BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer Sunday, October 18, 2015
A STACK of spiritual books are prominent in Ras Michael's hotel room; the Africa Channel is the Nyahbinghi master drummer's viewing choice.
Dressed in African garb, Rastafari and the upliftment of reggae music dominate his conversation. It has been that way with Ras Michael for nearly 50 years.
Tomorrow, the founder of Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus will receive the Order of Distinction (OD) from the Jamaican Government for his "contribution to the development of Jamaican music".
He considers his journey to King's House, to accept the country's sixth-highest honour, as another marker in his service to Rastafari.
"For Ras Michael, is a transitional sojourn...from Salt Lane to Spanish Town Road, Back 'O' Wall, Rose Lane, Matthews Lane, Trench Town, Waterhouse. The journey continues," he reasoned.
The 72-year-old Ras Michael lives in Los Angeles, where there is a strong following for Nyabinghi music and traditional reggae.
A protégé of Rasta leader Mortimo Planno, Ras Michael was born Michael Henry in St Mary, but moved with his family to west Kingston as a boy. His music career emerged during the early 1970s, a period of spiritual awareness and black consciousness among Jamaican youth.
Like the trailblazing Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, the Sons of Negus recorded a number of potent songs including New Name and The Lion of Judah. Their Dadawah album, released in 1974, is rated among reggae's finest.
He believes the OD is recognition of his unwavering commitment to Rasta and reggae in its purest form. more