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meeting luciano, the messenjah, after his show in berlin's 2be club was a honour for us. and even the time was short we get some idea of how an artist can take a stand and have good ways and a good attitude in a business which is mostly dictated by money. and as long as man like him tour and teach and as long as the audience visit his concerts not only to enjoy but also to listen and learn, we are sure that babylon will fall!
done first of all: respect for helping this man who seem to have some trouble with the security. what was exactly happening?
luciano well, i saw a kind of disturbance and i, you know, i was a little concerned so i decide that i would just intervene. apparently the brother was dancing and his hand must have hit the security. he was probably asking him to step away a little from the stage, you know, the brother became a little terrible and, you know, i just had to intervene and bring some positive vibes... listen
done but he could be any troublemaker...
luciano i feel that he was a little intoxicated cause he was asking for his beer and all dem ting deh. listen
done him no even calm down to early.
luciano fi real! it tek a time before he really... listen
done i forgot to tell you something bout where mi ago put the interview: it's for a website called dancehallmusic.de...
luciano so when you talk bout dancehallmusic what kind of music you play on it like? listen
done it's not really like a soundsystem we just feature all kind of music because...
luciano slackness?! listen
done even some slackness... mi for example mi like slackness but mi no see it ina de bad way too much. i mean i don't listen slackness and later treat some woman bad. but when you have like admiral bailey 'punaany'... i love such music. if it get too rude, too explicit i don't like it too much.
luciano ok, once, yuh know, once yuh keep it... ca dat yuh have to remember now, as the messenjah mi have to be careful of the tings that i endorse because certain tings are just out of context... and i believe that most of these slack deejays are really destroying the music. cause the music is really intend on beeing a way of communicating with the people and educating the people... not too much to become to taken up ina we personal affairs. because mi see many of these people who come and sing about their life... it's like their life-story they come and tell people... they're bedroom bully and all dem kind ah ting deh [laughs] rasta! i and i have to educate the youths dem so as the messenjah i see that my duty is to bring forward a positive energy within this dancehall music... yuh know and within the dancehall beca even now at the end of the day if yuh see midnight they have to play a song like 'lord give mi strength' beca they can't just play all ina rags and going on, you know! so big up brother doob and brother mudds, you know! the messenjah this, you know, the messen-jah rastafari! listen
done it might sound like a foolish question, but you as the messenjah where do you get your inspiration from?
luciano well out of the tradition dem because coming out of the struggling i realised that i'm really blessed to be able to sing and to use my talent to the honour and glory of god because many people got them talent but they don't use it to the glory of god and because i was really given this spiritual background − my father and mother instilling me certain spirituality − this is the same vibe that come out of me cause i try to keep my music clean and remember most of what my mother and father have taught me and try to spread it in the music. so i could honestly say because i'm a spiritual person. i believe in spiritual life. i believe in eating right, drinking properly, living upright! and this also comes out in my music. so the messenjah really is one out of the tradition and scene that the people are in need and see that my people out there are really confused - especially the youngsters - i decided to use my song and my words to the honour and glory and to the education of the people. jah rastafari! listen
done seeing you pon stage you're carrying a rod which comes in like a shepherds rod...
luciano yeah man, actually it was given to me, you know, and i see where most of the tings we have acquired, for example spiritual people, we don't have to go for like mine or hunting for tings. this rod was given to me! and when it was given to me the thought came to me dat is really a shepherd rod and i see myself as a shepherd cause i'm really garnering jah sheep to the fore right now, you know! it's same way when i see how this opportunity was given to me beca' many people can sing ina jamaica, y'know but not everyone of dem get the opportunity... and with my willingness to go to the last minute to find a way of expressing it jah has given me the know-how and has give me the inspiration so the same way which i apply the knowledge within knowing that this rod is a shepherd rod i continue to be a shepherd, you know! listen
done still bout your outfit: you have one kind of unusual hat. where it come from?
luciano when i went ot senegal. i journey to senegal on pilgrimage... this... i saw a couple of this hats because they make them on the ivory coast. lots of them. i got my first one was given to me as a gift by baba mal and then when i went there to senegal and i see the hats i was so impressed, you know. so i bought a couple of dem for myself. so it's really originated in ivory coast, senegal. listen
done it look really unusual!
luciano yeah man, give thanks, man. it is really a all-season-hat, you know, because, if it's raining it serve as a roof, you know, as a umbrella and if it is sunny it act as a shade also so it's for all season. listen
done but why these army pants and these military boots...
luciano yeah man, i believe that the work of man is a serious one because i see many great messengers come and died, you know. i see how garnett silk how they burn him and all dem ting deh and peter tosh kill him certain way and, you know. and i see that the tradition of i and i work is a serious one so by dressing and keeping myself within this militant look it is sending a statement that i acknowledge my mission as a messenger and i'm on the tradition... and this is how i feel. i feel comfortable this way. i'm really not a jacket & tie man. i'm a more roots radical man. buffalo soldier, you know! listen
done so what you go put on when you get your grammy?
luciano well right about now how me see the grammy ting is a big hypocritical ting! the next time they call my name at the grammy awards i'm not going back up there. the last time they call my name i went up there and i see that it is nothing but they only worship in themselve and bigging up themselve. they're not interested in the message! and in the music, you know! so i see it! it almost tore my heart out! cause all that them bigging up and all that they sell is sex... in america, you know! listen
done there was a time you were touring with alpha blondy and not with dean fraser. there was something like a beaf between you and him. can you tell us something bout it?
luciano at one time there were a few changes in my band, you know, there was one time with the background singers, there was a slight misunderstanding and we had to split. cause of natural requirements you didn't see them forthcoming with the fulfilment of my expectations. so there was a slight little change but after a while, you know, because mr. fraser and i never had any form of discrepancy so we just resolved and said what we really want be back together as a team. and i'm so greatful that we are together working forward again beause i see myself privileged to have such a great expert and a legend with i and i. and he is really the perfect one for the musical director for my band! so i'm just really happy to be on the road with him again. i see it as a great privilege for i. as you say, sometime you have your ting well planned out but the devil always try to find ways... satan always try find ways to squeeze in and seperate and scatter i and i people but we have to struggle hard and endeavor to keep the family and keep the love, you know! listen
done it was a privilege for us to experience such a feelings-man pon de sax!
luciano give tanks, man! he is one of the greatest legends in the reggae industry! even in the music in general! listen
done but i heard there was some trouble earlier days with sizzla and the firehouse crew. wasn't that the same thing?
luciano well, actually, you know, it was a different situation. is a matter of moral effects cause at one time sizzla start to do songs like 'smoke your herb and get a humble thought − babylon can't tek dis one ya what's it not!' and cuss up some claat and ting and to me it's not right, beca over the years before sizzla came to exterminator i was working hard to ensure that the music keep cultural and stay reality-wise, so after a while i noticed that, you know, he was becoming a little unruled, you know, and i tried to talk to him and he was not willing to listen. so, you know, i didn't make it be a problem to me once i realised that tings were really changing. beca when i even complained to fattis and say: 'fattis, you see what sizzla in we don't hail dem kind a vibes! you haffi talk to him!' and then, i think the response was that sizzla is young... and to me you have to bend the tree from it's young. you can't wait till it old before beca the limbs ago break and all dem ting deh. and i think right now he is really... he has gone even further from then on, you know! when i see a great caliber artitst like sizzla. when me think of certain songs like 'black woman and child' and 'like mountain around jerusalem' and all dem kind ah ting deh, you know. i think that really him just need to hold focus and continue and get back on the road of righteousness. cause the youngsters nower days they tend to have a lot of fire and venom which sometimes comes out in the music. but as a martyr one now i have gone that road and i know there is nothing in badness, you know. and one might be rebellious but i think they really taking it to much out of context, you know. and one can even try and use getting across to the people without using violent messages and, you know. i believe that! listen
done dem deh kind of slackness is what i mean when it get too rude. and i mention the same tunes like 'black woman and child' when i...
luciano but i want to tell you that since many of these rastafarian brothers got a little loose with the lyrics, i noticed that many ah de baldhead tek it up back. beca one time when, you know, when man and man holding dem culture and one time you heard all mr rodney price was trying to get his ting more culture an' ting and den when the rastaman get back out and start do some slackness it make these dancehall artist them taking up back them whip. so it's like they give encouragement to these brothers and this is what i see happen, you know! today me see all shabba try wake up back with some lickle more slackness, to me all of them need to just wake up and see that if them don't give god the glory them waisting them time! beca a man can get a hit tune today and tomorrow but how long will that last then? can that suffice their generation to come? what will they tell their grand-parents or their parents when you hear certain songs beeing played? i don't know if they have the conscience in tune, you know! listen
done isn't that a worldwide ting. like you have a magazin with naked woman pon it just to sell it...
luciano yeah, but babylon is babylon and when i go out in them place like san francisco and all them place there and certain place ah america and even certain place ah europe here even in amsterdam and see certain kind of life-style, i see that it really more babylon the deeper babylon you go in when i wen deh travel out in these places. so i'm saying now that really the reggae music now supposed to be a message music! and we don't want to see these brothers exploiting it because man like mr jimmy cliff, burning spear, beres hammond, dennis brown, bob marley, you know, admiral tibbet, too many great men work to hard to mek sure seh we keep the heritage rich and the roots in the music have to see! these youngsters just come do all they like − that's not right and it's a matter of time that we really start to find some of them! and put on some penalty on them! ca who cyaan hear dem ago feel it! jah! listen
done so you appreciate that the police forbid to talk badwords pon stage?
luciano well... you see, beca the people get out of hand. and these artist get out... beca look at even alozade. alozade reach as far as... it's better when... i hear a tune with him and i was so disgusted to know that a man could go so far and sing certain ting just to get a hit tune. so they just really getting out of hand! and something or someone haffi step in! [there is the sign that we have to stop] so, i think it was a good thing because... [little confusion about the time and the interview] ...as i say, me no really support nuff a de ting what police dem gwaarn wid because dey want turn of the soundsystem and all those things, i can't support that, but that move when de government say: 'bwoy, find some of those brothers who using ludicrous and vile lyrics!' we should really find some ah dem, i believe in that! ca many of these brothers that making bag of money from talking garbage and so them need to find these brothers mek them pay some money of that! so they will stay away from dirty lyrics! rastafari! listen
thanks to luciano, the messenjah, contour-crew, 2be-crew, nancy, mr copeland, uli gueldner, sasa [video/support]
interview by done for sound-everest.com