I love Jamaica for a long list of amazing reasons that call to all the parts of my heart, life and character. But my first exposure was via the music… even before I met the inspiring people, ate the excellent fruits, walked the endlessly beautiful lands of Jamaica while learning and bowing to experiences that shift everything, learning and listening to leaders and elders, seeing sheer energy of the island… was the music. I was always a curious student, so I feel a responsibly to self educate, study and never stop learning and sharing. Music is a way to share stories, moments and experiences, extending to massive groups in subtle ways. To me, this beauty of musical art and moments in time are captured in historic images of Bob Marley and the heart soothing rhythmic sounds of reggae.
It was actually through the music of Sublime that I begin my research and interest in reggae music. 5446 was not an original, like other Sublime tunes which I know now were covers! Little did I know it was an old reggae song with a message (Side note, my cell number still ends in 5446, and not its not by accident #thatsmynumber). I got curious about this music that had a message and call to action, a message of courage, strength, power and history telling, uprising, calling for hearts near and far. A beat that calmed the soul and sparked the spirit. I didn’t understand when I was younger how revolutionary reggae music was, as this message music, nor did I truly understand its reach and impact until much later in life. I am still in awe of its impact and influences, and my understanding has really just begun! BOOM! Still today, as new waves of artists continue to spread the calls to action, the reminders of what has always been a baseline under the beat of movements of this time of leaders leading, rebels rebelling and calling out truths that are real, raw and roaring. The courage and inspiration to create what is to be.
Think for a moment, Reggae was born in Jamaica. A small island with a powerful presence, and a genre that is all over the world and has inspired inner and outer revolutions of all kinds. Start singing “One Love….” Almost anywhere in the world you will get a sing along. Small villages in Morocco, in Prague, small towns in France… all places I have heard the reggae beat. Reggae is more than music; it’s a lifestyle and an attitude and examination of the world. It’s a call to call, a plea, a story, a poem and praise. It is many forms. Of course, it’s also a large genre of music that is always in transition, and this is my short opinion in written words. Long voice reasoning would be more in depth and layered. Nothing but honour.
My big love is Roots. Roots to me are a positive vibration, a deep and steady beat, conscious lyrics and my favourite genre of the past. The artists were poets and prophets, putting lyrics and beats together in a manner that would slide straight to your heart. My other love is Dub. Nothing like the sounds of intertwining instruments, giving a layer to the sounds and a flavour to the air. Dub holds attention in a beautiful state, making the sounds dance that moves your body in such a mellow and natural way. Today’s artists of the Roots and Culture vibes, or what some are calling the Reggae Revival are carrying forward these anthems of action and knowledge even farther. The ambassadors and artists of these movements are traveling far and wide, the love of reggae is always present in the big festivals and more and more people are looking for the music that inspires great change.
Last year in Jamaica it was a total honour to participate and share yin yoga at an event at Rasta Village with many talented artists, great family, and excellent friends. It was a great privilege to hear the inspiring Chronixx sing (peeps a little video here). I saw so many of the artists that I love play on this same trip like Jah9, Jesse Royal, Kabaka Pyramid and of course one of my all time favourite in sound, Vaughn Benjamin rocking this newest project called Akea Beka. My teenage heart is still beating in the blessings of seeing and hearing music that has inspired my movements and the current versions of me are more than grateful to be in the presence of such magic and medicine
Sundays in Kingston also mean the joyful evenings up at Dub Club. A long standing night of upfull vibes, the best sounds, irie eats and the most excellent and royal company…not to mention the best sound system that rolls right into your bones. Bless up the medicine music and the makers and holders of these spaces and places! Gabre, a long time leader of sound and truth and the visionary of this space. A place to gather is an important thing in this world.
There are not enough words, gratitude or thank yous for all the reggae artists in the world, or there are not enough bows in order for the immense peace, joy and strength I get from my many months each year in Jamaica and the opportunities and moments I have the honour of experiencing. Life is a praised blessing and a deep gift in both the smooth and difficult moments. The music medicine and the lovers of this music fuel me and my work from depths that are indescribable. Love and endless blessings to my Jamaican soul family, that have take me on some epic adventures and shared some specially brewed offerings that have truly rooted me and offered my spirit so much. BOWS. LOVE to those on the path of great change, hearing the calls of the creation rebels for a new order, a new time and new ways of being. Bows to those that have changed their lives to serve this genre. Its not easy being an artist in this time, the endless efforts and offerings are often confused and not acknowledged. RESPECT to the keepers and holders of vibes that make these messages and moments possible. Great shifts are brewing and the drums and hearts are beating.
I love to share the names of my favourite artists and also help shift stereotypes or idea of what reggae music is and can stand for. It’s funny also how quickly we place things and people in categories. All art forms will always go through different movements and moments. New eyes to new things to hear and see for yourself without prejudice. Nothing like singing and sharing my favourite songs, the makers of music and players of instruments too. These are the songs that inspire my movements in the world. The music that has carried me and many others along challenging times. The music of not giving up, but carrying on and serving love and consciousness in the world. The music of rebels, leaders, lovers and wisdom carriers.