Close your eyes and picture yourself on a Jamaican mountaintop, visiting a former sugar plantation in a lush jungle. After chewing a leaf from a magical tree, you descend into the Earth, into a cavern where slaves once were held at night following hours of toil under the island sun. Some found their way out, you learn, through a secret passageway to freedom.
A Rasta guide leads you to a subterranean creek, smelling of sulfur, and you dip into the chilly water to absorb its healing powers. Later, you pray.
“Your life will be changed forever,” the guide informs.
On a cab ride back to the coast in an old-school, pimped-out Toyota Previa, the driver has Reggae music wafting through the mini-van. Sounds like early Bob Marley or Peter Tosh.
“Who dat?” you wonder.
“Raging Fyah,” the cabbie offers. (Wow, a new wave of Reggae is flowing out of Kingston.) You are caught in a raging summer downpour on the trip off the mountain and through tiny, impoverished country villages, eventually stalled in standing water until passersby push the cab forward.
“Don’t worry,” the cabbie reassures as you sip from a now-warm Red Stripe. “Smoke this, mon. Welcome to Jamaica.”
On Sunday, March 13, Raging Fyah will deliver its new wave of Jamaican Reggae to Reno, opening for Stick Figure at Cargo. It is Raging Fyah’s first United States tour.
“We’re in the business of bringing Reggae music — the Sound of Soul, Sunshine and Positive Vibes,” the band says on its Facebook page. “California, we coming,” it says of shows in San Diego, Ventura and San Francisco before ascending to the Sierra for a stop at the Whitney Peak Hotel.
“We are excited to be jumping on the Stick Figure ‘Set in Stone’ tour with Fortunate Youth.” Raging Fyah has a message to offer, summed up in its song “Judgement Day:”
One thing I’ve got to say, you better not trouble this man
My fears have gone away out of babylon
Cause I already have paid for the wrongs that I’ve done
So I can safely say I a Rasta son
On judgement day, I’ll be playing music for the rebels
Roots, rock regg-ae music, playing sweet in heaven…
Raging Fyah formed as a trio in 2006 with Anthony Watson (drums), Demar Gayle (keyboards), and Delroy “Pele” Hamilton (bass), later joined by guitarist Courtland White and lead singer Kumar Bent. Press materials describe the Kingston-based Fyah crew as a “talented and dynamic young band and one of the bright lights in a long awaited Jamaican Reggae Renaissance… set out to rekindle a flame of positivity in the music industry.”
Releasing its latest album, “Destiny,” in 2014, Raging Fyah’s music is “influenced by passion, purpose and life experiences (with) lyrics that touch the soul of the listener, uplifting and motivating people from all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.”
The band notes it is “committed to changing the world, note by note, melody by melody, spreading light in areas of darkness, growing when conditions seem most bleak, demolishing obstacles without remorse. We will keep blazing… like a raging fyah.”