By Regina Cano
HAVANA TIMES – Every February 6th, rastafaris come together in Havana to celebrate another anniversary of the birth of one of their idols: Bob Marley.
They were drawn to a reggae concert in the evening on Callejon de Hamel, a cultural spot in the center of the city, to celebrate the 75th birthday of the person who put the voice of these Jah (Javeh) followers’ spirituality into his lyrics, who they believe to be their Prophet.
They shared this special moment on Callejon de Hamel with their brothers and sisters, people from San Miguel del Padron, Alamar, Old Havana, Central Havana, as well as from other municipalities and even other provinces, such as Matanzas.
Differences between Bobo Shantis and Nyahbingis were irrelevant, differences between vegetarians, vegans and people who eat meat was irrelevant, as were the differences between people who drink alcohol and those who don’t.
Most of the people who came were people who live their lives immersed in this spiritual belief, worshipping Haile Selassie I and reggae music being the expression of their faith.
There were people who have had dreadlocks for many years, people who had just got dreadlocks and even people without. There were people wearing tunics, turbans and hats, as well as people who came in their work clothes.
People of different ages, all of whom are fans of the great singer and excellent ambassador Marley was, who is still a symbol of the defense of Black peoples’ unity and rights, and Pan-Africanism in general.
Everybody present wore symbols and colors which showed they were marked by the event and that it meant something to them. Foreign visitors were also present, who were keen to share a dance and sing-song with the Cubans.
Herencia band were the main guests invited to play, who shared the stage with other reggae artists.
There was a lot of dancing, happiness, constant blessings from those who had access to the mic, as well as amongst the public, who were all for sharing a good time together.
“Redemption Song”, “No Woman, No Cry” were sung and heard over and over again, as well as mentions of Shashamane or Zion. Marley was also remembered for his time with The Wailers.
Memories, updates, secrets and solidarity filled conversations and talks began: “Do you remember when we went to the mountain” or “… to that river…”.
Public and beloved figures came such as Felix, the former director of the Remanente band. Or controversial people like the famous “Vikinga”.
Near the end of the concert, there was an announcement that went from mouth to mouth: “Today, there’s Palermo!…” (a night club that lets you play reggae music and where rastafaris go), where many people who were on Hamel went afterwards, to carry on the party.
Receiving all of the good, beneficial and perfect things from Jah that life has given to unite them as brothers and sister, as rastafaris, they each went their separate ways, longing for the next time they can come together again.
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