These 10 BLOG posts are from my amazing trip to Jamaica where I was conducting research for the Newbury Comics Faculty Fellowship grant I received (from Berklee College of Music, where I am associate professor of piano and teach a class on Bob Marley) to produce a reggae education video.
Good morning! Got a good night of sleep, much needed. Before heading out for the day here's a quick blast about this past Saturday. I had the opportunity to partake in a Rastafarian sabbath ceremony....VERY high in the Blue Mountains above Kingston, this of course, big thanks to Maroghini Maro. We drove and drove up the windy and downright dangerous curvy roads past a section in the hills called "The Red Light District" and parked. Then hiked up a fairly strenuous trail through the amazingly beautiful tropical rain forest (I'm assuming this is officially classified as such). It was drizziling a bit and the fog was wafting around with some occasional sun breaking through....a truly mystical journey, and how appropriate dat!?
Our destination was the Rastafari School of Vision lead by the charismatic and learned priest Dermot Fagan. We were just in time for the last half of his sermon and I sat listening intently, then joined in the closing prayer.
Afterwards the LONG nayabinghi chant began and true to all sacred drumming practices, it starts low and slow then builds to great intensity of movement, on every level; physical, spiritual, psychic. We were given permission to shoot some video. I've always LOVED the heart beat riddim of the funde and it is said that such a riddim is closest to the beating of the human heart at rest. Perhaps this is why, for me, the nayabinghi transcends all formal religious practices. ALSO, the role of this drumming style in reggae is charged with directly bringing the spirit of Rastafari into the song and the part that brings the absolute intensity of intent to CRASH BABYLON rings strong and true to my soul and intent as a musician.
(If you're not quite sure what Babylon System is...check fi dis.)