Conscious Comments December 2012 - Page 6

Featured Article

We gathered ourselves backstage before the show just as evening prayers were to echo through the ancient sea-side city of Casablanca. The greatest Mosque in Africa, the Hassan II Mosque, stood only yards away from the open field where we would perform that night in front of 20,000 Arab Moroccans. Suddenly the lone male voice came shrilling out of the night air "AAAALLLLLLLLAAAAHHHHH". I listened without moving, without making a sound - an American Jew about to take the stage with my group Groundation a Roots Reggae band from California.

Music has given me the unique opportunity to experience many different languages and cultures on this earth; from North Africa to the Middle East, Athens to Rio de Janeiro, New York to Auckland, Paris to Honolulu. While performing with Groundation there is a sense of connection between us musicians and the people in the audience. It is a special exchange of energy that transcends language, culture, geography and politics. The people are choosing to spend their time with us

The Gifts of Music

by Harrison Stafford

and we give them all we can to lift their spirits and encourage them to be proactive in overcoming life's challenges. Our music focuses on the importance of this connection and speaks to the universal need for a greater love and understanding.

As a child I grew up mesmerized by Reggae Music and Rastafari. I am not sure what it was that made me gravitate to this Island sound. At first I was too young to really know what the singers were saying but by the time I was eleven years old I knew the lyrics to every Bob Marley song. At the same time, as a Jew, I was spending those years studying the Torah and learning Hebrew, the language of my forefathers. Something struck a chord within me between the Jamaican singers of Reggae and the Jewish prayers from my Torah.

One such connection was the the term “Zion”. "By the rivers of Babylon, where we sat down, and there we wept when we remembered Zion." ZION? What was this thing called Zion? "Zion is a holy place no sin can enter there." "Open up the gates of Zion!" the dreadlocked singers chanted.

There is no physical place called "Zion" on the map, I knew there was a Mount Zion and a Zion Gate in Jerusalem, but no place called Zion so what was it? After much reading