One of the most talked about religion is the Rastafarian religion. If you don’t know about the religion I will give you the definition and the rules and regulation that you must follow as a Rastafarian. In this paper I will try to explain why some religion is so closely related to music.
Rastafarianism is a politico-religious movement among elements of the black population of Jamaica and several other countries. The followers of this religion do not believe in God, instead they worship and praise Haile Selassie, the former emperor of Ethiopia. The word Rastafarian was originated from his name Ras (Prince) Tafari. They believe that the Ethiopian emperor is a divine being, the Messiah, leader and the champion of the black race. Some
Rastafarians believe that blacks are the Israelites reincarnated and have been subjected to the evil and inferior white race in divine punishment for their sins. Rastafarians believes that they will eventually be redeemed by repatriation to Africa, their true home and heaven.
The various groups that make up the Rastafarians rejected Jamaican-European-oriented culture and Christianity revivalist religion and develop their own identity while awaiting the exodus. Since the early 1950’s the Rastafarian movement has grown in numbers and complexity. The identification with the Africa remained, but the repatriation concept received less emphasis and the Rastafarians mysticism supported by the Old Testament and incorporating African forms.
The lifestyles of Rastafarians are very different from other religions over the world. Rastafarians dietary is mainly vegetarianism. Their hair must be worn as uncombed locks and dreads. The most important part of the religion is the smoking of ganja (marijuana). The reason why the smoking of ganja is so important to the religion is because; it is used for meditation and also to keep the body pure. They believe that everything they eat or use must be all-natural.
Even though the Rastafarian religion as been around since 1953 a lot of people didn’t know about it. Some people did not know the requirements of this religion until the 1970s and 1980s. The person who helped to spread the word about the religion was Robert Nester Marley also known as Bob Marley. Bob Marley was born in St. Ann, Jamaica and he was born under a Christian religion. In 1961 he started is own group that was called The Rudeboys. This same group later went on to become one of the most famous reggae groups known as The Wailers. Bob Marley later went on and converted from Christianity to Rastafarianism, this was a religion that has had a profound influence on reggae music.
Marley and the Wailers music contain elements of spiritualism and mysticism. Some of their songs called for personal freedom through revolution, while others embrace carefree attitudes toward life or convey stories of love. Their music also focused a lot on their religion; most of their songs and title is always related to their Rastafarian religion in one way or another.Bob Marley and the Wailers went on to produce a lot of music albums. Most of the title were named after the Rastafarian religion or there believes. Some people also think
that there music came close to been associated with movement toward black political independence.
As mention above Bob Marley and his band has made a lot of songs that talks about their religion. There is a lot but there are two that reflects these believe more than the others do. These two focuses only on there God Haile Selassie and their believes in what a Rastafarian should do to be faithful to there religion.
The name of one of these songs is Forever Loving Jah. In this song Bob Marley and his band was focusing on their religious leader. In this song Bob Marley is trying to say that he found the correct path in life and it a thanks to Jah (Haile Selassie). Bob Marley is telling everyone that he is loved and that no matter what he or she says won’t affect him. The reason behind this is that he knows that Jah protects him. In Bob Marley words he knows that Haile Selassie created him on earth for a specific reason and when his time is right he will be called forth by jah.
One of the verses in the songs sings;
Cause just like a tree planted by the river of water
That bringeth forth, fruits in due season
Every thing in life got its purpose
Find its reason in every season, forever Yeah!
As you can see from the above verse that he believe strongly in Haile Selassie and his believes. Also from the above verse and the way he talks is as if no one else believes in Haile Selassie. Bob Marley also express in is word that Jah will come, he is just waiting for the right time. Bob Marley believes that just like a tree planted by the river it will brighten when the time is right. This is how Bob Marley felt about his God that he will won’t let them suffer he is just waiting for the right time.
In Another Verse he said;
Some they see them walking up the street
They say we are going wrong to all people we meet
But we won’t worry, we won’t shed no tears
In this verse he went more in depth with the way he feels. He believes that a lot of people don’t like what he represents and his religion. He his telling all is fellow Rastafarians that don’t like them and that he found a way not be afraid of them anymore.
Another song that focuses on the Rastafarians and their religion is called the Rastaman Chant. The reason behind this song was to tell his fellow Rastafarians in codes that they will be going home very soon. In this song he focus on telling them that they will be going home to Zion soon. In the song Zion refers to the promise land where all the Rastafarians will meet their Jah Haile Selassie for the first time. This was telling the Rastafarians not to worry about what everyone says about that their thrown is gone down. This was one of the songs that have had an impact on the Rastafarian religion. In this song he kept repeating the term Babylon which means leaders. In this song he also kept saying “I”, in the song “I ” was referring to him as a Rastafarian. The most important part the song was when he said.
I say fly away home to Zion, fly away home
I say fly away to Zion, fly away home
One Bright morning when my work is over
Man will fly away home
In that verse he is trying to say that as soon as he accomplish what he was put on earth to do he will be taken home. Then one morning he will just get up and fly back to Zion.
In conclusion Bob Marley lyrics are a lot like what Henry Gates said about the Two Live Crew. The reason is why I mentioned this point is because in a lot of his songs Bob Marley was telling stories and singing about his Religion. He had to do this because back then a lot people didn’t appreciate or like the Rastafarian religion. So most of the word in is songs where focused on the Rastas because they understood what he was talking about. So in a way Bob Marley was not just sing but he was also talking to Rastafarians all over the world.