World of Reggae Music–Roots and Culture: Rastaman

World of Reggae Music: Roots and Culture

Rastaman

Red, gold, and green flags emblazoned with the Lion of Judah fly above swirling clouds of ganja smoke while pulsing bass and driving reggae riddims flow through sound systems stacked ten-feet high. This edition of the World of Reggae Music Collection is entitled Roots and Culture. This first volume of Roots and Culture features the Rastaman. The Rastaman is an integral part of Caribbean culture and the reggae movement.

Rita Marleyintroduced Robert Nesta Marley to the foundations of the Rastafarian religion or “way of life.” She had seen the Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I on his visit to Jamaica and had been struck by the spirit on seeing what she believed to be an incarnation of God, Jah Rastafari. Bob Marley and The Wailers later became a great messenger of the “king’s music.”

Bob Marley and The Wailers, the I-Threes (Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, and Marcia Griffiths), Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailerall professed to the wisdom of Jah in their music. Not only did Marley and the Wailer family play roots and culture reggae, but so did the great rastaman icons Burning Spear, Dennis Brown, and Jacob Miller. The Rastafarian-inspired bands The Abyssinians, Black Uhuru, Aswad, Gladiators, The Melodians, The Mighty Diamonds, Steel Pulse, Culture,Wailing Souls, Third World, Israel Vibration, The Itals, and The Heptones rocked reggae for crowds of thousands of listeners and fired the souls and imaginations of millions of fans.

Not only the great reggae bands played tribute to the roots and culture of the rastaman, but so did the finest singjays from Dillinger, Barrington Levy, Ranking JoeSizzla, and Luciano to Buju Banton, Half Pint, Capleton, Anthony B, and Konshens. From the young to the old, from Tarrus Riley, Gyptian, Morgan Heritage, Alborosie, and Bushman to the old-school reggae originals of Jimmy RileyHorace Andy, Johnny Clarke, and Cornell Campbell, Rastafarian culture and reggae still captures the pulse of an Island people.

The AbyssiniansSatta Massagana

Capleton – Raggy Road

Bob Marley & the WailersRastaman Chant

Sly & Robbie – Rastaman Chant

Stephen Marley & Ziggy Marley – The Chapel

Black Uhuru & the Revolutionaries Dread In The Mountain

AswadCandles

The Melodians Rivers Of Babylon

Linval Thompson & U-Roy – Don’t Cut Off Your Dreadlocks & Joyful Locks

Steel PulseNot King James Version

Josey Wales – Bobo Dread

VC – By His Deeds

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Rastaman Live Up!

Burning Spear – Old Marcus Garvey

Burning Spear – Farther East of Jack

Chronixx – Capture Land

Sizzla – Praise Ye Jah

Peter ToshIgziabeher (Let Jah Be Praised)

Alborosie & Michael Rose – Callin’

Barrington LevyA Yah We Deh

Bunny Wailer, Toot & the MaytalsTake A Trip

The Heptones Cool Rasta

Luciano – It’s Me Again Jah

The ShadowsBrother Noah

Buju Banton – Untold Stories

Gregory IsaacsThief a Man

Jacob MillerTenement Yard

Israel Vibration Jericho

Busy Signal – Nah Follow Dem

Morgan HeritageDown By The River

Bob Marley & the Wailers Positive Vibration

The Mighty Diamonds – I Need A Roof

Ini Kamoze – I Want Ital

Delroy Wilson – Rascal Man

Tony Rebel – Jah Is By My Side

Kiddus I – Graduation In Zion

Sizzla – Rastaman Chant

Third World – Cool Meditation

Jah Cure – Trod in the Valley

Dennis Brown – To the Foundation

Luciano & Sizzla – Jah Blessing

Fred Locks – Black Star Liner

Willie Williams – Armagideon Time

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Jah Live

Sly & Robbie – Jah Live

Raging Fyah – Jah Glory

The Abyssinians – Declaration Of Rights

Buju Banton – Give I Strength

Steel Pulse – Babylon Makes The Rules

Chronixx – Rastaman Wheel Out

Burning Spear – Red, Gold & Green

Burning Spear – Workshop

Alborosie – I Rusalem

The Wailing Souls – Kingdom Rise Kingdom Fall

Black Uhuru – Whole World Is Africa

Alton Ellis – Back To Africa

Gentleman – Jah Jah Never Fail

Tenor Saw – Jah Guide and Protect Me

Tenor Saw – Jah Guide Dub

Alborosie – Rastafari Anthem

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Natty Dread

Irie Love – Put Jah First

Garnett Silk – Kingly Character

Horace Andy – Psalm 68

Horace Andy – Dub 68

Half Pint – Bless Us

Buju Banton – ‘Til I’m Laid To Rest

Johnny Clarke – Satta Massagana

I-Roy – Satta

Cocoa Tea – Heathen

Anthony B & Horace Andy – Enter The Kingdom of Zion

J.O.E. – Rasta Chant

The Abyssinians – Y Mas Gan

Alborosie – Dung A Babylon

Toyan – Dread in a Babylon

Damian Marley & Nas – Africa Must Wake Up

Sugar Minott – Black Roots

Burning Spear – Lion

Third World – Dreamland

Tarrus Riley – Love Created I

Johnny Clarke – Be Holy My Brothers And Sisters

Israel Vibration – We a De Rasta

Burning Spear – Jah No Dead

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Iron Lion Zion

Tenor Saw – Who’s Gonna Help Me Praise

Black-Am-I – Samson Strength

Black Uhuru – I Love King Selassie

Mad Cobra – Salassi I Rule

The Mighty Diamonds – Africa

Busy Signal – Jah Love

Ranking Joe & Michael Rose – Poor Man Struggle

Alborosie – Humbleness

Steel Pulse – Biko’s Kindred Lament

The Gladiators – Roots Natty

Sizzla – Black Woman & Child

Busy Signal – Run Whey

Gentleman – Strange Things

Raging Fyah – Music Isn’t Biased

Alborosie – Still Blazing

Yabby You – Conquering Lion

Burning Spear – Calling Rastafari

The Itals – Roll River Jordan

Johnny Clarke – Enter Into His Gates

Third World – Satta Massagana

Raging Fyah – Behold

Israel Vibration – Sodom and Gomarrah

Cornell Campbell – Lion of Judah

Freddie McGregor – Be Alright

Anthony B – Give Praises

Cocoa Tea – Holy Mount Zion

Bunny Wailer – Rastaman

The Mighty Diamonds – jah Will Work It Out

Johnny Clarke – False Rasta

Alborosie – Grow Your Dreads

Richie Spice – Better Tomorrow

Alton Ellis – True Born African

Black Uhuru – Leaving to Zion

Culture – Get Ready To Ride The Lion To Zion

Aswad – Back To Africa

The Mighty Diamonds – Jah Jah Bless The Dreadlocks

Ras Michael And The Sons Of Negus – Rise Jah Jah Children (The Lion Sleeps)

The Wailing SoulsJah Give Us Life

Winston Francis Going to Zion

Sylford Walker & Welton Irie – Chant Down Babylon

Alborosie – Call Up Jah

Morgan Heritage – Hail Up the Lion

Michael Prophet – Jah Love

NEED

Capleton & Luciano – Hail King Selassie

SizzlaReally And Truly

Patrick Andy – Living in Mount Zion

Wayne Wade – Poor and Humble

Ras Bug – Fisherman

I-Roy – Rootsman

Freddie McGregor – Rastaman Camp

Willie Francis – Let’s Go To Zion

Earth & Stone – False Ruler

BushmanKing Selassie I

Determinejah a mi sponsor

LucianoJah Is My Navigator

Horace Andy – Children of Israel

Justin Hinds & the Dominoes – Jordan River

Sugar Minott – Rome

Devon Irons – When Jah Comes

Max Romeo – Babylon’s Burning

Luciano – Jah Live

Morgan Heritage – Set Yourself Free

Bushman – What’s the Matter With the World

Beres Hammond & Flourgon – I Love Jah

Garnett Silk – Mama Africa

Culture – Humble African

Anthony Cruz & Marlene Johnson – Africa

Tarrus Riley – Marcus Teaching

Sylford Walker – Jah Golden Pen

Black Uhuru – Going To Zion

Hell & Fire – Show Us The Way

Little Roy – Bongo Nyah

Junior Byles – King Of Babylon

Konshens – Rasta Imposter

Luciano & Candy Man – Dem No Know Jah

Max Roemo, Conrad Crystal, & Suga Roy – Chant Rasta

Peter Tosh – Mama Africa

Alborosie – I Am

Frankie Paul – Red, Gold, and Green

Cornell Campbell – I Heart Is Clean/Zinc Fence

Dillinger – Gate Number

Pancho Alphonso & the Revolutionaries – Never Give Up In Babylon

Burning Spear – Jah Is Real

Jimmy Riley – Tell The Youths The Truth

Dolphin Morris & Prince Far I – Su Su Pan Rasta / Heavy Manners

Gregory Isaacs – Babylon Too Rough

Culture – Jah Rastafari 

The Wailing Souls – They Don’t Know Jah

Jacob Miller – I’m A Rastaman

Conrad Crystal, Suga Roy, & Gyptian – Jah Jah See Dem

Jah Is My Navigator

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World of Reggae Music–Roots and Culture: Rastaman

Reggae on the River 2009 – Reggae on the River in Humboldt County

I got to attend this year’s Reggae on the River Festival in Southern Humboldt County, California. The festival had a great local community feel and funds raised went to support the Mateel Community Center in Redway, California. The Eel River flowed through the picturesque venue located at Benbow State Recreational Area. Reggae on the River celebrated its 25th Anniversary in fine style. Positive vibrations flowed all day long. Soul Majestic played early in the day bringing their brand of soul-drenched reggae to the stage. The track “First Light” set the vibe and songs like “Rough N’ Tuff ” displayed the musical prowess of this young group. Soul Majestic also played the single “Better World,” which dovetails nicely with their positive vibe and eco-friendly message.

Queen Omega ignited the stage with soul, dancehall, and roots reggae. A native of Trinidad and Tobago Queen Omega sang “Love Ya Color,” “Judgement,” “Warning,” and “Ganja Baby” to an appreciative crowd.  The Roots Revealers bought Jamaican dancehall to northern California playing the songs “Long Road” and “No More Killing.”

The crowd-pleasing crown princess of roots reggae Etana turned it up a notch dropping the killer hits “Roots” and “Blessing.” The lovely songstress covered some Bob Marley and the Wailers tunes creating a wonderful vibe with the classic “One Drop.” Etana played some tracks from her newest hit album The Strong One performing “Jah Chariot” and “Don’t Forget,” and “Caltariba System.” And I was pleasantly surprised by Etana‘s cover of the Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down.” Etana finished her set singing “I Am Not Afraid,” which is from one of my favorite riddims: the “Rub-A-Dub” riddim.

The legendary vocal group from Jamaica The Abyssinians took the stage under the afternoon sun. Roots reggae filled the air with classic tunes like “Y Mas Gan,” “African Race,” “Let My Days Be Long,”  “Meditation,” and “Know Jah Today.” The Abyssinians took us to the Bible and the book of Daniel with “Abendigo,” turning the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendigo into a wonderful reggae and dub experience. And of course the reggae legends performed their megahits from the Satta Massagana album, including “Peculiar Number,” “Black Man’s Strain,” “Declaration Of Rights,” “Forward Unto Zion,” and “Satta Massagana.”

The Abyssinians at Reggae on the River 2009
The Abyssinians at Reggae on the River 2009
The Abyssinians Dancing at Reggae on the River 2009
The Abyssinians Dancing at Reggae on the River 2009

Tanya Stephens livened things up with a raunchy-rough riding performance that included plenty of references to “long ding dongs” with high-energy versions of “Boom Wuk” and “Good Ride.” The dancehall favorite “Yuh Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet” set a playful vibe and then she played the killer singles “Can’t Breathe,” “It’s A Pity,” and “These Streets.” Stephens showed her soulful side too with songs like “What Ah Day” and “Little White Lie.” But it seemed Stephens dominated with the playful tunes like “Tek Him Back” and “To The Rescue.”

Tanya Stephens at Reggae on the River 2009
Tanya Stephens at Reggae on the River 2009
Tanya Stephens at Reggae on the River 2009, California
Tanya Stephens at Reggae on the River 2009, California

Then the Yellow Wall Dub Squad took the stage to warm it up for The Mighty Diamonds. The bassist sang the song “Overlaod” and then King David sang a reggae version of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.” The Mighty Diamonds entered the stage and played “Poor Marcus Garvey” and “Rise Up” from the album titled Rise Up. The roots reggae gems “Have Mercy,” “Right Time,” “Africa,” and “I Need A Roof” all made the set list. The “I Need A Roof” jam extended and transitioned into a cover of the Bob Marley‘s anthem “Get Up, Stand Up.” An extended version of “Pass The Kutchie” and a sweet version of the Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions tune “It’s All Rightt” capped off the set. Etana, The Abyssinians, Soul Majestic, Queen Omega, and The Mighty Diamonds then returned to the stage and all performed together for a finale. The all-star group of reggae performers sang the Bob Marley and the Wailers classic hit “One Love / People Get Ready.”

The Eel River at Reggae on the River 2009
The Eel River at Reggae on the River 2009
Dancin' Crowd at Reggae on the River 2009
Dancin' Crowd at Reggae on the River 2009

Reggae on the River 2009 – Reggae on the River in Humboldt County