Ras Kofi da Farmah
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Ras Kofi da Farmah

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF
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"Redemption Music"

Some of the new music is direct and engaged. It does not sing of freedom in general or of oppression in general. People need not only 'overall freedom' such as we get when a country become independent or when an official system of oppression is officially cancelled.
General, or of general oppression is at one level. Then you have to examine the communities to see what weighs on them. In this one Ras kofi puts the finger on a social Šthat is wreaking havoc on particular people., usually Black and poor.

Ras Kofi is caught in a place between membership of a community and its love and the fact that active youth of such a community along with youth from outside of it should be turned into a military adventure. This armed group offers the community hope of deliverance, but also fear and lack of freedom of movement and speech. And the armed group is not self- acting. It is the idea of politricksters from outside.
New means of entrapment often come from city to village or other rural area or small town, in the Hoods and projects. This happened in the USA and is recorded in the New York Times, when the CIA dropped rugs into black neighborhoods to confuse the youth It comes with the man in the shiny van, the slick truck, truck, the dream car. He brings gifts that seem destined for you, answers to your prayer.
The local agents have his business card with P O Box plainly written and no street address. This is good for a home, but why will a business hide itself?


The lyric makes it all simple and does not even go into the offers of free cruises The intruder has gifts from the gods to offer: new games for old, new means of livelihood in place of tilling the soil and minding livestock- mechanical and trade skills, clean technology and education. but these new gifts depend on his weekly or monthly visits. Then there is the new education, new religion, everything new. Some new this are life giving but most are deadly. And how do we separate and detect them?
Some couplets will show the drift of the composer's sense of destruction and sense of creation and recreation. It is a cautionary message, forcefully given not to lose our base.

It opens with the Proclamation" This is the Fahrenheit's creation Š
Musical vibration going out to alt the nation"


It calls the nation Israel, the Israel of the Rastafari vision.

The groundings are there it is saying.,

"We na need dem cheese and bun,
Marcus Garvey self -reliance liberation sound."

One form of inducement goes straight to the palate and the hunger or the taste.. The other we shall see. is not just "cheese and bun" which iss only the intro.

The lyric means perhaps that where Marcus Garvey trod there is enough example and teaching to encourage black people to follow a self ordered path, not get caught up in new attractive tempting solutions, though they may look like deliverance. This is so, but how alive is the tradition? Other temptatiollow.

"Spit upon den grease dem grease and gun
War upon the land and Mama can't have no fun."

The crazy gun is a limp solution, when you look at it at the women and the family who are held prisoner by the fear of flying high- powered bullets,. with no herb they still know of to heal thetearing wounds..

What is a better thing to do? muses the muser.
"Plant you bungo peas and done
Sow it in the moon and reap it in the sun."

Although, more prssure for doing ruight, because trade is unequal-

It looks like this :

"dollar by the bag and a ship it it by the ton." And that is oppression, we have traditions that pointed another route.

Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvment Association and Communities League (UNIA) had organized small communities over many years ending up with a UNIA membership of some two million Africans in the USA,. the West Indies,, Latin America and two African countries. UNIA was the largest voluntary grass roots organization perhaps in history..Garveyu had a vision of expanded trade tying up small communities and growing business organizations under theshadow of self governimg and just African govrnments .

We should not forget that without millionaire and government backing, without grants, the UNIA and Garvey in the days of SEGREGATION and lynching, yet established and put on the water a shippng enterprise "The Black Star Line" for Diaspora trade.

The composer's remedies are simple, but not far- fetched, except that some of the cultivation would not succeed with fractured drainage in the farming areas

The composer sees some of those caught in the militarizing trap like people who should know better, lying down in dangerous places


"lie down wid de a rattlesnake an and frt bout de harm
After two thousand years you suppose to know what a ' guh on"

It is sure there also is need for the flattery of "cheese and buns"> There be small temptations and large temptations. And Africa showed us that liberation armies work. But there is a difference between liberation armies and gun rule. You remember Jonestown. They were well armed. But was it was it a liberation army.

Then the composer takes a swift glanc at those trying to make Jah's reproduction bodies, the seeds, better than Jah made them, Let us say that they think they got that right and got power from Jah, Well what is their witness? He warns against consumption of foods coming out of artificial genes.
He watereth the hills fromhis chambers

Father heaven and Mama Earth
Su na bother eat genetic
and expect fi flex electric.."

It has been said."A poet can do nothing but warn."

This writing gives samples of a reggae that looks at special areas and levels of empowerment and finds Garvey still an inspiration/. - EUSI KWAYANA


"Q & A with Ras Kofi Da Farmah"


Atlanta City Buzz Examiner rates this:


Friday
15Jan2010

DateFriday, January 15, 2010 at 02:07PM

Richard Shabazz: Greetings Ras Kofi. I have to start off asking about the name. Where did you get the name ‘The Farmer’? I know what a farmer does but I want to give you the chance to explain to my readers the meaning behind the name.

Ras Kofi: Thanks for asking brother. I can be fairly long winded because I like to be thorough. But suffice it to say that a lot of what we do is multifaceted, multi-dimensional and carries several related meanings. I am Ras Kofi the Farmah first and foremost because from my early youth, my siblings and I were encouraged (at one time forced...lol) by our parents to tend to our garden plots in Guyana. The love for farming has grown in me ever since, and as I grew, I also developed more of a consciousness of the NECESSITY of a self respecting people feeding themselves. A nation that depends on its enemy for food is a nation of fools. Ras Kofi the musician is the farmer metaphorically speaking because we attempt to plant and nurture seeds of inspiration in the minds of those who are exposed to our art. Not like Johnny Appleseed, but a long term relationship. (laughing)



RS: How long have you been performing the particular genre of music that you do?

RK: LOL. From birth. I often hear other artists say that as a response to that question. I would have to say the same. The love of music and the opportunity to express myself through chant and song has been cultivated in me and my family and it has been consistently reinforced by my environment. I started recording music around 1987 as an artist of the Hip Hop/ Reggae genre.



RS: I hear a lot of spirituality in your music from the lyrics to the soulful beats you have. What religion, if any, is it that you practice?

RK: Love is my religion. Religion is that which we strive to practice consistently and deliberately in order to achieve whatever our goals. I tend to reject the term religion as it relates to my spiritual self. I use, as a very practical basis for this rejection, the words of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie as he speaks on the distinction between religion and SPIRITUALITY.



RS: Where are you originally from?

RK: I was born in Guyana, South America.



RS: What type of international presence and influence do you feel you have or can have with your music?

RK: I have been fortunate to travel to a few countries on the African continent as well as the Caribbean. Through our various works and also with the influx of social networking sites, I have been equally fortunate to interact with sisters and brothers on every continent. I find that wherever we reside, the basic need and aspiration of our people is the same. We have been scattered physically, emotionally, spiritually and every other king of “ally” you can find..LOL. As Isis helped Horus to REMEMBER himself, we are all in some way on a quest to do the same. This may be in the form of bringing our immediate families back together, or getting more in tune with our bodies, or finding a spiritual center after experiencing hurt or trauma. On a global level, it explains the tireless and priceless work of the Hon Marcus Mosiah Garvey, the work of Haile Selassie, Kwame Nkrumah and other founders of the OAU, etc in manifesting Pan African unity. That’s just from my perspective as an Afrikan youth. Everyone around the world has that basic need to be WHOLE. With this in mind, we use our art to imitate and reflect life as we see it, and even to initiate NEW life. People don’t like (or need) to be preached to. People need to feel that they are not isolated in their day to day struggles. We know that this is a reality, anyway, because we are all connected as human beings. For instance, the current suffering of our people in Haiti is a direct reflection and connection to all Afrikans of the diaspora, if for no other reason because Haiti is a lasting example of an oppressed people’s determination to speak for themselves. As a fan of so much music, I like for the artist I am digging to speak to issues, energies and vibes that I am interested in. I also greatly appreciate when an artist is able to take me somewhere NEW…to stretch my imagination and expand my knowledge. Internationally, the concept of ‘six degrees of separation’ is REAL and we have been given a message for the world to hear. Fortunately, I have been RICHLY BLESSED with the friendship of some very talented producers such as the Suns Of Light who produced our upcoming release “Who know how to put the FUNK and the GROOVE in the riddim” so that people can enjoy it with a light heart instead of listening out of a sense of “obligation.” The producers and musicians we roll with are in the tradition of our grandmothers who always knew how to make the medicine SWEET...LOL



RS: Who are some of the artist that influenced your music and style?

RK: Aw, man you are asking for a roll call that would have us here for 7 days and 7 nights (laughing). I would have to start by acknowledging Grannie Frieda Marcus and SisiBab. 2 elders from my village who carried the chants and kept the Congo culture. At this moment, I would say Aretha FRANKLIN, Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Paul Roberson, Sugar Minott, Ras Micheal, Big Youth, Brigadeer Jerry, Charlie Chaplain (the reggae chanter), Count Ossie, Bunny Wailer, Dennis Brown, the ballads of Miles Davis, Bill Rogers (a Guyanese folk singer), Bob Marley, Hugh Masakela, Peter Tosh, Miss Lou, etc, etc, until the cows come home LOL.

When I came over to the US at a young age, I heard Run DMC and Yellowman do a tune that spoke to my cultural expression. Later on is PRT, BDP, early NWA and others came into my life. I am more recently coming to a full appreciation of Fela Kuti, whose music and life affirm our musical mission. I am a student of the Sound System school. I LOVE original MC/DJ combinations in Hip Hop like Guru and Primo, L.L. and Cut Creator/Bobcat, even Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince from the earlier days. Jazzy Jeff is one of the most underrated masters of the Hip Hop art. I really have to stop here, because we could go on forever (laughs). It’s like the danger of giving shout outs to people who have helped you along the way. Fortunately for me, I have a list that seems to have NO END!



RS: What do think of the state of music today rather it be dance hall, reggae or hip-hop?

RK: Quite simply, the music is a reflection of the mind set of the people. The struggles, the fantasies, the illusions, the hopes, etc. This is not just true for this current generation. Study of history always leads us to the arts of the particular culture to help us gauge the collective consciousness. The need is for balance. It is quite possible for a music fan to have a wide collection of all manner of music…and I mean FUNKY music, and never touch the mainstream stuff that the masses are subject to on a daily. The other need is for independent media…control of the dissemination of info by the people who benefit from the info. I think that this is the main issue, COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS AND CREATIVITY…because we often only hear about 10% of the great music that is out here. The internet is really helping to bridge that gap and empower the voices of everyday people.



RS: I know you are true DJ. Can you explain to my readers the important part the DJ plays in your style of music?

RK: LOL. Another word with a double meaning. DJ in reggae culture is the griot…like the Hip Hop EMCEE. He or she tells the latest news, makes complicated issues simple to digest, speaks on behalf of the people…and then some. But with those attributes alone, that’s a FULL time job (laughing). Taking into consideration that music is the new “church” or place of information and inspiration for many, this increases the importance of the D.J role not only in Ras Kofi’s music but in society as a whole! The D.J as we popularly know the term in the US is the DRUMMER. He or she keeps the heartbeat of society. This DJ is EXTREMELY important, because he or she presents the music that we create with a certain feeling, a certain emphasis that carries our music even further than sometimes we expect. I remember a time not so long ago that we in the indigenous music community were at an all out WAR with the influx of CDs, and this was particularly because of the obvious threat to the culture of vinyl records being scratched and cut or selected on a turntable. That’s like taking away the drummers’ style and flavor. Now that CDs are a full blown reality (and really becoming antiquated) it gives us joy to see how we have prevailed and creatively used technology to still beat our drum in the way that only we can.



RS: What is the mission and message that you feel your music can bring and represent to the people?

RK: The music that we make attempts to speak to real life scenarios and concepts and hopefully to always creatively offer a way “out” instead of just gloomy analysis. Even more importantly, we are here to celebrate life. There is so much going on that sometimes people take the word “reality” to mean all the gloom of the world. The first and only REALITY is the LOVE that is manifest in so many simple and profound ways everyday. We are here to make LOVE with our music.



Ras Kofi - The Musical Healers band website

Listen Every Friday Night - Midnight to 3AM est 89.3 WRFG Atlanta, GA

Ras Kofi Roots Myspace Music Page

Ras Kofi on the Honor Music Group site

Connect with Ras Kofi on Facebook

Musical Healers podcast site

www.TheRsvpReport.com - THE RSVP REPORT


Discography

Materialist Album 2010
Ghetto Dominoes (single) 2009
Organic Sounds Vol 1 Mix 2006
African Soldier (single) 2006
Sanctify (single) 2006
So Long (single) Footprintz Records 2005
Gathering Souls (single) 2005
Family Life (single) 2005
Hold On To Your Culture (single) 2005
Cheese and Bun (single) 2004
Wife Beater (single) 2003
Lyrical Gun (single) 2003

Photos

Bio

While the borders that separate musical genres continue to fade, on the rise is a new genre known simply as "good music". Rising out of this borderless musical landscape is Ras Kofi, a child of the hip hop generation, a product of the rising reggae revolution and an offspring of South America's political landscape…all of which have shaped his musical offering on the forthcoming album titled Sound Roots, produced by gold selling musical childhood prodigy, The Boyz, now known as the Sunz Of Light. Molded by his Rastafarian spiritual groundation and his vivid experiences as a world traveler, Ras Kofi's music, escaping modern classifications, blends reggae chanting, rapping and singing with lyrics that vividly tell stories, uplift the mental and heal the soul.

Imagine the colorful stories grandma use to tell set to the melodic music of reggae, hip hop with jazz inflections and you have the universal makings of this modern day musical griot. With titles like, "The Healers", a soothing lullaby celebrating our ability to heal, and "Family Life", featuring long time Jamaican sound system crooner, Scion Success and "Hold On To Your Culture" a non preachy directive celebrating our cultural past, Ras Kofi's songs are modern urban lullabies that touch the soul, move the body all while urging you to think. His music, a showcase of his lyrical gifts and production savvy will have you reminiscing about the days of old at times, while other times making you think about the perplexities of the socially imbalanced urban landscape on which we find ourselves a part of. But most of all his music takes us on a beautiful and danceable ride to a place of deep thought and reflection.

English Teacher at one of Atlanta's inner city high schools, lecturer and radio personality by day, this Guyanese born and bred musical revolutionary is a songwriter, producer and entertaining stage performer by night. On a journey that began at birth, Ras Kofi's was raised in a politically charged household on the forefront of the often tumultuous nature of Guyanese politics. As a child he was greatly influenced by the harsh reality of South American politics and the soft and comforting beauty of a nurturing village in which nature and all things African were revered. The landscape of sunny California and later the southern tradition of Augusta , Georgia would later add to the foundation of what would be his first musical journey as an artist/lyricist in the legendary hip hop group, The Black Ingels. With a deeply rooted underground following from one end of Georgia to the other, The Black Ingels were ahead of their time, blending socially conscious lyrics in a Hip Hop, Reggae and Jazz stylee.

With a musical collection that includes everything from Donny Hathaway, to John Coltrane to Bob Marley to Buju Banton to KRS One and the traditional riddims from South America to Africa you can only begin to get the picture of the many and varying influences that have given birth to this modern day mic chanter and musical griot. A devout traveler, in any given year, he can be found rocking the mic in the townships of South Africa, hills of Tanzania and Kenya, villages in Guyana, on the lawns and beaches in Jamaica, in the dirty south and the up and down the east and southern coasts. He has shared the stage with the likes of the Last Poets, Mutabaruka, Luciano, Sizzla, KRS-One, Pharoh Saunders, Tony Rebel, Morgan Heritage, Sugar Minott, Brigadeer Jerry and many more.

Even on the first listen, Ras Kofi's music is strangely familiar to our soul. Reminiscent of a long lost cousin, who arrives to tell us stories of our past, present and the beauty and potential of a future filled with Universal love and void of all barriers and borders, Ras Kofi's music is simply "good music". Good for the soul.