Photo Credit: Sam Diephuis
Reggae music. The universal sound. Island dreams. Summertime soundtrack. What makes me happy and keeps me dancing. What inspires me to satisfy my soul, lively up myself, and live as a fully turned-on soul rebel.
I love music. All music is a blessing, but reggae, it’s more than music. It’s lifestyle. It’s culture. It’s joy. And there something about it that always feels like home, like earth + water, fire + air, not to mention the power of the deep sound.
The history of this timeless music goes all the way back to the early 19050’s. A mix of traditional African folk dance, New Orleans jazz and American R n B coming in from the radio washed through the island until the eventual the birth of Ska in the late 1950’s. Ska became a signature sound of Jamaican, which then evolved into rocksteady, then reggae, roots reggae, dancehall, dub- and multiple cross-over genres to this day.
Although Bob Marley has been most associated with spreading roots reggae over the globe, many other artists- those that even influenced and inspired Marley- have dedicated their lives to keeping it alive. Roots reggae promotes a wholistic, earth-inspired, intentional living, the kind of living we all seem to seek with clean food, strong community, and clear mind. It reminds us that love and unity are essential for the health of our planet and communities. It’s always a love song- to the self, to the soul and to all the people.
Recently there has been a cycle of revival in the production of new roots music. Young Jamaican musicians are bringing forth roots versus going mainstream with watered-down sounds and a pop sensibility for a fast sell. Choosing a roots musical career is a calling, not a choice. You don’t make these sounds to become rich and famous. You sing to share the inner wealth, to pass on the wisdom, to worship all that is sacred within and without, above and below. It’s a vibrational and lyrical reminder that we are indeed free. We just have to claim it. This is Truth.
For our Summer Issue of Amulet, I had the honor of talking with one of Jamaica’s rising female roots reggae artists, Jah 9 {Janine Cunningham} This strong woman of reggae is not only a singer, but she’s a spiritualist, an empress and healer who is creating songs for the people everywhere, no matter their race or spiritual practices.
Her and I chatted about many things- from Culture to Rasta and from Livity to Feminism. Let me tell you- she’s a soft breeze and a fierce spirit. Her words are On Fire.
I wanted to share a sneak peak of what you’ll get when you purchase the Summer Issue of Amulet which features an exclusive interview with the beautiful and wise Jah 9:
“For the age we are in, just the energy alone we as women can bring to the earth; all the nurturing, the compassion, the whole love, the understanding- all that the feminine has to offer- to me that is being a feminist right now.
There is no more need for over-masculine, for war and guns. We don’t need this kind of revolution; it has been over for so long yet we cling. And if there is going to be another revolution it is going to be different and it’s going to be a Feminine Revolution. We all contain the feminine and the masculine but we are so out of balance and are dominated by the masculine externally and internally. Women have hardened and been asked to do more, to produce more, to be everything to everyone from provider to mother. Our bodies are screaming out to us: Soften, Soften, Soften. This is what feminism means to me right now, to nurture the self, to sit still, to heal the Earth. To release the angry warrior energy and begin really learning from the children. This is the way of the divine feminine.”
Jah 9, Amulet Field Guide, Summer 2013
Photo Credit: Sam Diephuis
Bless up and enjoy, MaryBeth