Most people have heard of the Rastafari, but beyond dreadlocks and the worship of Ethiopian emperor Haile Sellasie, the knowledge peters out. This document of their grounation ceremony, held every year on April 21 to commemorate Selassie's 1966 visit to Jamaica, is a true window on another world. Led by the venerable Count Ossie, the group sings, chants, plays and recounts an alternative history of the country. There are a few surprises, like a jazzy introduction, some apocalyptic poetry and the inclusion of the folk song “O Carolina,” but the heart of all this is “Grounation,” with its chants and powerful nyabinghi drumming (a direct connection to Africa), a religious affirmation of belief. Recorded in 1970, it gives great insight into a movement that's far more than hairstyles and ganja. This is deeply spiritual music, and a reminder that religion in many different forms is important throughout the Caribbean.
By Wondering Sound Staff on 12.11.14 in Features
Five music critics discuss the best, worst, and most significant moments in Latin music this year.
By Michaelangelo Matos on 12.08.14 in Reviews
For all the quality mining of African oldies over three and a half decades, it's not as if the coffers have been exhausted. Far from it, especially judging from this nonstop display of one of the great bands of the Congo...
By Claire Lobenfeld on 11.29.14 in News
Spice, Jamaica's queen of dancehall, is gearing up to release her debut EP So Mi Like It. With her contribution to Vybz Kartel's "Rampin Shop," another bananas collab between the two called "Conjugal Visit" and her most...
By John Schaefer on 11.24.14 in Reviews
In this 50th-anniversary romp through Terry Riley's In C, a brilliant ensemble of Malian musicians (mostly playing traditional instruments) joins forces with Damon Albarn, the globetrotting frontman of Blur and Gorillaz;...