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

Steve and Eydie: Black Hole Sun (1997)

Steve and Eydie: Black Hole Sun (1997)

The fad for lounge music in the late Nineties was amusing enough, but inevitably most of what emerged was forgettable. (Although who could expunge this from the memory.) Still, groups like... > Read more

Ringo Starr: Early 1970 (1970)

Ringo Starr: Early 1970 (1970)

It was one of the great ironies that after the Beatles broke up the solo careers of the songwriters Lennon and McCartney languished for a while, and that George Harrison unleashed the phenomenally... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BLUE AND THE GRAY, a tele-series by ANDREW V McLAGLEN (Madman DVD)

THE BLUE AND THE GRAY, a tele-series by ANDREW V McLAGLEN (Madman DVD)

As much reminder of how a television mini-series and historical drama used to look in the Eighties, this six hour epic across three discs is certainly ambitious in attempting to present the... > Read more

ALABAMA 3 INTERVIEWED (2012): Pills'n'Thrills and country heartaches

ALABAMA 3 INTERVIEWED (2012): Pills'n'Thrills and country heartaches

On paper, it doesn't work no matter which way you look at it. A sound which brings together techno-dance beats with American country music and upbeat hand-clap gospel? If you tried to sell... > Read more