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Album

Madness

Description

I began teaching the History of Reggae Music in 1999 with hopes to pass on the gifts I received from the beautiful Island of Jamaica, and it’s strong and mighty people. At that time I began working on the production of a documentary film on the same subject, Holding on to Jah (www.holdingontojah.com). First and foremost I am a musician and have been touring the World with the fusion Reggae group Groundation for many years. Through all of this I have become entwined in Jamaican culture and with a name like Harrison Stafford, too long and confusing for most Jamaicans (two last names?), my name became «Professor» or «Prof.» Today if you’re around elder Rasta musicians and you’re talking about me, you’re talking about «Professor.»

«Professor» one who professes something; in this case the subject is the West Bank and the conflict between Israeli and Palestinian societies. I had visited Israel before, in fact as Groundation we’ve performed 3 memorable concerts in Tel Aviv, but this time I wanted to see it from the Palestinian perspective. I joined a French activist, and long time friend, in east Jerusalem and spent the next 10 days visiting with Palestinians and their families throughout the West Bank; Hebron, Ramallah, Jericho, Nablus, and Qalqiliya. Alone I would walk the streets at night, reflecting on the impact of the day, and singing songs into my IPhone. One particular meeting struck me very deeply; A Palestinian poet told me that he knew Reggae well, but did not like the music of Bob Marley and other Rasta singers. He had thought their music it was negative, too Zionist, and totally against his everyday experience.

Returning from Israel to Jamaica I locked myself in my one-room home away from home in the hills above St. Ann’s Bay, in the Lime Hall community, and with the revolutionary spirit of Marcus Garvey blowing through the green lush fruit trees I sat with my guitar and arranged my West Bank songs into these 8 tracks. I then called up my favorite Reggae drummer and long time musical friend Leroy «Horsemouth» Wallace and a few weeks later the two of us sat in a stuffy hotel in Kingston and cemented the songs into their final arrangements. Next I called up Flabba Holt, founder of the Roots Radics and bassist for Israel Vibration, we had also known each other for many years, he was into the project. My goal was to do the opposite of a Groundation record; I would record, mix, and master the entire album in Kingston, Jamaica with some of the greatest musicians in Reggae history. The Dub versions come from a childhood friend of mine, Rob Cross in California, they are dynamic, special, and they truly complete the record.

I hope everyone, from both sides of the line, enjoys the music.

Blessings always,

Harrison Stafford «Professor»

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