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.