Mentor is a distinct style of Jamaican music that emerged in the early sass’s and is not to be confused with Jamaican calypso. Mentor, much like other Caribbean folk music, is a blending of African rhythms, Latin rhythms, and Anglo folksongs. Mentor draws its traditions from African slaves brought to Jamaica and some European folk culture. Slaves were sometimes made to play music, singing European folk songs which largely influenced the development of Mentor.
Inevitably, the slaves would infuse their own traditions with the music and it became common practice to sing Mentor songs about social lives of the people. In Jamaica, Mentor is sometimes referred to as country music, because of it light hearted and simplistic lyrics as well as the omitting of electric instruments. A Mentor band typically consists of a banjo, an acoustic guitar, hand drums and rumba box and is characterized by a 3:3:2 rhythms with an emphasis on the fourth beat in each bar.
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Mentor came to real prominence in he sass’s and sass’s before being displaced by aka, rock steady and reggae. It wasn’t until the early sass that true Mentor recordings first began to appear on 78 RPM discs. This decade was mentor’s golden age, as a variety of artists recorded Mentor songs in an assortment of rhythms and styles. It was the peak of mentor’s creativity and popularity in Jamaica and the birth of Jamaican recording industry. These recordings reveal Mentor to be a diverse musical genre, sometimes played with reckless abandon and other times with orderly precision.
In addition to mentor’s African and European roots, by this time, It had also encompassed pan-Caribbean influences, as well as from American Jazz. Although It was Informed by a world of music, mentor Is clearly, uniquely Jamaican. And as Jamaican original music, all other Jamaican music can trace Its roots to mentor . Mentor Is still listened to In Jamaica today, but mostly be heard In tourist destinations. Early recordings of traditional mentor are difficult to find. Some early mentor practitioners were Slim and Slam, Count Lasher and Average Williams.