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

Paul McCartney: Check My Machine (1980)

Paul McCartney: Check My Machine (1980)

In the Seventies Paul McCartney enjoyed a remarkable revival of fortunes -- at the start of the decade the Beatles broke up, he released a couple of feet-finding solo albums, got the band Wings... > Read more

Doris Duke: To the Other Woman, I'm the Other Woman (1970)

Doris Duke: To the Other Woman, I'm the Other Woman (1970)

After Doris Duke - born Doris Curry then later singing as Doris Willingham -- recorded her album I'm a Loser at Capricorn Studios in Macon, Georgia in '69 with Jerry Williams Jnr they found it a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST REVIEWER SHANI.O takes on Auckland's 2017 Laneway festival

GUEST REVIEWER SHANI.O takes on Auckland's 2017 Laneway festival

Despite the high caliber of both local and international acts gracing the St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Auckland on it’s Anniversary Weekend, the true star of the festival was none... > Read more

Taipei, Taiwan: Red room for a blue man

Taipei, Taiwan: Red room for a blue man

I wish I could remember the name of the place so I could recommend it -- but then again, maybe it's best I can't. I had spent a tiring week travelling around Taiwan by myself, negotiating train... > Read more