Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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Martyna RUTKOWSKA, University of Warsaw

Reggae music came into worldwide popularity in the 70's and 80's mainly thanks to its first bard - Bob Marley. He like many other adepts of this genre was Rasta. In the other words he believed, that the last Emperor of Ethiopia - Haile Sellasie I whose pre-coronation name was Ras Tafari Mekonnin was a kind of a prophet or god and his country, Zion, was 'The Promised Land for Black People'. These beliefs are known after the Emperor's name - Rastafari. From the very beginnings of this way of life the music was present in it and played a great role at community gatherings and rituals. The rasta movement emerged in the first half of 20th century in Jamaica. Today, more than 80 years later, it is still alive and attracts new adherents which are known for their creativity and artistic skills. Many of them make music which is soaked in their African and even Ethiopian identity. Through their music they promote Ethiopia and Ethiopianness keeping this country in the centre of attention of the Rastafari community.