Sierra Nevada World Music Festival 1998

Mystic Revealers

The Mystic Revealers, who formed in 1978, draw from a wealth of musical influences. Nicholas Henry, an accomplished producer in his own right, learned his craft while playing with Earth Disciplines of Jalan and formed a group with singer Jack Radics before joining the Mystic Revealers. Christopher "Sky Juice" Burth has worked with Jamaica's legendary drummer/bassist duo Sly & Robbie, Black Uhuru, and the Wailers. Trinidadian-born Clarence Charles explored R & B music while playing with Aretha Franklin, Barry White, and Love Unlimited. Paul Smith has played with the Flex band backing great talents like DJ Buju Banton.

Billy Mystic, the youngest son of two journalists living in Bully Bay, (eight miles from Kingston), grew up in admiration of popular singers and vocal groups like Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Freddie McGregor, Barrington Levy, the Mighty Diamonds, and naturally, Bob Marley. "I was never a fan of one particular singer; I was more a fan of individual songs," said Mystic, who took up the guitar in his early twenties. "It was as if any song that Bob Marley sang was my favorite. Growing up in the late '70s, I was influenced by that era of music. Music was always a spiritual expression rather than a way to make money or gain radio exposure. Whenever I had a strong emotional experience, whether it was personal, whether it happened to someone I knew, I would dwell on it so much. While I was practicing and playing my guitar, I would find that music was an outlet for me to express my strong opinions.

According to Billy Mystic, co-founder and principal songwriter, all of the songs on their current release, This One's for Jah (Mesa/Bluemoon, 1997), has some kind of spiritual connotation. There are songs of praise, songs of redemption and repatriation, soulful love ballads, and songs for political and spiritual enlightenment. The title track opens with soothing ocean sounds, Nyabinghi drums, and South African-flavored guitar and harmony arrangements, and leads into Mystic's clear, caressing vocals.

Known for their catchy hooks and infectious rhythms, the Mystic Revealers have always believed in expanding their sound beyond traditional roots reggae. Billy Mystic sees DJ music as another expression of the art form. "We've worked with male and female DJs. We worked with Sojah on "Religion," and Angie Angel on "There's Got to Be a Better Way." Those songs were were both released in Jamaica as singles. A lot of people try to create [divisions] between reggae and dancehall music. We see reggae as a wide and diverse field of music with many creative possibilities in terms of rhythm, melody, and lyrical content. DJing is just another form of this music with potent messages, beats, and melodies."

The Mystic Revealers' international appeal has resulted in a number of successful ventures. In 1994 the group received the prestigious Jamaican Music Award (JAMI). Recently, they earned coveted slots on large-scale music festivals like the annual Rockers TV Bash in Ocho Rios and northern California's Reggae on the River (1996), and Midem '97 in France. The Mystic Revealers' music is also featured on an AT&T commercial, which is broadcast throughout the Caribbean. As an actor, Billy Mystic has a recurring role on the Jamaican soap opera Royal Palm Estates, which has increased the band's popularity and visibility. Overall, Mystic sees This One's for Jah as a continuation of the group's message.

We want the world to know that the Mystic Revealers are genuine in our concern for people and our hope for righteousness to cover the earth like water covers it. We believe that people should come together and find the peace and tranquility that righteousness can bring.

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