The clear blue waters, soft sand beaches and cool vibes. It's not the only thing to love about the island. When I come back to my yard, it's all love, peace, family and serenity. This is what Jamaica means to me. More life, happiness and love.
When I wrote and recorded "Sweet Jamaica" I was feeling overwhelmed in many different ways. It was the first time I returned home in a long, long time. It was the first song I sang on the land upon my return.
This moment meant a lot to me because being away from family can leave you in a lonesome place at times and it gave me peace to see my friends and family again.
In Sweet Jamaica, I put many elements of my experience in the song. I also included many cultural aspects of Jamaica, referencing the original people of Jamaica and the strength and perseverance of African-Jamaicans.
For all who do not know, Jamaica was highly populated by the Taino people. The Taino are believed to be from Arawak Indian origin. This tribe migrated from South America to the small island and named the island “Xymaca”. In the Arawak language this term means “land of wood and water”.
Though the Arawak Indian population mostly died off from the arrival of Spanish colonies through enslavement and European diseases their history still lives on the island today.
As African slaves were being introduced into the island, Africans soon became the majority at one point, out numbering slave masters 20:1. As slave revolts began to erupt the British soon cut their losses and in realising they were fighting a losing battle to control enslaved Africans. The British Parliament finally admitted failure and passed a law emancipating slaves in 1833.
I may get deeper into Jamaican history in another post but I say the above to reveal the true beauty and rich history of Jamaica and the people. We have a deep history and we continue to surprise the world with who we are as one, what we stand for and our many talents.
From Jamaica comes Reggae music, the great Bob Marley, Marcus Garvey, the Rastafari movement and Dance Hall music. I also cannot fail to mention the great King Tubby, responsible for the foundation of Electronic Dance Music (EDM).
Some of the best soccer players and runners such as Usain Bolt and of course some of the greatest forward thinkers such as Claude Mckay and Lorna Goodison also hail from Jamaica. One of my favorite poets and activists, Mama Louise Bennett aka Miss Lou has to also be mentioned, as she is a person of many unique characters.
The spirit of Jamaica is in its people, the growth of the island is up to us.
Sweet Jamaica is an ode to that greatness and vibrancy that is Jamaica.
Talk soon and walk good!