the last time i was at more fire at the mercat cross hotel was a month ago. this time i didnt stay too long and left before i got too tired even though the last set at around 5 was a surprisingly good mix of a more aggressive gangster rap style of reggae. there was even a little bit of reggaethon in it.
i left thinking that while i liked the style of dub that they played at more fire, i still preferred the roots and culture style of reggae – the older original form which had more spiritual themes of the rastafari religion and also had more obvious african influences.
jesse i at the start of his set played a track by reggae giant, desmond dekker, who had passed on recently. he followed it by a few more older tracks. It reminded me of the many times that I was moved to tears by rastafarian devotees singing their faith – something that other forms of music rarely does.
the reason why roots reggae resonates with me is not just that the artists are so raw in their emotional expression (after all this is true for many genres) but because often, even if it is not directly expressed in their words, there is a strong element of longing for Zion and Africa both often being conflated into a mythical land of origin that is both a worldly utopia as well as a spritual paradise for rastafarians.
this longing for a home that one has never seen and never been to is one that has been with me for a long time. a part of it is to do with a hopeless cynicism about the current world, about the impossibility of creating a system here that is free from injustice and pain (this world being the babylon that is referred to often in reggae), a part is about finding a place in which i compleatly belong as comfortably as one belongs to an old pair of jeans but a greater part is a dumb emotional longing for inner peace.
of course, a lot of this is my projections into reggae and rastafarism in general.