The Bands of the Jamaica Defence Force
There are two military bands in the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) - the Jamaica Military Band (JMB) and the Jamaica Regiment Band (JRB). Their musicians represent much of the public face of the Jamaica Defence Force – not only in Jamaica, but in the wider Caribbean and beyond; they represent also the rich traditions associated with Jamaica’s military history. Their musicianship - together with their precision and bearing and the splendour of their uniforms - captures the pride and glory of the JDF.
The Jamaica Military Band
The Jamaica Military Band has direct descent from the first of the old West India Regiments, which was formed in 1795 in the Windward Islands of the Eastern Caribbean. One of two units drafted into this regiment was the Black Carolina Corps, the remnant of a British loyalist regiment in the aftermath of the American War of Independence.
Through much of the 19th century, what is now the Jamaica Military Band was the band of the original and last surviving regiment, and thus came by its distinctive ‘Zouave’ uniform. This was first issued in 1858 and has been worn ever since by the members of the Band.
The Jamaica Regiment Band
The Jamaica Regiment Band and the infantry regiment of which it is a part, have a long lineage, being directly descended from the ancient Jamaica Militia of 1662. The unit traces its history through the West India Regiment.
In 1962 the Band, which had previously been that of the WIR, became the Band of the 1st Battalion the Jamaica Regiment; following the creation of a 2nd Battalion in 1979, it was renamed the Jamaica Regiment Band, and serves both regular Battalions. The full-dress uniform is a scarlet tunic with dark blue trousers.
Individually and combined, the bands have performed throughout the Caribbean, United States and the United Kingdom. A combined unit of both bands is very pleased to appear at the 2015 Bermuda Tattoo, celebrating the JDF’s rich association with the Bermuda Regiment. The Bermuda Regiment has, nearly every other year since the 1960’s, held its annual military training camp in Jamaica. These camps have also included joint training and workshops for the JDF and Bermuda Regiment Bands.