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Interview: Mutabaruka

Interview: Mutabaruka

Interview: Mutabaruka

By on - Photos by Steve James - 5 comments

"Rastafari started out as a resistance against imperialism and colonialism"


Mutabaruka is one of the emblematic character, in Jamaica who knew, through the year, how to keep his presence and his Rastafari beliefs in front of the scene! This can be through the music that he spread, through his radio show on Irie FM, or even through his TV show 'Simply MUTA'.

In this interview, done on Irie FM compound in Kingston, Mutabaruka talks about Rastafari and it’s spreading, but he also make a statement about the present Jamaica and it’s dancehall music culture. As usual he is not going around the corners to express his vision and understanding of what is taking place in this world!

MutabarukaWhen did you find yourself as a rasta?

Well, from my teenage.

Could you tell people what is Rastafari about?

Rastafari is liberation, a black power movement, spiritual nucleous, started out as a resistance against imperialism and colonialism. The former slave were taught that England was the mother land, and Rastafari help to shape a consciousness into a liberation through Pan-Africanism. Evolve from Marcus Garvey to Leonard Howell who is the founder. It's a liberation movement and a lot of people who find  themselves in an oppressive state take on themselves that Rastafari is living, so you have people all over the world who can identify Rastafari.

How did Rastafari movement evolved from then to now? 

It evolve through we have more informations, now we have other things that confront us inna this system ya, and through what we say, informations coming to us, so we can move and evolve from them time, 40’s, 50’s.

We fight for a recognition where Rasta was never recognized, them say we are fool and stupid, so we use a seculiar music Reggae music, to project Rastafari culture and philosophy, so even though we have no church, we use the music, we don’t have no school, we use the music and though we no have nowhere to go and learn about Rastafari, but through the the cultural expression, people gravitate toward it and recognize themselves in it. So we move to an international level where people all over the world gravitate toward Rastafari, so Rastafari mind set and consciousness lend itself to new ideas, new thinking, and what was inside of Jamaica is now, all over, seen and recognized as what they call a “new religion”, and we give the world a certain form of cultural expression that a lot of people in the western world never have I mean, like locks, locks is not unique to Rasta but Rasta help to shape that mind set into people so that people now locks and feel no way, even some people now locks and have no connection to Rastafari, but it coming through that evolution of Rastafari outhere, because there was a time in Jamaica when the only people who had locks were Rasta.

So we give Jamaica a brand, even though they try to go around it, because Rastafari is the Jamaica’s brand through the work of certain man like Bob Marley who allow people to come to Jamaica, and to look again to Jamaica, even though a lot try to shift out of it and don’t recognize it, but we rise and rise to a level to what we could call visibility so that nobody can now ignore! So we have a lot to project and we examine Africa, because when we were going to school, it was just “black people came here as slave” but we never did know nothing about Africa so we though that Africa start at slavery, but now everyone know that Africa much more older than Europe or any other places, Africa gave birth to mankind, Itiopia, even the Bible tell you that the River Nile coming from the garden of eden is running through Ithiopia.

Africa is the birth place and that is what Rastafari come to expose to the world now and we move to that information gathering! So Rasta tells the people  about Africa, tell the people about food and what to eat, there was a time when they use to call us rabbit and mock we, but now a lot of people trying to become vegetarians because they see it valuable. Rasta during a time was the only man in Jamaica that don’t eat meet! So it’s e who came and show the people the livity about how to live and be healthy!

And when political party divide people over the years, it’s Rasta who came and give them a slogan, one love, one heart, to bring them together again and now that slogan is well recognized, it’s I and I, not me and you, because me and you are two people but I and I is one! You see there is no manifestation of life which is not of the one, the tree, the bird, the bee, they all are the manifestation of that same life! So Rasta tell them it’s I and I now!
So when man connect to I and say Haile Selassie I, now some say, ”but Haile Selassie is a man”, yes and man is God, you see, we nah believe in a supernatural power who sit on the sky and come pon earth and and that you can see only when you die! What we say is that it is now, because when you dead, you dead; and nobody can tell you what happen to you
when you dead!

So we have to make use of the life we have now, I mean if you can’t love when you are alive, who you gonna love when you dead? That is what Rastafari come to show and it still manifest the same thing His Majesty Selassie I. Africa, Africa for Africans, Itall livity, recognisation of I and I. So Rastafari don’t change!!

What do you think of the Jamaican music of today?

All right, you see, from the music change, from Reggae music to Dancehall, there is an element in dancehall that seem to step back instead of go forward!
So where Rastafari did dominate the Reggae scene, Rastafari don’t dominate the Dancehall scene! So the consciousness that was reggae and the consciousness  that allow people like you to come to Jamaica, is not necessarily in the dancehall, the dance hall is more a materialistic perspective of the Jamaican culture; and when Reggae offering something of
liberation, the dancehall offering something of materialisation, materialism.

So now you have a hole heap of youth who are so misleaded, again the nearly of America, a lot of it come from the influence of  America, where them divert the consciousness from Rastafari into the materialism of America so the influence of America is deeply embodied in the dancehall music, you can see it by the way the youth them dressed, the mannerism and even the beat, it’s not straight dancehall, it’s kind of hip hop dance hall fusing, nothing wrong with the fusion cause Jamaican music always mix from them time.

Luciano and Mutabaruka

But now, the lyrics, which pushed Jamaica outside is not here anymore so people outside of Jamaica are very disappointed, Jamaican music was like a beam of hope and a light to the world. So when people reach a certain state of depressive, them could look to Jamaican reggae and feel uplifted and powerful, but now it more carry you down! So now, it’s mostly foreigners like African and Europeans  who keep that Reggae beat, even if dance hall penetrated there, them still to hear the original roots music! Look, 30 years Bob Marley left and he still sound like a new artist, when you play Bob marley in a dance, him don’t sound like an old sound? But you see, you can hardly play old dance hall music, it comes like toilet paper and that why so muchof it come out one time. You see now, one artist have so much tune 
coming out at the same time, that as a radio DJ, I feel embarrass, I don’t know which one to play, and now, there is a follow thing that is happening, if one sing about money, everybody sing about money, if he sings about bad mind, everybody sing about bad mind.

Now it look like there is no experience,when the artist them were singing about a certain level of consciousness, and, a level of speech, experience of environment, well, the dancehall artist is going through his experience but he don’t think about that, he more think about how he’s gonna burst, and whatever make him burst, he will sing pon it! So there is a difference between Reggae and dancehall, beat different and we see some young youth that don’t know the value of Word Sound and Power, because what you say define you, so you don’t have  to talk no foolishness. So now many people outside and inside of Jamaica are disappointed, but still you have youth that hold unto the real roots!

What would be your statement concerning Jamaica? 

American thinking with a third world living! So you see people dress up out there, fashion clothes and thing, but when you see how them leave it needs more to be desired, cause they are so materialistic that they don’t think about their spirit, they think about their body, so many people out there are just like cimetary, scepulturs, where people put flowers upon the dead body! Nuff people look happy because a lot of party going on, but when they come from dance, go home and lock the door, it’s pure ignorance and vexation. Plus the two political parties has not been able to give the people what they want because they still maintain the euro centric system of governance. Look we have independence since 50 year and we still have a governor general that represent the Queen of England! They think that Jamaican, and rasta are a set of ignorant people and they try to hold we with a certain system and hold we under a certain order and discipline to satisfy the neo colonialism mentality!

You see the neo colonialism is well embodied in the political system of Jamaica! Even if 85 or 90% of the people in power are originated from Africa, none of them never go study to Africa, in order to develop a political system that can fit the people in them consciousness, but instead of that they go Europe and try to bring a democratical thing that don’t even work in England!Everyday we hear things a gwaan in England and still we a try to keep the same system pon a majority of people to are rebelious against that system, and  them don’t know how to put it pon the people, so they use some oppressive ways,you can see it on TV, you can see it at church, because church is one of the most oppressive way them use, politique tell the
people that if them behave good, they will have a good life, and pastor tell you that if you live good, you will a have a good death! So that is the tricks they use to them Christianity and democracy! so them set the thing in a circle, and nobody can show them nothing out of the
circle and when you try, like Rasta do, they say you mad!

So when you tell them to look to Africa, they say that "no you have to look something of the day", but Marcus Garvey done tell them already "a tree without knowledge of their history is like a tree without roots"!

MutabarukaWhen they look to Africa they see sufferation and all thing, so they are afraid to look forward to it, but they have to understand that Africa is a continent composed of 53 countries,and that not so long ago, Europe was devastated by war and killed one another! Every continent have their time! But now them corrupt everywhere with them politics, but still you have people that wake up because people don’t have no trust in this political system! So I don’t know but Jamaica is in a position that it need someone to rock the boat so that we not going to make the same mistake again and again! So now when Rasta use to say they don’t mix with politic, now you have Rasta who start create their own political parties because that is a necessity! Like now you have Rasta that teach at school when our children could not go school! So the change is here with the silent revolution, cause it’s not with bomb and gun but through culture! So them embarrass because Rasta don’t have no leader so them don’t know who to kill to stop it! Rastafari Haile Selassie I is our leader and them say he’s dead so them can kill him again to stop this revolution!

What vision would you have for Jamaica?

Well, I don’t have really no vision, all I could say is Rastafari and Marcus Garvey!

What is your favorite reggae song?

Well it’s not one, Babylon System of Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, the Black Heart Man, Babylon Burning of Bob Andy, She’s Royal by Taurus Riley... Nuff of them.

Do you still tour?

Yeah man, during the Olympic I will be in England for 12 nights of reggae, I will tour in Europe too in August, I was in Austria last December! so we still tour, not as often as before but we here pon the road!

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Read comments (5)

Posted by Quinton on 07.25.2012
Very good reading material.....SOUTH AFRICA

Posted by Tee jay on 11.03.2012
Am in touch wit his words. Nuff respeck Baruka. Still 1 luv.

Posted by Karisa a.k.a 'LION on 08.28.2014
I need to know more about Rasta, why,!!.People out dea praise me for the love of reggae music in my neighborhood.Man I need to realize myself an my culture.MUTA might jas be the right LION to me,his curb.Lets keep walking.

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