Sunday, March 05, 2006

Is this a novelty performer, a one hit wonder? I think not...

Those that have known me through my many years are more than aware of my fondness forJamaica and its rich culture. I was introduced to the Island as a Youth visiting a campsite aptly enough called Strawberry Parish located on the rocky coast in St Ann Parish. It was there that I had my first encounter with things Rasta. Right from the beginning those religious dreadlocked folk fascinated me. There worship of Jah, Ganja and references to the old testament were both foreign and yet very familiar. A very strong subliminal tie to my own Hebrew identity. For example A Jewish man is not supposed to cut their forelocks a rule very simiiar to the Rasta dreads. Are the Payos {forelocks} proudly worn by the ulra orthodox in Brooklyn a form of the dreadlocks? There was such a distinct difference though I dismissed the commonalities. Those similiarities were not lost in Matisyahu a young Hasid who produces the most dynamic Reggae riddims in years. Reviving both interest in things Rasta and spiritually reawakening many of the lost "tribe" members.
I first saw Matisyahu play outdoors in a benefit for Chabad House in Amherst. He was outrageous. Later that year we took a pilgrimage to NYC and saw Matisyahu perform at BB Kings on Christmas eve. Perfect. This guy is no joke he is the real thing touching something in all those who listen and watch him perform.
He will break many barriers with this new CD. Much of it is autobiographical talking about his transformation from secular drug using Jew to the visionary he is now. Well worth the listen and if you are able to see one of his charismatic performances you will also be in for a not easily matched musical experience.
Highly recommended.
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