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Thread: Baye fall - the senegalese muslim "rastas"

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    Registered User Seawall's Avatar Seawall is offline
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    Baye fall - the senegalese muslim "rastas"

    Not really rastas, but a Senegalese muslim sect that wears locs. I discovered them through Cheikh Lo's music over ten years ago. I'm posting this because i recently read about a movie about the so called "first rasta" Jamaican Leonard Percival Howell. Years ago, I read a book about him Amazon.com: The First Rasta: Leonard Howell and the Rise of Rastafarianism (9781556524660): Helene Lee, Stephen Davis: Books which made the claim of Hindu holy men being the inspiration for locs. I don't doubt that some aspects (ritual smoking of ganja, for example) of Hinduism may have impacted Howell's spiritual development, but the dreadlocks claim (which has been repeated here) seems out there.


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"The mystic muslim tradition is present in many parts of muslim world including west africa.
    Many famous musicians in west africa wearing dreadlocks are missinterpreted as rastafarians. In fact, in many cases, they belong to a muslim sufi brotherhood called Baye Fall.

    This brotherhood is the most prominent and richest islamic school in Senegal, with the hedquarter in a Holy City Touba. In contempoary Senegal about 25% people claim themself as Baye fall followers. The founders and teachers of this brotherhood (Amadou Bamba, Ibra Fall and Baye Fall) are mentioned in many senegalese songs. The most prominent musicians who belong to Baye Fall are Cheick Lo , Youssou NDour , Baaba Maal and many others... The pictures of Amadou Bamba( in black clothes) and Ibra Fall (in white clothes) can be seen on many walls, doors and even buses and cars in many places in Senegal. The members of Baye Fall brotherhood wearing pictures of Amadou Bamba and Ibra fall on their clothes, members also have special kind of greetings when they put hand of other member to their own forehead to show their fellowship. Other thing , that is common with rastafirians is, that some members are using marihuana for spiritual reasons, things forbidden by orthodox Islam and in the city of Touba as well.

    Music is a very important part of Baye Fall brotherhood and for members it is also an instrument to get closer to God. Very popular among members are are "concerts" where several drummers played traditional senegegalese music, the chanters sang the gods name ...Alla llah illalah ...over and over and other people were dancing in a circle around the musicians untill some of them later in trance fellt to the floor still caling the Gods name. (I had the oportunity to see one 8 hour long concert, that was held all the night in saint Louis, Senegal. Just beeing there and dancing was one the strongest musical and spiritual experiences for me in my whole life.) Maybe this strongest linking to the music is a reason , why many famous musicians are members of Bye fall Brotherhood.

    Watch: 
Baye Fall chant video 
Just to make an idea how the collective prayer-concert look like 
This video was shot in Saint Louis, Senegal during 8 hour lasting concert-prayer-chants. Note that this video was shot from first two hours, that was something like a warm-up:) Later as the night continued, all the dances became more wild. Although I got the permision to film from 3 differnt people and I was encouraged to make some shots, later some people seemed to be a little bit nervous to see me recording, so I decided to respect it and stopped recording.

    Last edited by Seawall; 11-01-2011 at 11:45 AM.
    "Every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor." — Frantz Fanon

    “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.” Frederick Douglass

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    Registered User Seawall's Avatar Seawall is offline
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    Review of film on Howell.

    Review of ?Le Premier Rasta? Repeating Islands

    Here is a review by Liz Ferguson (Montreal Gazette) of the recent documentary film, Le Premier Rasta, which was shown at the Montreal International Black Film Festival earlier this year. The film, directed by Christophe Farnarier and French music journalist Hélène Lee, is based on the latter’s eponymous book, which was published by Flammarion in October 2010. [Also see previous post ArtMattan Film Acquires US Distribution Rights for “Le Premier Rasta”.]

    Le Premier Rasta could be Rastafarianism 101 for people whose knowledge of it doesn’t go much beyond dreadlocks, ganja and Bob Marley.

    The first Rasta of the title is Jamaican Leonard Percival Howell (1898-1981). Howell was the first to say that Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I was the Messiah who was predicted in the Bible. The movie describes Howell’s life and activities through anecdotes, memories and explanations from historians, his contemporaries, his children and other relatives. Howell worked on the construction of the Panama Canal, visited many countries of the world as a seaman, and spent time in New York during the Harlem Renaissance. He knew fellow Jamaican Marcus Garvey, a proponent of black-reliance and leader of a back-to-Africa movement.

    Howell returned to Jamaica in 1932 and in 1939, he established a commune called Pinnacle. It had between 2,600 and 3,000 residents, according to his son. One former (female) resident said that Pinnacle was the biggest food company in the country and goes on to recite a long list of delicious fruits that were grown there. Another former resident, a male one slyly says that all the women at Pinnacle were Howell’s wives… but this statement is not further explored or explained.

    At this point Jamaica was still a British colony. Howell told people they were bowing down to the wrong king and should not their taxes, ideas that did not go down well with the authorities at all, not then and not even after Jamaican independence. Pinnacle was often raided and in 1958 it was destroyed by the government. But the people who had lived there took their ideas all over the country. I was surprised to learn that the wearing of dreadlocks and use of marijuana as a sacrament developed out of interaction with Jamaica’s Indian community. (Between 1845 and 1970, Jamaica received 36,000 immigrants from India.)

    Music plays a big part in the film, with some people bursting into song seemingly spontaneously, and with casual performances on the streets, in homes and around a campfire. There are some drummers who could teach Montreal’s Sunday afternoon tam tam folks a thing or two. Archival film footage is used to great effect. The eagle-eyed might recognize some scenes from Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin.

    Editor Nini Ranaivoarivony deserves praise (maybe a prize) for a masterful montage that mixes those scenes with construction of the Panama Canal, railroads, factory machinery, billowing smokestacks, etc., with a loping soundtrack.

    For full review, see Catch music-heavy documentary Le Premier Rasta, Saturday afternoon | Montreal Gazette

    Also see http://www.lepremierrasta.com/
    "Every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor." — Frantz Fanon

    “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.” Frederick Douglass

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    Registered User Ushawishi is offline
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    You should also familar yourself with what rasta have to say about dreadlocks much better to go directly to the source... check out 16:30 ...



    bless up king...

    EDUCATION

    To be learned in all that is worth while knowing. Not to be crammed with the subject matter of the book or the philosophy of the class room, but to store away in your head such facts as you need for the daily application of life, so that you may the better in all things understand your fellowmen, and interpret your relationship to your Creator.

    You can be educated in soul, vision and feeling, as well as in mind. To see your enemy and know him is a part of the complete education of man; to spiritually regulate one's self is another form of the higher education that fits man for a nobler place in life, and still, to approach your brother by the feeling of your own humanity, is an education that softens the ills of the world and makes us kind indeed.

    Many a man was educated outside the school room. It is something you let out, not completely take in. You are part of it, for it is natural; it is dormant simply because you will not develop it, but God creates every man with it knowingly or unknowingly to him who possesses it—that's the difference. Develop yours and you become as great and full of knowledge as the other fellow without even entering the class room.

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    Registered User Jaymaca is offline
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    Very informative but Dreadlocks derived from African people. Ganja is credit to Indian commnities amongst other things.

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    Earth Angel dollbabi's Avatar dollbabi is offline
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    Very interesting!

    Just want to say that I really enjoy your threads/posts. You are always sharing interesting aspects of world cultures and religions. :good

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    Registered User Seawall's Avatar Seawall is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ushawishi View Post
    You should also familar yourself with what rasta have to say about dreadlocks much better to go directly to the source... check out 16:30 ...



    bless up king...

    EDUCATION

    To be learned in all that is worth while knowing. Not to be crammed with the subject matter of the book or the philosophy of the class room, but to store away in your head such facts as you need for the daily application of life, so that you may the better in all things understand your fellowmen, and interpret your relationship to your Creator.

    You can be educated in soul, vision and feeling, as well as in mind. To see your enemy and know him is a part of the complete education of man; to spiritually regulate one's self is another form of the higher education that fits man for a nobler place in life, and still, to approach your brother by the feeling of your own humanity, is an education that softens the ills of the world and makes us kind indeed.

    Many a man was educated outside the school room. It is something you let out, not completely take in. You are part of it, for it is natural; it is dormant simply because you will not develop it, but God creates every man with it knowingly or unknowingly to him who possesses it—that's the difference. Develop yours and you become as great and full of knowledge as the other fellow without even entering the class room.

    I know about the Mau Mau link from years back (I was named after Kenyatta). I've read numerous books on Garvey and the rasta movement. Also, other Africans have told me of the ancient practice of wearing locs and spirituality in their respective countries. However, it is the Indian influence that has gained currency recently and will be widely disseminated with this new film.
    "Every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor." — Frantz Fanon

    “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.” Frederick Douglass

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    Registered User Seawall's Avatar Seawall is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Vega View Post
    Very interesting!

    Just want to say that I really enjoy your threads/posts. You are always sharing interesting aspects of world cultures and religions. :good

    Thank you lawyer girl. Respect!
    "Every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor." — Frantz Fanon

    “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.” Frederick Douglass

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    Registered User Ushawishi is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seawall View Post
    I know about the Mau Mau link from years back (I was named after Kenyatta). I've read numerous books on Garvey and the rasta movement. Also, other Africans have told me of the ancient practice of wearing locs and spirituality in their respective countries. However, it is the Indian influence that has gained currency recently and will be widely disseminated with this new film.
    I got that hint from your first paragragh, mine is for those who are interested in what rastafari have to say about themselves and why they started growing locks.I have already made the indian connection for the people repeating it and not knowing why : Man of Mystery

    So at least if someone have to bring up the ambiguous Hindu similarity they should at least hear from the source and not some person with their own agenda.

    And I just wanted to quote Marcus Garvey....
    "There is nothing in the world common to man, that man cannot do."


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    LB
    Peace Love n Pretty Tings LB is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Vega View Post
    Very interesting!

    Just want to say that I really enjoy your threads/posts. You are always sharing interesting aspects of world cultures and religions. :good
    Yes lots of respect to Seawall and Ushawishi too!

    I always read Seawall's threads with interest even though I comment infrequently.
    ~ If you make the mountain any bigger you wont be able to move it later

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