Take it easy, man—everythang gonna’ be a’wright. You have to give respect where respect is due, and when it comes to finding the best way to chill out and plug-in into the healing vibration of music, our sisters and brothers of Jamaica can give you answers and heal better than any Western medical doctor can.
In the new documentary “Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica” directed and written by Peter Webber and produced by Gaël Nouaille, which had its a world premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, the audience is introduced (or re-introduced) to the pure world of Reggae and its power.
“Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica” is about the power of the adventure of women and men who embody Reggae and wear Jamaica’s soul as a banner. High on the vibrant green that is Kingston highs, a band of singers happily gather to record a new album. Note, it’s been more than 30 years after they hit the world by storm and they are back on a World Tour. This documentary follows the human adventure of men and women who embody Reggae and wear Jamaica’s soul as a banner.
There is life and then there is LIFE. From the very first frame, you can feel the spirit of the people and the place, Kingston, Jamaica, as the old-timers get prepared to make their music. The house that this takes place in is packed with old vinyl records and it’s surrounded by a garden that’s complete with a view of the hills. Listen, and you can hear the ethereal power of Jamaica; she’s a powerful and generous spirit, ancient and yet always regenerating anew. The sound of percussion pulls at your soul. It’s followed by piano, brass, chords, guitar and the voice completing the reggae rhythms.
These assembled musicians have known each other forever and the golden age of reggae owes them, big time: they’ve sung with the greatest in the corner rooms of the ghettos, chopped it up with Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and Peter Tosh. For this project, they’ve reunited to record an utterly unique acoustic album which included adding younger singers, in the new reggae music scene.
They chose to record their acoustic set surrounded by nature for a purpose, the sound pierces the air and disappears—vibrating—into the living mountains. Jamaica literally vibrates to the sound of the music and that is what helped make the music famous throughout the world.
What is the music vibration? In their simplest form, sounds are waves or vibrations that ripple through the air and provide human beings with one of the most effective and vital ways we have of communicating with the nervous systems of other creatures, including other people. That’s what Western science tells us but our people—ancient and wise—knew that and more. Before there were written words there was music and songs.
“Some countries have diamonds, others have oil, we have reggae music” offers one of the musicians featured in the documentary. “This is Black gold” states another.
“Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica” features legendary voices of Reggae including Kiddus I, Juddy Mowatt, Ken Boothe, Winston McAnuff, and Cedric Myron, the famous leader of the Congos, to name just a few.
Director Peter Webber has been a fan of reggae since the start. He tracked the adventure of recording the album which is the soundtrack of the “Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica.” Webber let these powerful artists speak for themselves; he got out of their way and the result is powerful. Some have known international success and others, have known none. Some have rejected the business side of the industry choosing to lead an ascetic life a symbol of the pure Rastafarian culture.
These elders are the last witnesses of the international explosion and worldwide recognition of reggae. They tell the truth about being exploited by the people who have produced and sold their music in the past.
Most of the musicians identify as Rastafarians which, again, is an embodiment of Jamaica ’s unshakeable identity. The media has called them rebels. I say they are freedom fighters. They live in nature and respect her, understanding the value of plant spirit. And this is reverence of nature is shared among all social classes.
“Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica” might be compared to “Buena Vista Social Club” in that it touches on the hidden culture that helped shape the music. In that, it’s a fair comparison. What really makes this documentary soar high above others that focus on a specific musical style is that, in this, it provides a peek into the intimate lives of the legendary personalities which create it. It’s built around a series of portraits but it does not forget to give the credit and the attention to the reggae music.
To learn more about “Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica” go to