Nyabinghi chanters: Got to Move (1982)

 |   |  1 min read

Nyabinghi chanters: Got to Move (1982)

In 1935, just before the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, an article apeared in the Jamaica Times -- penned by an Italian fascist propoganda outfit -- which alleged that Ethiopia's Haile Selassie was the head of a secret organisation which was plotting to overthrow and kill whites.

This alarmist article about the "Nyabingi Order" (the name allegedly meant "death to whites") had an unexpected consequence: many Rastafarians in Trenchtown took the article literally (although with their own skew) and sought to enlist in their Emperor's Nyabinghi movement.

Subject to harrassment for their dreadlocks and sacramental smoking of marijuana, some Rastafarians began identifying themselves as Nyabingi (sometimes spelled Nyabinghi) and began particular ceremonies, notably the grounation during which, at a large gathering, the chalice (of marijuana) is passed hand to hand, religious reasoning (discussion) takes place and there are chants and drumming.

The distinctive drumming --  three main drums including the repeater -- comes from the African tradition and was adopted by the back-to-Africa/Garveyite Rastafarians for these ceremonies, and thereafter the repeater drum started to appear in reggae music.

This ceremony was recorded at a grounation held in 1982 when Ronald Reagan visited Jamaica for seven days. The Nyabingi -- and many Rastafarians -- read much into the number of letters in Reagan's full name: Ronald Wilson Reagan.

51893D0PPQL._SL500_AA300_Six letters in each = 666.

They also didn't rate the Pope much of course, and in this piece they chant down the Pope and Reagan: "When Jah gets ready you've got to move, Dirty Pope Paul have to move, Reagan have to move, I'm have to move, When Sellasie I get ready, I'm have to move . . ."

This was the first time a grounation ceremony had been recorded (in a camp in Cockpit Country).

It appeared on the album Churchical Chants of the Nyabinghi.

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory get daily updates From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Bob Dylan: All American Boy (1967)

Bob Dylan: All American Boy (1967)

American country-rocker Bobby Bare scored an unlikely hit with All American Boy back in '58 when his demo of the song for a friend Bill Parsons was chosen by the record company over Parson's... > Read more

Sunidhi Chauhan and Vishal: Naa Puchho (2007)

Sunidhi Chauhan and Vishal: Naa Puchho (2007)

More scenes from the global village? While walking through Kuala Lumpur's Little India I heard this track rocking out of the speakers in a small record shop. I was transfixed: urban, English... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JIM OF SEATTLE INTERVIEWED (2103): Famous, but just a little bit

JIM OF SEATTLE INTERVIEWED (2103): Famous, but just a little bit

The artist's name on the album is Jim of Seattle. Because he is Jim. And he is of Seattle. And although Jim of Seattle has been making music for more than 30 years, this is his debut album.... > Read more

THE ESSENTIAL SPIKE MILLIGAN complied by ALEXANDER GAMES

THE ESSENTIAL SPIKE MILLIGAN complied by ALEXANDER GAMES

On New Zealand's national Poetry Day in 2004 a television news team buttonholed people on the street and asked them to recite a piece of poetry. One guy did an impromptu local variant of Spike... > Read more