part 3

Part III

Ossie developed a notable reputation and eventually Prince Buster, then a singer-set deejay, decided to try some of Ossie's rhythms in the studio. With the "Fokes Brothers" on vocals, Ossie and his drummers providing African cross-rhythmic accompaniment and background harmonies, and Owen Gray playing contrasting American styled piano, Buster produced arguably the most famous, influential and important of early Jamaican records, "Oh Carolina'. This legendary session produced two other popular ska hits, 'They Got To Go' and 'Thirty Pieces of Silver', also known as 'Judas Charmer' (Chang 27).
'Oh Carolina' was Count Ossie's biggest hit, although the 1974 'Grounation' album gained a large following. This album was to be the beginning of what has become Jamaican musical industry, which has now become widespread internationally. Ossie and his group, The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, recorded the triple LP set in 1973. This album includes Rasta chants, drumming, and jazz-based instrumental expositions. It portrays a sound of Jamaican culture, percussion, and the roots of roots music (Barrow 163).

'Tales of Mozambique' was the next album created by Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. It was released in 1975, one year before Ossie's death. This album holds a mixture of Rasta chants, nyabinghi drumming, jazz-based horns work, and 'Oh Carolina' was released on this album. There is definite controversy over who was the original creator of the tune, 'Oh Carolna.' John Folkes, who did the song's vocals, says he wrote it and the British High Court supported his claims in November of 1994. Prince Buster does not agree that Folkes was the originator. The famous 'drop down' opening of the song is definitely copied note for note from the Carla and Rufus Thomas R&B hit 'Cause I Love You', released by Stax Records in August of 1960 (Chang 28).

Whatever the origin of 'Oh Carolina', Prince Buster, the Folkes Brothers, and Count Ossie changed the sound of Jamaican music. If one song can be singled out as signifying the birth of reggae, 'Oh Carolina is it'. Chris Blackwell makes this interesting comment, Count Ossie was a Rastafarian: and the main thing the Rastafarian element brought to Jamaica and to Jamaican music was a real recognition and honour of Africa. In American black music there was nothing at that time that was embracing the African heritage, there was very little notion then in the America of Afrocentricity. In Jamaica, though, there was a section of the population that was looking to the west and listening to Miami and New Orleans radio, but also there existed the Rastafarian element which was saying that Jamaicans should hang on to our cultural roots. This has been a key dynamic in Jamaican music (Chang 28).

'Oh Carolina', however, was an anomaly because it was a song ahead of its time. Most local songs of those years sounded like poor R&B imitations or Gospel music. Nyabinghi music was heard too sporadically to be considered a commercial trend in Jamaica. In the computerized 1990's, when hardcore ragga deejays including Caplton, Buju Banton, and Shabba Ranks electronically vocalized social and cultural concerns over rhythms that included traditional Rastafarian drumming (Barrow 162).
Robert Nesta Marley, the king of reggae music and thought by some to be a prophet of Jah RasTafarI, incorporated nyabinghi drumming and chants into his music. In Bob Marley: Songs of Freedom, Adrien Boot describes a burru drummer, Alvin 'Franseeco' Patterson's influence on Bob Marley through his lessons in rhythm.

An accomplished hand drummer, [Franseeco] had worked with a number of Jamaica's calypso groups. The burru style of drumming he played was an African Rhythm of liberation welcoming the return of released prisoners of war; it had been co-opted into Rastafari's Nyabinghi rhythms. And it was this blend of devotion and rebellious fervour that formed the basis of Nesta's understanding of rhythm (Boot 61).

The rhythms of reggae are based on nyabinghi, and the lyrics are social commentary.

His music, performance, and his appearance instantly gave him and his movement publicity. Later, Bob Marley recorded 'Rastaman Chant' on the album 'Burnin' in 1973. Accompanying the beat of nyabinghi, the lyrics of the traditional Rastafarian chant are as follows,

I hear the words of the Rasta man say
Babylon your throne gone down, gone down
Babylon your throne gone down
Said, I hear the words of the higher man say
Babylon your throne gone down, gone down
Babylon your thrown gone down
And I hear the angel with the seven seals
Babylon your throne gone down, gone down
Babylon your throne gone down
I say fly away home to Zion, fly away home
I say fly away to Zion, fly away home
One bright morning when my work is over
Man will fly away home
One bright morning when my work is over
Man will fly away home
One bright morning when my work is over
Man will fly away home
I say fly away home to Zion, fly away home
I say fly away to Zion, fly away home
One bright morning when my work is over
Man will fly away home.

At a Bob Marley and the Wailers concert in Philadelphia in April of 1976, Marley played the drum toward the conclusion of the show. This ritual invocation by Bob Marley was a solemn Nyabinghi chant depicting a traditional Rastafarian meeting. The music in this ritual performance was slow and included such lyrics as:
I'll wipe my weary eyes,
I'll wipe my weary eyes,
Dry up you' tears to meet Ras Tafari,
Dry up you' tears and come.

The tempo built with the Jamaican favorite: "I'll Fly Away," and concluded with the chant "One Lord, and One God, in Mount Zion" (Barrett 195). Ras Michael and his various and many drummers are the most well known musicians playing and recording Rasta or nyabinghi music. Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus also brought the nyabinghi music of Rastafarian meetings closer to the commercial reggae mainstream. For many years, the group has offered distinctive, inspired hand drumming, chants, and roots jazz fusion music. Using the burru rhythms as their foundation, and electric instruments and modern reggae perceptiveness, they were able to build a hybrid of old and new. At one time they seemed like the Grateful Dead of Reggae, but they also provided music to stir up good feelings in children (Davis 142). The group created nearly twenty albums including 'Nyabinghi' in 1974 to 'Rastafari' in 1975 to 'Lion Country' in 1998.

The Tommy Cowan-producaed hit single, "None A Jah Jah Children Cry" was released on the album 'Rastafari'. In the album 'Dadawah Peace and Love', released in 1975, Ras Michael's group were joined by some of Kingston's top studio musicians and used traditional Rasta chants as its fundamental material, but subjects it to elements from the reggae mainstream, and U.S. funk and rock. Arguably, the single most outstanding track of Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus may be "Numbered Days" on the album 'Movements'. This tune borrows a motif from Bob Marley's "Slave Driver" and the whole album mixes nyabinghi drumming with sorts of more commercial elements (Barrow 163). Other groups who recorded original Rasta music were The Light of Saba, Churchical Chants of Nyabinghi, and Rastafari Elders.

Reggae is not authentic Rasta music -- nyabinghi drumming is (Potash 254). Dub poet, Oku Onuoro speaks of the influences on, and the transformations of, reggae music. Because of the richness of reggae, because of the heritage of reggae in that where it's coming from, and the influences like, like African derived rhythms like mento, poco, kumina, which gave rise to Rastafarian chants, drummin', which gave rise to ska and then to rock steady. Because of this rich cultural heritage of the music, it is able to shift- the colorin', we are able to vary the color (Jahn 91).

Indeed every phase Jamaican music has gone through, from ska to reggae, is complete with examples of continued borrowing from folk or traditional sources, of which Rastafarian nyabinghi music is but one. And the source of Rastafarian nyabinghi is vastly elaborate and proves the power and struggle of the African culture to remain strong and ever-developing. The music of Africa can be described as infinite. This is also true then of African societies in which music, an omnipresent symbol, enters practically every aspect of life. Rastafarians convey this infinite legacy through their faith and music and are in constant loving praise of the One Divine Creator and Supreme Being. Drums have been considered the voice of the almighty throughout history in Africa and this belief has remained strong through the days of slavery. The Rastaman holds Africa in his soul with his constant love of, and devotion to Jah Ras TafarI.

Holy Grounation
The old woman,
Weathered black skin taut against her bones of agony,
Jumped the very earth, screaming blood and desolation.
She of the veiled eyes
That ended nowhere, in their depth,
And the haunted body that housed no ghost,
No memory within,
she. Only with soul, that told her
her father's blood,
her son's blood,
the very energy that ran through
her family,
lay desecrated, wasted
seeping through in to the ground's harsh thirst.
The drums beat on, the cadence rose,
That chant presumed to swallow reality itself.
And she jumped the very earth screaming
Blood, blood, blood. My mother and my father, my blood,
My sisters and my children, my blood.
Feet down stomping,
She jarred her own
bones. The sound of them as thunder, iunder,
more dread by imagination, as it lingers,
a mind-echo.
She, jumping the very ground,
Atrance with vengeance,
Screaming blood for the
The pollution,
The desecration. Of her mother earth,
her blood.


So  Sources for the article above:

* Barrett, Leonard. The Sun and the Drum. Heinemann Educational Books: London, 1976.
* Barret Sr., Leonard E. The Rastafarians. Boston: Beacon Press, 1997.
* Barrow, Steve and Peter Dalton. Reggae: The Rough Guide. London: Rough Guides Ltd., 1997.
* Boot, Adrien and Chris Salewicz. Bob Marley: Songs of Freedom. New York: Penguin Books, 1995.
* Chang, Kevin O'brien and Wayne Chen. Reggae Routes. Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers, 1998.
* Davis, Stephen and Peter Simon. Reggae Bloodlines. New York: DaCapo Press, 1992.
* Jackson, Irene. More Than Drumming. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1985.
* Jahn, Brian. Reggae Island. Jamaica: Kingston Publishers Limited, 1992.
* Marley, Robert. Rastaman Chant.
* Mulvaney, Rebekah Michele. Rastafari and Reggae. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1990.
* Nicholas, Tracy and Bill Sparrow. Rastafari. Chicago: Research Associates Publications, 1996
* Potash, Chris. Reggae, Rasta, Revolution. New York: Schirmer Books, 1997.
* Roberts, John Storm. Black Music of Two Worlds. London: Prentice Hall International, 1998.
* Turner, Teresa E. The New Society. Call # XB 917




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Bonjour et bienvenue à tous les passionnés des tambours Nyabinghi.

Je vis en france et construit des percussions keteh, repeater, fundeh, bassdrum depuis 2005.

Je vends et j'expedie mes tambours en france et en europe.

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