Emily Raboteau's New Book Is One Reggae Lover's Literary Quest For The Promised Land
In her book Searching For Zion, Emily Raboteau sets off on a diasporic quest for the mythical promised land that so many reggae artists have sung about over the years. If you've ever been puzzled by songs like Demond Dekker's "The Israelites" or Dennis Brown's "Children of Israel" then this book is just what you're looking for. Why are Jamaican Rastafarians so obsessed with Israel anyway? And what about those elaborately dressed black Israelites one sometimes encounters on street corners? As a lover of Jah music and the daughter of an expert in African-American religion, the acclaimed author was well aware of the concept of "Zion" as a "place black people yearned to be." Over the course of ten years, she visited Jamaica, Ethiopia, Ghana, and the American South, speaking with Rastas, mystics, and Katrina refugees, shedding light on their shared plight as well as their shared visions. While you wait for this enlightening book to download, check out Some of Our Favorite Zionist Reggae Jams After The Jump...
The Abyssinians "Satta Massagana"
"There is a land far far away, where there's no night, there is only day..."
(click through the gallery above for more Zionist reggae jams)
Garnet Silk "Zion In a Vision"
“Jah was there amidst everyone, stretching forth his right hand, oh it’s like a family reunion…”
Freddie McGregor "Holy Mount Zion"
“Many years I know I’ve been slaving, slavemasters keep whipping my back, still I know I have one intention, and I’m moving to the promised land.”
Bob Marley & The Wailers "Zion Train"
“The Zion train is coming our way…”
Linval Thompson & U Brown "Train To Zion"
“The train to Zion is coming I don’t want no one to miss it.” (Later he sings about the Black Star Liner, which is a boat… but whatever.)
Marcia Griffiths "Steppin Out Of Babylon"
“Steppin’ out of Babylon one by one, in Mount Zion.”