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RALAK 2010

RALAK 2010

RALAK 2010

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RALAK 2010 is primarily focused on funding The Rastafari Trust Fund for Elders and Youth.


Deep in the rolling hills of Black Mountain, North Carolina, an uplifting and mystical festival takes place every September. This year, on Saturday, September 11, The R.A.L.A.K (Rastafarian Ancient Living Arts and Kulture) Festival hosted a top ranking stage show featuring Damian and Stephen Marley, Bunny Wailer, Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus, Chrisinti, Messenjah Selah, Jammana, Isha Blender and reggae band, Crucial Fiya. Performing artists delivered an array of exhilarating songs in a JAHful setting- a lush valley surrounded by aromatic pines, glistening lakes and fields of wildflowers. On Sunday, Interfaith Reasonings began with the heartical sounds by Nyahbinghi drums, followed by invocations of pensive revelations. Rastafarian families and friends from diverse walks of life openly share life experiences within the peaceful setting of a quaint rustic barn. The high wooden ceilings emit soft ambient light while radiant rays of sun pierce through ancient wooden cracks. Rasta livity abounds throughout. Nyahbinghi chanting and drumming entwine with skillfully crafted reasonings. The presence of Rastafari Elders and the beating heart of the drums call to devotees of all faiths to unite and share deep rooted knowledge resulting in a familial bond and loving vibration. This is a "gathering time" in pure alignment with Rastafarian Livity, a synchronistic movement to promote a better world where the hungry are fed, the naked clothed, the sick nourished, the aged protected and all infants cared for. The overwhelming message is the the power is within us all to create a more peaceful world- not only for ourselves, but for the million of children across the globe.

R.A.L.A.K. began as the creative efforts of two Rastafarian elders, Ras Sela Judah Fari, Ras Miles Jacob Marley and Empress Iffiya. Success lies in the presence of a strong cast of hardworking crews. As difficult as it is to produce a successful reggae concert out in the countryside, Ras Sela and Ras Marley steadfastly focus on critically important objectives- to establish the revelation and confirmation of truth, while educating and reinforcing human values often lost in a midst of society's conflicting agendas. Rastafari has long suffered from the degradation of misinformation spread by traditional media sources that have little to no overstanding of Rasta theology. Dreadlocks have been criminalized as well as iconized to sell everything from beer to lipstick. Those who trod to R.A.L.A.K., as well as those who speak and perform, acknowledge the danger in the increasing erosion of truth. They remain steadfast in the desire to erase misconceptions and to dispel lies conceived by commercialism and blatant disrespect. Throughout the weekend, it is stated that only Rasta is truly capable to tell Rasta story with accuracy. Another driving concept is the importance of family and the need for proper guidance when teaching and raising children in a Babylon system. Carlo Hawkwalker, a Cherokee spiritual healer and Sundancer, evoked strong emotion describing the American caste system and the contradictions embedded in traditional schools of thought. He acknowledged that unless a child receives mainstream education and a University degree, they are doomed to a difficult life with less privilege and financial stability. The children are indoctrinated into a system designed to reduce free thinking and to follow the mainstream capitalistic values. Carlo emphasizes with hope 'You are the miracle. If you are truly born in the image of God, you must manifest the Godliness within, and then you have the power to move mountains.'

Rastafari Music- Saturday

Misty skies enhanced the haunting sounds of Scottish bagpipes followed by Nyahbinghi drumming and a color guard presentation of the Ethiopian flag. The Nyahbinghi I-postles took the stage while Elder Ras Binghi I led a series of Rastafari anthems. Crucial Fiya, a tight reggae band hailing from Durham, North Carolina, took the stage delivering familiar sounds of heavy riddim and bass. Performers such as Chrisinti, Messenjah Selah, Jammana, and Isha Blender quickly lit the fire in the hearts of the reggae massive. The crowd moved forward as Chrisinti's beautiful voice spread across the fields. Messenjah Selah gave a driving performance both musically and lyrically. Empresses Jammana and Isha Blender held solid ground with equally enchanting voices and womanly beauty. The gentle morning rain neither detered nor detracted from the soulful spirits who came to praise JAH and honor the ancient rites of RASTAFAR-I.

Ras Michael & Sons of Negus and Bunny Wailer began the early evening with a conscious mix of foundation roots. Rastafari Elder, Ras Michael gave the crowd a crucial mix of Nyahbinghi in it's purest and finest form. Bunny Wailer, delivered a full set of his most prolific works mixing best known songs from solo albums as well as his works with Bob Marley and the Wailers. I have to remind everyone we are so blessed to benefit from their musical genius and I pray they remain healthy for many years to come.

And then it came, torrential rain as the final performance filled the night air with sophisticated lyrics and the modernized youthful sounds of Damian and Stephen Marley. Even so, they brought down the house with an elevated pitch of musical righteousness unscathed from the downpour. The spiritually charged crowd assessed the rain as Jah's blessed christening. As the Marleys ran through many of Damian's songs from 'Welcome to Jamrock' and 'Distant Relatives', the musical mix respectfully paid tribute to their legendary father by including some of his most inspiring songs. Towards the end of an emotionally charged set, Could You Be Loved led me to think how proud Bob would be of his children. For those of us who experienced Bob Marley, one could easily believe he was in the house that night.

Interfaith Reasonings- Sunday

"The spirit of Interfaith Reasoning is to set a solid foundation of goodwill and peaceful fellowship among persons of different faiths. History taught us that many wars of past and present were incited because humans fail to follow the golden rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" Every religion encourages this rule but it is rarely practiced to the fullest of its content. To open the events of the day, we call upon elders of various faiths to summon the spirits of good will and harmonty through their traditional instruments and sacred song." R.A.L.A.K website

His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie I, said "We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community." These words clearly identify the objective of the Interfaith Reasoning. Although many walks of life abound in our local and global communities, it is imperative that society look for a common thread that builds respect for life and love for all humankind and let go of small differences that diffuse the main purpose of faith. Messenjah Selah opened his performance with the statement that it is not purposeful to say Rasta must have dreadlocks or women should not wear pants, but to focus on the bigger issues that can bring together diverse thinking in a constructive and loving way. Expanding this philosophy beyond Rasta to all faiths, and to look for the unity of conscious living could move the world towards powerful peace.

Selassie also stated "Since nobody can interfere in the realm of God we should tolerate and live side by side with those of other faiths. In the mystic traditions of the different religions, we have a remarkable unity of spirit. Whatever religion they may profess, they are spiritual kinsmen. While the different religions in their historic forms bind us to limited groups and militate against the development of loyalty to the world community, the mystics have already stood for the fellowship of humanity in harmony with the spirit of the mystics of ages gone by."

It is the world community that benefits from the activities of small local communities building on each other and spreading the message of peace and love much like the works of Rastafari and reggae music. For this reason alone, R.A.L.A.K. plays a critical role in preserving the knowledge and wisdom of Rastafari in a pure ultimate truth. R.A.L.A.K. is an experience that proves a small group of people can make a big difference not only in their own lives but as a movement for many that will surely grow over time.


A few (not all) of special guests in attendance :

Dr Desta Meghoo has dedicated her life to many honorable causes including the upliftment of Rasta women in Ethiopia. In addition she nurtures many abandoned and homeless youth's by establishing a Children's Village where they remain safe, have access to food, receive schooling and counseling.

Queen Mother Moses- Serves as President of the Empress of Zion and International Ambassador for the ARK (Almighty Rastafari Kingdom), a non-profit organization of Rastafari women. Mother Moses works with schools and children while promoting a higher consciousness concerning the life and role of Rastafari women. "If you continue to suppress the female side and keep life out of balance, then we are heading for chaos."

Robert and Julia Roskind- Organizers of the Gathering of the Healers, author of 'Rasta Heart' and other books of spiritual content. Their vision is to share what they have learned about peace from various indigenous elders such as the Hopi, Rasta, Supai, Iroquois,and Tzutijil Mayan and to promote unconditional love.

Ras Israel- Panel member for Interfaith Reasonings, Ethiopian Priest and Event Director

Bingi Irie Lions- Rastafari Elder leading onstage Nyahbinghi Drumming and Reasonings

Ras Bobby Sullivan- President of BMARC (Black Mountain Asheville Rastafari Collective)

Ras Roshon Abednego- Event Director, member of BMARC (Black Mountain Rastafari Collective)

Dr. Jake Homiak- Curator for "Discovering Rastafari" exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Ras Sela Judah Fari-co-organizer of R.A.L.A.K. a disabled American veteran and one of the ELDERS and Administrators within the Global Rastafari Community and Ras Miles Jacob Marley, a USA veteran and (Elder) of The Rastafarian UniverSoul Order Prison Ministry Fellowship - both reside in Black Mountain, North Carolina - are faced with the responsibility of addressing the Misrepresentation of the Rastafari Way of Life as an alternative life style, fashion, gang or any other societal labels placed on it due to ignorance.

Empress Iffiya- vital contributor to the musical line-up including the inclusion of the Marley Brothers, Chrisinti and Isha Blender. Empress Iffiya also served as the artists relations contact during the event.


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Read comments (3)

Posted by Lee Abel on 09.30.2010
What a beautiful event, and Sista Irie, you covered it so well, in both images and words. Thanks.

Posted by Makeda Hannah on 10.02.2010
How wonderful to experience this great event through this presentation! Almost like being there in person. Thank you very much for sharing the blessing. ONE LOVE to all who made this such a great celebration of the MOST HIGH, JAH RASTAFARI!
Ezhiabigher Ymassagan.

Posted by Ras Kind on 10.03.2010
This was an AWESOME, MYSTICAL event. The love in the air was palpable. Everyone, no matter what color, age of lifestyle, greeting with each other with kindness and a sense of friendship. It truly represented the heart of Rastafari!

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