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Day-By-Day inna Paradise -day 7 - Puerto Rico

Posted by Daniel 
Day-By-Day inna Paradise -day 7 - Puerto Rico
January 15, 2006 06:04PM
When I booked my flight to st. croix I noticed that virtually all the flights pass through Puerto Rico. While the island is perhaps best known for ‘reggaeton’, there is a lot of roots bands that come from there such as Cultura Profetica, Gomba Jahbari and Roots Natty who spent several months in California in 2002, performing all around this area (backed by The Zioniers) including at the Monterey Bay Reggae Festival. So before purchasing my ticket, I got in touch with Max Rivera (aka Roots Natty), who told me that I should definitely plan to spend a day there.

He met us at the airport and took us to Ponce, the town in which he lives that is about 90 minutes from the airport. We stopped by to meet his father, who had threatened to pull all financing from Roots Natty’s latest release “Mystery Babylon” when he saw the album cover which depicts the pope bowing at the feet of H.I.M.

Papa seemed a bit concerned about Max’s decision to play music rather than to join him in his business, and I tried my best to impress upon him the importance of his son’s musical works and the positive effect it has on me and so many other people in the four corners of the world.

All I can say is that the livity of rastafari is alive and well and thriving in Ponce. Max may be the only dread in that town, but I’ve always believed that quality is far more important than quantity. A few years ago, he caught a great deal of trouble when he painted the fence outside his home red, gold and green,

put an ethiopian flag on the top and set up a small kiosk to sell his CDs in the front.

It was neither the flag nor the selling that got the officials riled up, but rather it was the livity of Rasta that was frowned upon. Had it been a US flag, and had he been selling crosses, he would not have had to go through all the trials and tribulations that he had to endure. Those of you who think that America protects free speech (PR being an american colony in which the first amendment is supposed to apply) have obviously not engaged in controversial free speech.

Max’s home is not very large, and the “Tabernacle Studio” takes up about 80% of it, leaving a very small space for him, his wife and children to live in. His wife and children are absolutely gorgeous, and we were constantly being handed bowls of calabash filled with the best Ital food we had on our journey.

His daughter’s name is Shashemane, and visiting him and his family gives new meaning to the lyrics on his last release. How would you like to be born with your father singing “Shashemane here I come” or “Come Jah Youth, open up your eyes today”.

We spent hour after hour in the studio listening to some of the music that Roots Natty is producing.

In addition to two albums of his own (Rasta Man Music – an album that will be in english, and Negrura – a spanish album), two other albums will be released in the next month or so. One is the first ever “Dub Poetry” album entitled “Negrolatria” by an artist named Balanta Asante. Due to problems he was having with his board, I was unable to hear the songs with lyrics, but I did get to hear the rhythms which are awesome. The second album is from Malika Madremana entitled “Rampage”. Malika, who is from Puerto Rico but currently lives in Sacramento, performed here at Dreadstock this past September, and many board members said she was a great addition to the festival. Well, her forthcoming album is absolutely wonderful, and I sincerely hope that both she and Roots Natty will be able to perform at SNWMF in the near future. Maximum RASpect to Roots Natty for doing JAH works and for taking such good care of us. It was a great ending to a most memorable journey……
Re: Day-By-Day inna Paradise -day 7 - Puerto Rico
January 15, 2006 11:52PM
Thx Daniel
Review and pix are wonderful...surely would have loved to have been there!!
Looks like you had a great time, everyone looked beautiful and full of Jah ites!

Re: Day-By-Day inna Paradise -day 7 - Puerto Rico
January 17, 2006 03:40PM
I'm glad that you enjoyed yourself in my home town here in St.Croix and that you came to see how many talented sons and dawtas st.croix have. Don't be a stranger hope to see u again !!Oh yeah before I forget visit us again for Agricultural Fair in February only natural thing ah gwan.
Re: Day-By-Day inna Paradise -day 7 - Puerto Rico
January 18, 2006 04:39PM
I would love to check the Agricultural Fair in STX someday. One thing that was very apparent to me during my stay there was the lack of vibrance in the agricultural and fishing industries. It seems such a shame to see all those big houses and open land on the eastern half of the island while 90% of the agriculture is being imported from abroad.

Here's a flyer for this weekend's fair:

Re: Day-By-Day inna Paradise -day 7 - Puerto Rico
January 18, 2006 05:45PM

The St. Croix Agriculture and Food Fair is the big show.


I'll be there with shrimp, tilapia and hydro veggies. Sorry you couldn't mek it to eye yard, as agriculture thrives year round. the reason the east is not farmed-out is the lack of consistant rainfall. You were blessed, staying far east, that jah has rained fresh water, double our average annual fall, and greened up the area. Usually, the open land on the eastern half of the island looks like a desert. hard farming, though they say the soil used to bare the best pineapples in the region! Hard work too! Also thiefery. and then the stigma of "back to the fields". Risk of mother nature (aka, another Hugo), and the lure of Bling in the states, or foreign all contribute to the lack of visible farms around STX. there is no local demand for agriculture education at the higher level. The few who do want to learn, and can afford, or can afford to take the loans, go up to Florida or down island to the UWI. Many local farmers cry for more assistance, but with Republicans leading the way in DC not much is ever left for the farmers dem.

With all these obstacles, most families still do some farming. Subsistence farming like container veggies, raised beds, fruit trees, chickens, etc... Even if the 90% imports ceased today, we wouldn't go starving in STX.

As for the fishing industry, fishing catch is declining all over the planet as hungry mouths increase. The problem is hard to solve when each country set it's own fishing laws. St. Croix has been almost completely fished out of many species. We also have pollution from HESS and domestic sewage which contaminates the "fresh" saltwater fish. There are still die hard fishermen that provide we with pot fish, conch, some snapper, lobster, and tuna, but their catch per unit effort is declining. Fuel prices are increasing also making the catch more expensive to the consumers. I realized much of this way back and have been studying fresh-water fish farming for a dozen years. For a tour of STX agriculture check UVI for I research tour next time.

The flyer for the fair above is in St. thomas. the Bordeaux Fair. More of a roots fair. Brethren in the region recently had things ripped up after the helicopter raids. I hear word they may start a movement to legalize it. Nuff here in the VI's advertise it, but we need eyes to lobby for the change. Educate the leaders. this criminalization is a conspiracy sinse the roaring 20's. Based in rasist propaganda, almost 100 yrs later we still feel the herbal oppression. Big Up to the Bordeaux brethren and sistren and all the STT farmers for the production!

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