Reggae, Rasta love affair
Tarrus Riley

Rasta and reggae are synonymous as Elvis Presley and rock and roll. That is a fact Eisaku Yamaguchi wants to enforce on his latest compilation album. Titled Reggae Loves Rasta, it is scheduled for release in April.

The set contains 11 songs. Each is a popular track by well-known artistes such as Freddie McGregor, Tarrus Riley, Dennis Brown and Sizzla.

“As you know, Rasta people love reggae music, but this title is opposite, Reggae Loves Rasta. Reggae is just a genre, so it won't speak what reggae music today is. Then, what elements, style, or trend make the listeners all over the world to believe what 'reggae' looks like today?” Yamaguchi asked in an interview with the Jamaica Observer, before answering: “I think everything.”

Reggae Loves Rasta's official release date is April 21, recognised as Groundation Day in Rasta circles. Its songs include Lock it Down by McGregor, Lion Paw by Riley, Stop The Fussing And Fighting by Brown and Simplicity from Sizzla.

There are also songs from Garnet Silk (Love is The Answer), Humble Mi (Jah9) and Do The Good (I Wayne).

“The last year, 2021, was the 55th anniversary that (Ethiopian Emperor Haile) Selassie I visited Jamaica, and this year is the 60th anniversary of Independence of Jamaica. Releasing this meaningful album between the two important anniversaries effectively sends the right messages to the world, I believe,” said Yamaguchi .

This is his sixth 'Reggae Loves' album. The first, Reggae Loves Africa, was released in 2014; his previous, Reggae Loves Unity, came out in April 2020.

Yamaguchi, who lives in New York City, began listening to reggae during the 1990s as a youth in Japan. Like its predecessors, Reggae Loves Rasta carries diverse messages.

“Throughout the album, I want people to get messages like you can change situations and in order to achieve that goal, we need to understand what problems we are facing and we should solve this problem together, but not alone,” he said. “I love a part of lyrics of Garnet Silk, 'I will always do the good I can, war and hatred I can't stand, and I hope you feel the same way too'. And also lyrics from I Wayne, 'Do the good thing you can do right away, Never do the things evil do'. It motivates me to help others, and stop and think what I should do when I confront a bad situation.”

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

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