Essay on African Music of the Rastafari, the Rasta Community, the Dreads

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African Music of the Rastafari, the Rasta Community, the Dreads

Nyabinghi music played at Rastafarian grounations, which includes drumming of at least three hand drums, chanting, dancing, spiritual use of the holy herb, and praise to Jah Rastafari, are considered the most important and inspirational meeting of Rastafari. The term "nyabinghi" is said to have come from a religious, spiritual, and political movement in East Africa beginning in the 1850’s until the 1950 led by a series of spiritually influential women and focused on military actions against white imperialists and colonialists.

It is thought that the term was a women-centered popular movement in Uganda that led the resistance against European settlers who were attempting to overrule Africans. The Nyabinghi movement was centered around a woman healer, Muhumusa, who was possessed by the spirit of Nyabinghi, a legendary ‘Amazon Queen.’ Muhumusa organized armed resistance against German colonialists and was detained in Uganda in 1913 by the British. The spirit of Nyabinghi possessed mostly women, but also men who led uprisings against the British in later years. British effort to destroy the Nyabinghi movement was through their criminalizing it as witchcraft through Witchcraft Ordinance of 1912, which promoted Christianity and encouraged other indigenous anti-Nyabinghi cults. The British used the witch burning procedure of 1500 to 1600 that were central in the transition from pre-capitalist to capitalist relations in Europe (Turner 23).

Robert I. Rotberg, in his book Rebellion in Black Africa (London: Oxford University Press, 1971) suggests that the word nyabinghi means "she who possesses many things." However, in Jamaica, the term means "death to the Black ...

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...Freedom. New York: Penguin Books, 1995.

Chang, Kevin O’brien and Wayne Chen. Reggae Routes. Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers, 1998.

Davis, Stephen and Peter Simon. Reggae Bloodlines. New York: DaCapo Press, 1992.

Jackson, Irene. More Than Drumming. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1985.

Jahn, Brian. Reggae Island. Jamaica: Kingston Publishers Limited, 1992.

Marley, Robert. Rastaman Chant.

Mulvaney, Rebekah Michele. Rastafari and Reggae. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1990.

Nicholas, Tracy and Bill Sparrow. Rastafari. Chicago: Research Associates Publications, 1996

Potash, Chris. Reggae, Rasta, Revolution. New York: Schirmer Books, 1997.

Roberts, John Storm. Black Music of Two Worlds. London: Prentice Hall International, 1998.

Turner, Teresa E. The New Society. Call # XB 917

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