Reggae Loves Africa Mixtape 2014



Track Listing
01 Mama Africa — Buju Banton
02 Africa — Screwdriver
03 Africa Shall Be Free — Warrior King
04 Calling Africa — Queen Ifrica
05 Africa — Freddie McGregor
06 One Way Ticket — Luciano
07 Talking Africa — Beres Hammond
08 Africa, Here We Come — Morgan Heritage
09 Africa We Want To Go — Dennis Brown
10 Africa — Tony Rebel
11 Africa — Natural Black
12 Africa Awaits — Tarrus Riley

Born in the tenement yards of Kingston, Jamaica as a voice for the struggling Black underclass and then refined in that city’s nascent recording studios in the late 1960s from where it has attracted a passionate worldwide following, reggae’s ancestral roots are directly traceable to the African continent.

Long before Bob Marley and other Jamaican artists established reggae and the Rastafari way of life among an international audience in the 1970s, Count Ossie and his group of Rastafarian drummers, based in the Wareika Hills above eastern Kingston, adapted traditional Afro-Jamaican kumina and burru styles into an approach (broadly) labeled as Nyabinghi drumming (Nyabinghi, a term for a Rastafarian spiritual gathering, also refers to the purest form of Rasta music). The Count Ossie Group’s thunderous drumming on the 1959 Folkes Brothers’ single “Oh Carolina” was the first popular Jamaican recording to feature indigenous Rastafarian expression, a precursor for roots reggae’s identity, which has been significantly shaped by Rastafarian ideology.

Whether living in the Caribbean, on the continent or in any locale, Rastafarians are the Black Diaspora’s most steadfast defenders of the motherland. Rastafari developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, precipitated by the “back to Africa” advocacies of Marcus Garvey and the preaching of Leonard Howell whose pronouncement of the crowning of Ras Tafari Makonnen (the 225th descendant of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba) as Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia on November 2, 1930 as the return of the Messiah was considered so subversive by Jamaican authorities, Howell was arrested, put on trial for sedition and given a two-year prison sentence. Adherents to Howell’s assertion of Selassie’s divinity, called Rastafarians, were identifiable by their hair, which they grew and defiantly wore in dreadlocks inspired by Kenya’s Mau Mau warriors who locked their hair as a sign of resistance against colonialism. For several decades in Jamaica (dreadlocked) Rastafarians were subject to various forms of harassment, displacement from their communities, arrest and even death.

Since reggae’s creation it is the Rastafarian singers and players of instruments who have most consistently exalted Africa as the land of their forefathers and the cradle of civilization while also decrying centuries of colonization, the raping of her resources and the exploitation of her people through slavery.

As a means of highlighting the pivotal inspiration Africa’s indomitable spirit and her richly varied culture has brought to reggae, the world’s largest reggae label VP Records presents “Reggae Loves Africa”, a various artist compilation to be released on July 15th, three days before the birthday of the late, venerated South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela and eight days before the birthday of Emperor Halie Selassie I.

The set’s executive producer, Tokyo born Eisaku “Selector A” Yamaguchi, conceived the project as an antidote to the violent lyrics heard on many contemporary Jamaican releases. “I wanted to show that reggae is great music with messages that can teach people and on this compilation the artists are teaching people about Africa,” explained Selector A who, alongside his co-A&R on the project, Dane “Fatman” Bogle (VP’s A&R/Radio Promotion), sifted through VP’s extensive catalogue and chose 12 tracks that best represent reggae’s abiding love of Africa. “We chose mostly older songs because there were stronger messages in the music then; while reggae artists pay tribute to the continent, Africans definitely embrace reggae and I don’t think many Jamaicans realize how far their music has reached,” Bogle notes.