September 20, 2022
THROUGHOUT his travels in Africa, Dawit Menelik Tafari hears a consistent lament from fans of Jamaican music. Each time is more disturbing to the Rastafarian singer-songwriter.
“Dem ask what has happened to Jamaica where wi have so much polluted music when wi used to send out people like Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Burning Spear, Culture and Abyssinians. Dis journey is to restore da kinda vibes deh an’ mek dem kinda music prevail through di Earth, because we have seen what it do an’ we have seen what it produces,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
‘Dis journey is Rastafari is Tafari’s 18-song, self-produced album which was released in early July by his Melody Muzik Sound Productions. It is his fourth album and, according to him, his most reflective.
“It virtually tell di story of Melody Muzik Sound Productions, di journey of di artiste an’ producer from di beginning of his career,” he explained.
Tafari, 61, was born in the London borough of Newham to Jamaican parents. He moved with his family to Kingston at age five and later attended Excelsior High School (for one year) and then Cornwall College.
Before returning to the United Kingdom in 1977 he was stung by the Rasta-inspired, roots-reggae bug in Jamaica. Marley, Brown and Burning Spear made the biggest impact on his ambition to become a singer-songwriter.
His previous albums are Give Thanks And Praises, What is Your Purpose in Life? and No Longer. Rastafari â€” which contains songs Tafari began recording in 1979 when he launched his career and which was recorded in Kingston, Addis Ababa and Cape Town.
Some of the musicians he collaborated with over the years, including bassist Hughy Izacharr, guitarist Louis Beckett and drummer Wazir Carnegie, worked on the album as did saxophonist Dean Fraser, trombonist Nambo Robinson, trumpeter David Madden and keyboardist Sidney Mills.
Tafari first visited Africa when he went to Ghana in 1991. That year he also visited Ethiopia where he lived for five years before moving to South Africa, his home since then.
In addition to writing and recording, Dawit Menelik Tafari produced Life And Lessons, the 2009 album by Mutabaruka.
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