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Russian Reggae Rasta Roots


Russia is the land of tribulation for those who seek God on the path of natural mystic as revealed in the teaching of Jah Rastafari. Russian Rastas are putting up resistance to a system notorious for cruelly downpressing any manifestation of rebellious spirit. Those who give daily praises to Jah are very few in this country, as you will rarely hear somebody say that particular English word: 'legalize'. Gone are the days when konoplja (hemp) was an important article of Russian economy and a must in every household, so are the days when all over the Hola Russ people gave praises to God Almighty.
This soviet babilan has crumbled down exposing the scars left by the bulldozers of probably the lengthiest and the most irresponsible "scientific" experiment in the known history. Society was infected by the viruses of meanness, envy, vanity and hate and there is still much fury in the air. Babylon is dead, yet lo and behold! another babilan is there instead. Yes, babilan still rules in Russia and Rastas are true sufferers here. There is alienation, so nation war against nation.

"... until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned; until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation; until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained ..." So Jah seh.

His Imperial Majesty visited the USSR in 1959. I&I have a few photographs of HIM in our country.

Reggae music was heard in Russia somewhere in the early seventies. African students probably brought the vinyl disks of Bob Marley. Jah was first referred to on stage by the underground rock guru Boris Grebenshikov (BG) leader of AQUARIUM in a very poignant context:

Jah will give us everything BG

Reggae has remained confined to the cultural ghetto for all these years. Few people had a chance to give this wise music any significant airplay and booking was never easy for the bands. In St. Petersburg it was TaMtAm Club that gave reggae a chance; in Moscow it was The Island Club where Africans and Rastas felt at home.

black on white: someone was so wrong,
to the afrikan weed i was born: an extra son;
the snow is black 'ere an' i'm moving to reggae
see my dancing duppy as ya skank there
on ya far-away shore! (Oldi)

The realities of the daily Babylonian life of spiritual blindness and inability to discern the truth from the untruth are chilling and macabre. The shivers it gives you has been a recurent theme with almost all our reggae performers. No wonder ours is a harsh climate. Self-pity is always at hand to drain us of the last bits of power in useless negativeness, it seems no sun is to be found ... Yet, it is one thing to address God when reminded by the prospect of the cold and the damp in the grave and quite another when calling for FIYAH to descend upon the land of corruption. For me this is crucial about overderstanding the Rasta stand and how dreads relate with the Absolute.

Another tradition that one might expect to find in Russsian reggae is that of comradery and solidarity with the far-away brothers and sisters who are sufferers and have a dream. The reggae rhythms are simply forbidden in Cuba!

'Cuba, Cuba, cubana, legalize marihuana' (Guera)

It is still a fact that 'many people are gonna suffer tonight' in the cold an' damp dungeons for such thing as a 'hemp offence'. We know for sure that

'Jah gave the Rastaman the Hola Herb: ganja, ganja ...' (Guera)

The roots run deep and forth comes the realization of the Inity of Jah Creation. The heartical is the path of true knowledge so the rastas give thanks and praises to the Almighty for His Creation.

Let the light of love shine in all of Creation of JAH RASTAFARAI
Let the children be merry and let 'ere be reggae for JAH RASTAFARAI

Yes! From High meditation
To deep rooted inspiration
I and I always give thanks and Praises
(Ras Nama)

Thus we have come to the realization of His supremacy over everything in our lifes and rejoiced.

Stay tuned to us! Ours will be a site levicated to the roots-wise consciousness.

Ian'I thank and praise the Almighty in His Glory,
God bless mother Afrika!
Here in Russia we gonna try and be positive!

It is One Love!

Spring 1997

[Zhurnal.Ru] [ZR Music]

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