In Rasta overstanding, Nyahbingi is the mystical power of the Most High to mete justice throughout the universe. Although the genuine origin of the word that means “she possesses many things” is Ugandan, as a concept and theology, Nyahbingi has come down to the Rastaman to signify “death to the oppressors, both black and white”. Therefore, it is through prayer, music and biblical reasonings that the Rastaman chants bingi, calling on the forces of nature to destroy the powers of wickedness. “…Storm, cyclone, tidal wave and all tempestuous roaring elements from creation to destroy the wicked nation and set Rastaman free…”
More about Nyahbinghi
Thunder: This is the bottom of the bingi ensemble; there are rarely more than two thunder players at a gathering. It is a typical looking double-headed bass drum, played with a mallet. an open tone on “1” and a dampened stroke on “3”. Occasionally, the thunder player will syncopate the rhythm.
Funde: Although the funde often resembles a requinto, the
smallest conga used in Afro-Cuban music, the funde is
actually the middle drum used in Nyahbingi; it
maintains the dominant heartbeat rhythm as the
funde player makes steady, dampened strokes on “1&”
…“3&”; it is thus dually known as the heartbeat and
has the least improvisational role.
Repeater: The repeater, or akette, is the smallest and highest
pitched drum. It is somewhat of a single elongated
bongo. The drummer tends to play around “2 e & a”
and “4 e & a”, with a syncopated, rather than a
backbeat feel. These beats are important to the overall
feel of the Nyahbingi rhythm, but the repeater has a
very improvisational role in bingi because it is seen as
the carrier of spirit.
Shaka: The shekere, which is commonly found throughout
Africa, the Caribbean Latin America, has a place in
Nyahbingi. The shekere player has a somewhat flexible role: He/she has been known to play on “1”, “1&”, “1” and “3” or “1&”…“3&” [The following should be noted regarding the curious nomenclature of this instrument—Perhaps the word is a simple corruption of the proper pronunciation; and there is the possibility that it is a more calculated allusion to the Zulu word for fire, shaka.
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