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“NYAHBINGHI SOUND GETS LITTLE RESPECT IN JAMAICA” SAY RAS MICHAEL!

 Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus performed at Exhibition entitled Discovering Rastafari at the Smithsonian’s. (Photo: embassyofjamaica.org)—-

KINGSTON, Jamaica – —

Master drummer Ras Michael says the Nyahbinghi sound he helped make famous in the 1970s, gets little respect in Jamaica.

In fact, the 72-year-old founder of the Sons of Negus group, believes the beat synonymous with the Rastafarian movement, is more revered in Europe.

“When mi go France last year at the Garance Festival, people come from all over fi hear the music,” he told the Jamaica Observer last week. “Some people sey, ‘we come from Poland to hear you, we know your music for ages’. Yuh don’t get that here.”

Ras Michael, who lives in Los Angeles, is in Jamaica for events celebrating February as Reggae Month. Along with his son Michael Nkrumah and grand-daughter Amsha, he performed at the Reggae Bloodlines show last Thursday at Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre.

The previous day, he participated in a music industry seminar at the same venue.

Ras Michael

Ras Michael

Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus built on the pioneer work of Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, an influential band of drummers who made music from their east Kingston base in Rockfort during the 1950s and 1960s.

The Sons of Negus recorded powerful songs such as New Name and The Lion of Judah, as well as the outstanding album, Dadawah, released in 1974.

Traditional drumming is not popular among young Jamaican musicians. And though he is familiar with some new wave roots-reggae acts, Ras Michael is not eager to work with young artists to introduce his music to a contemporary audience.

“If a man approach me with it, him woulda haffi come with a consciousness like wha’ I have for the music. Fi a man jus’ jump pon my rhythm dem jus’ so, dat’s not for me,” he said.

RasMichael:80s

Born Michael Henry in St Mary, Ras Michael grew up in Trench Town where he was inspired by the teachings of Rastafarian elder Mortimo Planno. He began recording in the mid-1960s and also hosted a radio show (The Lion of Judah Time) on the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation.

–By Howard Campbell

 

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