I am just in awe with how Redemption Songs went!!! Its so funny how when I first thought to do the caf show, I literally just expected that I would just be doing a regular show with reggae music. Honestly nothing crazy, but then the Hurricane happened. First Irma, then Jose, then Katia, then Maria.... it was too much and I wanted to help. But then I was like how can I help. I'm a broke college student, I can't even leave and go to those islands because I need to stay in school but then I realized I could do something. I could sing, I could write, I could act. It was from then on that I made the decision with myself that every performance I do will be to help with hurricane relief in this season.
I feel as musicians, we have lost our voice when it comes to speaking up about the things we care about. We have become to scared of offending people and being political. I am not that type of person or that type of artist. So I started rewriting songs and just listening to the words that were in my heart. And I have gotten the "Oh, Safiya you should do Jazz. Jazz suits your voice." And while that may be true, that's not what I feel I should be doing right now. I love Jazz. Jazz will forever be my roots in terms of singing and training but my heart is not in it right now and the songs that I feel god is giving me, just happens not to be jazz. Thats just what I feel god is telling me after praying about it so many times.
In the times we are in, I'm missing honesty in our music scene, and there is a calling in me to be bold and sing the things that I feel. I can't think of another way then reggae music. Like you have to understand I love Bob Marley (hence the name of the show) , I love his sons, Queen Ifrica,Taj Weekes, Capleton, I love Chronixx... I love concious music. Reggae is the one genre, in my opinion that people still talk about whats happening in the community and the world consistently. So thats how we get my show Redemption Songs.
I started by asking myself what redemption was to me. From a christian stand point, thats easy:to be saved. But it must mean more than that, right? For Bob to have written this song, the last song on his last album, and for it to be one of the most important songs of all time... there has to be something at the root of it: Redemption. A concept all of us will find to mean something different but is also universal at the same time. To me, looking at the definition of "redeem":
compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something):
synonyms: save · compensate for the defects of · vindicate
(of a person) atone or make amends for (error or evil)
synonyms: atone for · make amends for · make restitution for
I took Redemption to mean to me as a musician, to give back the stories of my life and the lives of others by performing and writing songs to atone for ones situation as well as shed light so that someone who hears the song can take the time and see if they can help: to save. So thats what I tried to do.
Two of the songs I had written made its debut: Babylon Tings and Mr. Prez
Babylon Tings was about how I am tired of the institutional things (Babylon tings) that seem to just keep people down. How I just want all the injustice and hypocrisy to just burn away and leave us with a new type of mindset so that we could do better for ourselves as people.
Mr.Prez is self explanatory. Its all my thoughts on a certain elected official and how he's been saying these ludicrous things instead of using common sense. As well as acknowledging the current events like Kaepernick, the Hurricane effort, Flint and Charlottesville.
Damien Marley : Slave Mil (video below)l and Welcome to Jamrock
Bob Marley : Redemption Song (of course) and High Tide, Low Tide
Richie Spice: Youths dem Cold
If Jah/ Ghetto People song (Tony Rebel/Everton Blender) mash up
I have been doing this mashup at all my events because the lyrics are so relevant today especially because I want people to help out if they have it. "Give a little, even a little."
They don't Know by Chronixx
I did this song because its the one song I felt redeemed from this summer and it was the song that told my story in each lyric.
So that was the message of the show: Tell your story, tell the stories of the world. If you feel a type of way, write a song about it. Musicians have the power to change the world, we just have to make a choice to do so.
There was a TEDx talk by one of my professors at Berklee named Victor Wooten and he said something very important:
"What does the world need with another good musician?...What does the world need with you?"
Even if the show had went bad, even if there had been cracks in my voice or we had all the technical difficulties in the world, at the end of the day that wouldn't have mattered to me. All that mattered to me was that people would listen to the lyrics and the words that had been said and that they would move one to be inspired to write how they feel about the world. But most importantly, that the audience who came to the show would donate to one of the two organizations for Hurricane Relief: Boston for Dominica and United Way of the USVI. When I got off that stage, yes I was happy that I put on a good show, but I was the happiest when I saw how many people had donated. Thats the reason I am a musician, to help people, and I feel so blessed that I can help facilitate ways to help and then be able to do it again and again in this season.
So yeah, That is REDEMPTION SONGS!!! There is a gallery below, check out the pics!!!
UNTILL THE NEXT POST.... Come to my next hurricane benefit (I'm hosting and singing) next week on Nov 16th at the Black Market. And in the mean time do watch that Tedx talk by Victor Wooten and be inspired.
Music as a Language: Victor Wooten at TEDxGabriolaIsland