Sierra Nevada World Music Festival 1997

Ras Michael and The Sons of Negus

The history of Jamaican music does not begin with Ska, nor even with Fats Domino. It begins with those yanked from the shores of the Gold Coast and fettered to boil sugar cane. This is the ultimate origin of the cult of the Nyabinghi: orthodox Rastafarians who, like the Maroons in the 18th century, have taken to the hills, never to come back to Town. Ras Michael is one of the last living embodiments of this very old tradition of African drumming. He has been christened "Nyabinghi Specialist." He combines the trance-out heartbeat pounding of Nyabinghi drums with his own songs in the Rasta tradition. Ras Michael is a man whose work, spiritual communicating the increasingly threatened Rasta tradition, should not be ignored.

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