“Rastafari God Live.” Yes Iya Bubblers! Some men put their trust in money and vanity, others, men like the musicians of the Reggae Bubblers from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, put their trust in the Most High God, Jah Rastafari. Through Jah Guidance, I and I traveled back to the Big Island of Hawaii to do Jah works. It was not known to me at the time of my arrival in Hilo town, (the wettest city in the U.S.) That I would have the honor of witnessing a fresh, vibrant sound to come out of St. Croix.
Needing some Ital livity, and a break from the stress and tribulations of living in the city, the big island was calling me back. I was seeking the familiar sound of the Coqui frog chanting up his likkle song to the heavens, and Jah breeze rustling through the tropical air, and the waves with their melodic riddim, … creation sounds.
There were all kind of signs leading up to my travels to the Big Island, (greater in size than all the other Hawaiian Islands combined) that this was to be a special trip. A Hawaiian festival which celebrates the culture of the Islands through the Hula dance was taking place. Called the Merrie Monarch Festival, it celebrates King Kalakaua a descendent of the first Polynesians to settle the most remote island chain in the world, (furthest from any major continent).
I had been to St. Croix in the mid-nineties to do some farming with a friend from there. Although I never had the opportunity to see any live performances while there it wouldn’t be long before I would be introduced to the musical fire coming out of STX. My days there were Ital, pure and clean livity. Eating from the garden where we cultivated during the day. Drinking sea moss(Irish Moss) and almond milk smoothies, and enjoying our herbal sacrament. The tropical vibration there seeps into your consciousness, and as with most music from that Island it’s essence is pure Rastafari inspired heights.
Traveling by yourself affords more freedom and opportunities, that you might not otherwise have when traveling with friends or family. I had some ideas of what I wanted to accomplish, but when I walked into the local health food store in the crossroads town of Kea’au, I was pleased to learn that there was an upcoming roots reggae show. There I saw a flyer with a picture of the “Black Star Liner” (Marcus Garvey’s visionary cruise ship, part of his back to Africa movement) leaving the Island of St. Croix. I stopped in my tracks, and intently read the poster learning that the next night in Pahoa would be a group of Musicians from St. Croix right in the heart of the Puna district.
The Reggae Bubblers played a total of three shows in Hawaii two in Kona Town, on the west, dry, side of the Island, and one in Pahoa town, often referred to as the “wild west”. A well known pakalolo (Hawaiian word for cannabis) growing region in Hawaii. Unfortunately through government funding, a U.S. sponsored eradication team of thugs routinely terrorizes the normally pleasant countryside with helicopters, guns, and herbicide poison, seriously disturbing animals and human life in their quest to destroy Jah Herb. The town has a very authentic look and feel, as it is far removed from the tourist areas. Papaya, pineapple, guava, banana and mango trees line the now crowded two -lane road. South of Pahoa along the “Puna” coast there are volcanically heated hot springs right on the ocean.
Pahoa Town, Hawaii
In Pahoa, is one of three roots and culture record stores on the island, Conscious Riddims. They also happen to be promoters as well, and brought the Reggae Bubblers, Xkaliba, NiyoRah, Biblical and Sista Kat to perform on the Big Island. The show in Pahoa was at an old community theater, The Akebono. Pure niceness. The vibes were heartical, and joyful. The Reggae Bubblers played all night as singers and chanters graced the stage with their lyrical fya. The Reggae Bubblers are brothers, Cheech Warner on guitar, and Hayba Warner on bass, accompanied by Kanjah Sweeney on Keys, Tyronne and/or Stevie Davis on drums, Gabrey Selassie on the Nyabinghi.
In Pahoa Conscious Riddims
Xkaliba took the stage like a force to be reckoned with. The original man with” nine fingers from St. Croix” just had the whole place ram! This bredren is a such a talented singer/chanter that I have no doubt that if you haven’t yet heard his music you soon will. With songs like “Legalize the Herb”, “Tell me bout Selassie” “United States of Ethiopia”, “Extinction” and my favorite “Gone Up” a song that testifies to the way the corrupt system oppresses the poor and the meek.
Biblical came on stage with some serious Rastafari inspired lyrics, and as his name would imply, his message is directly applied to the teachings of the divine creator. Sister Kat brought the Empress vibes to the people of east Hawaii, bringing a harmonious balance to the whole performance.
Outside the Akebono I man linked up with some irie bredren who had some nice island corn to share with the I. Nuff blessings to Ras Josh and dem young lions from Kona. Back inside the show some nice vibes were shared by all in attendance, giving thanks and praise in Selassie I name.
Akebono Theatre Pahoa
The Reggae Bubblers laid down some roots and culture sounds, that were so original and unique to their part of the world. Like many musicians from St. Croix, the “Bubblers” are also very gifted in their ability to create music that uplifts the mind, soul, and heart. They have six full length CD’s “Give A Little Love”, “Hills and Valleys,” “Live on Assignment” and “Black Star Liner Volumes 1,2,3" For more information on the Reggae Bubblers, or to contact them for bookings, check out their website www.reggaebubblers.com
Hayba Warner, Reggae Bubblers
Stay tuned to Big Up Radio for future interviews with the Reggae Bubblers, Xkaliba, NiyoRah, Biblical, and Sista Kat. CD Reviews will be out shortly on Big Up Radio in our usual style and pattern. Blessed are the singers and players of instrument, make a joyful sound unto Jah, word, power, creation sounds.
Punalu’u Black Sand Beach
Love and Inity,
staff writer, BigUpRadio.com