The Rastafarians

The Rastafarians

The Rastafarians

The Rastafarians

Synopsis

The twentieth anniversary edition of the classic study of the culture, religion, history, ideology, and influence of the Rastafarians of Jamaica. "Barrett offers the most comprehensive study to date of the Rastafarians." -Bulletin of the Center for the Study of World Religions "The most thorough, careful consideration of the Rasta phenomenon available to the general reader." - The Boston Phoenix

Excerpt

From North America to mother Africa, a new sound can be heard from the Caribbean haunting the places where Black people get together for music and dancing. From the prestigious Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan on the Ivory Coast to the secluded Meridian Hotel built by Kwame Nkrumah in the seaside city of Tema in Ghana, wherever the reggae is heard, its lighthearted mysterious sound always evokes an emotional reaction. Beginning with a slow, undulating, hesitant beat, the music of reggae assaults the primitive brain stem where emotions originate. Before the brain can decipher the new beat, the driving Trench Town music captures and transports the listener. The effect of reggae is magic; it is Africa, Jamaica, soul, nature, sorrow, hate, and love all mingled together. It sprang from the hearts of Africa's children in "Babylon"--Jamaica. It is liminal music that sings of oppression in exile, a longing for home, or for a place to feel at home.

Reggae, like its earlier counterpart calypso, quickly became a medium of social commentary as part of the African cultural tradition transported to the Caribbean by the slaves. It still serves as a social safety valve through which oppressed peoples express their discontent. Like the music of Africa, the reggae is for dancing, but the lyrics elicit a variety . . .

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