The Rastafarian tradition in Reggae is followed by mixing important biblical texts and symbols. Some other songs of this period that deserve mention are Max Romeo’s “Let the Power Fall on I”, based on the Revivalist hymn “Let the Power Fall on Me”. Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus’ “Ethiopian National Anthem”, Peter Tosh’s “Rasta Shook Them Up” and “He Who Feels It Knows It” are also notable for their biblical and Rastafarian connotations. Some other songs on a similar theme are "Conquering Lion," "Deliver Us," "Rasta Never Fails," and "Africa is Paradise".Another of Eccles’ renditions is the spiritual song “Freedom”. The lines “Before I’d be a slave / I’ll be buried in my grave/ And go home to my Lord and be free” have strong biblical connotations. More specifically the lyric affirms the Rastafarian value of life.Power of words and symbolism are very cleverly used by Reggae artists to invoke powerful emotions and strong sentiments in their audiences. Consider the Bob Marley song “Chant Down Babylon” from his album Confrontation. We hear the following lines: “Come we go burn down Babylon/One more time/Come we go chant down Babylon one more time/For them soft/Yes them soft.” The reference to Babylon is very common in Reggae. In “Babylon System”, Marley implies that Babylon is a blood thirsty vampire that sucks life out of children every day - “sucking the children day by day/sucking the blood of the sufferers” (Herbold 2007).There are more biblical references that give Reggae a powerful and transforming quality. Jehovah or Jah is the Rastafarian God, sometimes also taken for the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie. Jah is a manifestation of power, love and goodness. The following is one of many references to Jah, taken from Bob Marley’s “Duppy Conqueror”: “The bars could not hold me/Force could not control me, now/ They try to keep me down/But Jah put I around.” (Herbold 2007)Reggae engages the audience at various levels and embodies values that encourage the formation of a black identity and black emancipation. It does this through meaningful and culturally relevant references and symbols in its lyrics. The genre represents an essentialist black identity, especially that of the colonial African diasporas. The moral messages in the lyrics
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Herbold, Stacey., “Jamaican Patois and the Power of Language in Reggae Music”
retrieved on 16th April 2007.
Clements, Paul., Reggae: The Changing Representations of an Inclusive Musical Form
retrieved on 16th april 2007.
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