second time we immediately feel the driving kick of the steppers beat. After a few bars the bass line again surges into my body, complimented by a driving binghi drum echoing from the tops of the speaker stack. Where the vocal version gave focus to the lyrics, in the dub, each instrument in the riddim is given time to shine. The guitar skank comes in again only for a second, echoing into the layers of the sound, easing me deeper into a meditative state. Adding to the intense ambiance, a siren cries out, texturing the sound with a dread seriousness. And before long a quick reminder of the vocal sings out, “Sees and knows, knows, knows…” echoing its message deep into our consciousness.

As the night progresses, tune after tune of heavyweight Roots and culture music comes to life through Channel One’s mighty speaker stack. The energy continues to flow and buildup, with the packed room jumping and skanking to the music. Before I know it, it is 3:30 AM, and much to the botheration of the crowd, the management is calling for an end to the music. After a few more signature tunes, the session is done. I am exhausted, yet energized, with the vibrations still very alive in me. I have finally experienced reggae music the way it is meant to be experienced; through a custom heavyweight roots Reggae Sound System…

Ceska Sankare, Humble Tafari, I Warriyah, and bredren (from L to R) in Baltimore

Ceska Sankare, Humble Tafari, I Warriyah, and bredren (from L to R) in Baltimore (Ital Productions)

The Music – The Message

As a seeker of Truth and Right in a world dominated by illusion, distraction, and immorality, I am yet to find anything that gets as close to the essence of reality like the message of Rastafari as carried by Roots Reggae music. The spiritual depth, the historical clarification, and the deeply rooted consciousness that is carried by this music is humbling and inspiring. Through the ancient African drums and mystic melodies of the music, and the stimulating and life affirming lyrics, Reggae reminds us of our divine upright nature, our history of glorious heights, and the staggering depths to which humanity has sunken; and it does all of this with an upfullness that impels us to better ourselves, seek truth, and act for justice.

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