The heartbeat. It’s our first sense of rhythm, of life. The universal pulse connecting all of humanity through the link of vitality. It is this connection to lifeforce that is at the root of Nyabinghi, the oldest order of the Rastafarian faith, widely known for its percussive heartbeat drumming accompanied by chant. Adopted by prominent reggae acts such as Bob Marley and the Wailers, Culture, Burning Spear and Steel Pulse, Rastafari is not a faith for the faint of heart, marked by strict diet, abstinence from alcohol and a heightened state of moral clarity.
Most of the world was unfamiliar with this small Jamaican-born religion until Bob Marley and the Wailers’ famous 1973 live appearance at The Record Plant in San Francisco, featuring their rendition of “Rastaman Chant.” But in the heart of Jamaica there was another leader bringing Nyabinghi music and the Rastafarian faith to the people: Ras Michael & The Sons of Negus.
Keeping the fire of this piece of musical history alive, VP Records offers us None A Jah Jah Children, a reissuing of two classic works done by Ras Michael & The Sons of Negus: Rastafari and Kibir-Am-Lak. Both of these albums are the results of working with producer Tommy Cowan, and highlight traditional drumming and chant made sound system ready via the infusion of an electric band lineup featuring the likes of Peter Tosh, Robbie Shakespeare, and Carlton “Santa” Davis.
For VP’s reissue, all 22 tracks have been remastered by Kevin Metcalfe, including five previously unreleased bonus tracks and dubs. With this offering, VP Records continues to prevail as a leading source for authentic, high-quality reggae music, both new and old. None A Jah Jah Children gives anyone captivated by the Nyabinghi pedigree of Jamaican music more than a few lessons from the history book of reggae roots and culture.
Ras Michael & The Sons of Negus’ None A Jah Jah Children comes out Friday, Jan 26 on VP Records. Pre-order your copy today.