Saturday, 11 April 2009

Shaka in Africa

Jah Shaka Sound System, from a 1989 session in Ashwin St, Dalston, London. Shaka runs a Gregory Isaacs tune on the Promised Land riddim ('I do love you'), then plays the version, giving the following account of his recent trip to Ghana and a history lesson about the repatriation movement, before dropping a thunderous bassline.

"Take a trip the other day
to visit my brethren inna Ghana...

My brethren, my brethren, greetings from Ghana
greetings from Accra, Ghana, y’know
been on the radio been on the TV
been on the radio been on the TV
they wanted to know about His Imperial Majesty
and a reporter said to I
you are a Jamaican
what is the connection with you and the Ethiopian Haile Selassie?
I said to him, is a long story
but I will cut it short
in 1930
the Kings of Kings was born
and we have a prophet by the name of Marcus Garvey
that told the people in Jamaica
about the coming
about the coming
he said look to Africa
where a king shall be crowned
the conquering lion of the tribe of Judah
[loud applause]
and I said to them
we are his children
and we hope to return to Africa some day.
[crowd shouts "Rastafari"; he rewinds tune to the top]

The promised land
going to the promised land.

And I asked the reporter
what happened to the Black Star Liner
that Marcus Garvey set up
cos Marcus Garvey have a link with the crewman
of Ghana
and he said to me the Black Star Liner is still running
and it comes to the dock in Tilbury, East London
[loud applause]
it runs under the flag of the Black Star Liner
[shouts from crowd]
I told them
we will fulfil Marcus Garvey’s dream
we will return with our treatments
we will return with our skills
we will build a better nation in Africa
and I spoke with the nurses at the clinic
they said to me
will the people of London adopt this clinic?
ya hear me?
I said the nurse said to me
will the people of London adopt this clinic as their own?
and I said unto them
we will endeavour to do the best we can
so all the nurses
all who had studied nursing and doctors
you can check I and I, give me your phone number and address.
We have a direct link with Ghana!
[bassline drops to loud shouting]

They ask for our quick return
they are longing for our quick return to Africa
bear that in mind.
The youth of today
are the man and woman of tomorrow."