Casper Lomayesva

Casper Lomayesva Chants

There’s just some­thing about reg­gae music!

And to quote the words sung by the Great Bob Mar­ley on Trench­town Rock (1975):

One good thing about music/when it hits you, you feel no pain/Oh, oh, I say, one good thing about music/when it hits you, you feel no pain/Hit me with music/Hit me with music…

As most uni­ver­sal truths do, the­se words have tak­en on a life of their own, and con­tin­ue to rever­ber­ate, even to the Red Rocks of Sedona, the greater Ari­zona region and most pow­er­ful­ly in the life of Hopi Reg­gae Artist Casper Lomayesva, who com­bi­nes his native roots with the pos­i­tive vibes of reg­gae music.

It was while vaca­tion­ing in Sedona, Ari­zona, on a day-trip back from the Grand Canyon, where a self-pro­claimed Unit­ed Nations crew (a Bul­gar­i­an, a Cru­cian, a Kit­ti­tian, two Japan­ese, and four Amer­i­cans) of easy tour­ing part­ners (some soon to become fast friends) were first intro­duced to the only known Hopi reg­gae musi­cian, bud­ding polit­i­cal activist, and artist-advo­cate for Native Amer­i­can cul­ture.

When we had ini­tial­ly board­ed the jeep, the music was non­de­script. Even now, I couldn’t tell you what it was, except that some­one request­ed Tim­ba­land, which elicit­ed a chuck­le if not an out­right LOL.

Some­time lat­er as we board­ed, post-lunch, our tour guide had slipped a lit­tle some­thing-some­thing in the stereo. And almost imme­di­ate­ly the world slipped on its axis a bit. And not just for me. The ener­gy sud­den­ly changed in the jeep, and it moved to the organ­ic pulse of a reg­gae beat.

And the col­lec­tive heads nod­ded.

I don’t think any of us on board knew this par­tic­u­lar artist—and I am grate­ful for the in depth peek into his life and times pro­vid­ed by writer Niki D’Andrea in Ras­ta Red­mon: Hopi Reg­gae Artist Casper Lomayesva Brings Redemp­tion Songs to the Desert—but we knew the source.

It’s hard not to iden­ti­fy with that organ­ic pulse of reg­gae. Hard­er still not to be mel­lowed up and out by free­dom songs.

After our final stop before the ride home, per­haps assum­ing every­one was a bit tired of the same ole, our guide asked out loud what we want­ed to hear. To my delight, our new Bul­gar­i­an friend shout­ed “more reg­gae.”

It was a great moment.

Whether it’s the tru­ly old school vari­ety that your dad played on his records, that you rein­tro­duce your­self to dai­ly on Pan­do­ra, in the names of Marley(s), Tosh, Isaacs, Cliff, Wail­er et al, or the new­ness (in my life) of Casper’s sto­ry that is as authen­tic and vis­cer­al as those he chan­nels.

There’s just some­thing about reg­gae music.

Have you stum­bled across any great acts late­ly? Share some of your music loves…


*The Hopi Tribe is a sov­er­eign nation locat­ed in north­east­ern Ari­zona. The reser­va­tion occu­pies part of Coconi­no and Nava­jo coun­ties, encom­pass­es more than 1.5 mil­lion acres, and is made up of 12 vil­lages on three mesas.