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.
And 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 anyone was sure of the artist—and I am grateful for the in depth peek into his life and times provided by writers Niki D’Andrea in Rasta Redmon: Hopi Reggae Artist Casper Lomayesva Brings Redemption Songs to the Desert and Rob Schultheis in Casper Lomayesva: Hopi Reggae—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.