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

Stan Freberg: The Old Payola Roll Blues (1960)

Stan Freberg: The Old Payola Roll Blues (1960)

While British commentators congratulate their culture on its history of comedy and satire (Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, David Frost, Peter Cook, Monty Python et al) they conspiciously fail to... > Read more

Ernest Tubb: It's America, Love It or Leave It (1965)

Ernest Tubb: It's America, Love It or Leave It (1965)

The great patriot Tubb has appeared at From the Vaults before with his mind-numbingly awful It's For God and Country and You, Mom written by Dave McEnery. Ernest clearly like to keep... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE; THE SIDE PROJECTS 1970-74: The Baron and the Nun go it alone, together

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE; THE SIDE PROJECTS 1970-74: The Baron and the Nun go it alone, together

The New York garageband Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop of 1966 was one of the first albums to have the word “psychedelic” in the title, but it wasn't quite the spaced-out sweet... > Read more

RIGOLETTO REVIEWED (2012): The chill of the familiar

RIGOLETTO REVIEWED (2012): The chill of the familiar

If any opera can successfully be relocated into our own time it is Verdi's grand sweep through corruption, avarice, lust, power play and venality that is Rigoletto. Here are familiar elements... > Read more