Calling Rastafari: Roots reggae visits Vail
December 29, 2003
If money is the root of all evil, reggae is the roots of all compassion.One of the great moguls of the Nyabinghi – African for “Sons of Thunder” – drumming and chanting tradition, Ras Michael, shares his more than 40 years of experience with The Sons of Negus at 8150 in Vail.”My music touches the real deep roots within music. (You) can feel the spirit in the music, speaking of fatherhood, God and brotherhood of man,” said Michael. “So, as Bob (Marley) says, “One Love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright.'”Michael visits the Vail Valley with 24 albums under his belt, including “Love Thy Neighbour” – produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry – and his most recent creation, “A Weh Dem a Go Do Wid It.””People all over the world love my music because it brings them closer to oneness,” said Michael. “There is no separation. Togetherness, that is what the music is always about.”Music to bring a proper understanding of the human being. If we all understand each other, we will have no more sorrows and pains; no more debts. And, righteousness will cover the Earth as the waters cover the sea.”Michael has collaborated with all of the renowned people of roots-reggae along with many other influential musicians, including Burning Spear, Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack and Bob Marley & the Wailers.In addition to playing percussion with Marley, Michael and Marley were raised and baptized in the same Ethiopian Orthodox church.”Bob and I are good brethren,” said Michael.He professes great reverence for the practice of reading, listing National Geographic, The Ethiopian Observer and the biography of Haile Sellassie among the texts he recommends.”Reading is like a cup of milk and you squeeze lime and all these things in and it curdles. If your mind is the milk, reading is what removes the curd,” said Michael. “The greatest book is the Bible for its vast panorama. Nothing beats the Bible. It’s up to par with everything that happens and enables us to be more real with ourselves and others.”To get an understanding and love for mankind is life, is priceless. It’s the essence of breath that is in man.”Michael was born in Kingston, Jamaica, is co-founder of both the Rastafari International/Marcus Garvey Culture Center in Los Angeles and is the international ambassador and diplomat for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church .”I and Bob (Marley) used to sit at the bridge and have some good reasoning time about humanity; trying to get rid of war and debt and sorrow and pain. It will be done if nation’s and people themselves work together to bring these things to reality,” says Michael. “I love what I’m doing, so why do something where you don’t love what you’re doing? The greatest thing a man can do is to praise God and be a philanthropist, just do the good things to all.”Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 610, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.