Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari, Grounation

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews


Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari
An insight into a movement that’s far more than hairstyles and ganja.

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.