasn’t really been done proper justice. Until now, that is: the magazine topic has just published a fabulous, long-form comic about “the long, strange story of how China and reggae came together” for their June 2019 music-themed issue.
The comic, by Beijing-based comic book artist and illustrator (and RADII contributor) Krish Raghav, begins its timeline with the earliest Chinese migrants to Jamaica in the 1850s, winds around to the key role of Chinese-Jamaican producers and distributors like Vincent and Patricia Chin in exporting the fledgling genre in the 1970s, eventually working its way full circle to the early adoption of reggae by incipient Beijing rocker Cui Jian, and ending with the full-blown reggae scene that thrives in present-day Yunnan province in southwestern China.
The comic is full of deeply researched and lovingly illustrated ephemera that are sure to please music and comic nerds alike.
Read the full comic on topic.com
Read the full comic, helpfully studded with Soundcloud embeds of relevant tracks, over at topic‘s site, and listen on in this eight-track YouTube playlist made to accompany the piece. If you enjoy deep-dive musical histories in Krish’s inimitable visual style, RADII has another treat in store for next month, so stay tuned….
Cover image: topic.com
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Yin: Rare Rocksteady Version of Stephen Cheng’s “Always Together”
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