King Isaac 's Coat Of Many Colors

1064 WordsOct 12, 20155 Pages
“King Isaac’s” Coat of Many Colors African societies have a widely held public opinion that artists, especially reggae artists are either illiterates or take marijuana or other substances of abuse. As much as such stereotypes hold for some, here is a man whose career has broken the barriers of such stereotypes. As the door to the music studio opens, a neatly dressed, huge man of about 5’90” tall, and seemingly in his early 50s, walks in. Call him King Isaac. This is one of the rare occasions when he will allow a journalist to follow him to the studio. With a notebook in hand, he sits and scribbles a few sentences and then move to the drums. As he nods and taps, the rhythms of the reggae base drum sounds out. He whistles and moves over…show more content…
What attracted him to music? “My interest grew when Bob Marley came in 1980. He had done a song called ‘Zimbabwe,’ commemorating our struggle for independence and our government invited him and he opened a floodgate of reggae music,” he recalls. The youngster’s inspiration and he soon changed his poetic messages of black pride, justice, love and equality, to lyrics. I asked him why he switched to reggae. “The euphoria for independence, black liberation, those were the basic corner stones of the Zimbabwean experience at that time, and the music was great.” Joining a local band made debut for him and recorded his first gig, “Simuka”, a reggae ice about the liberation struggle in South Africa, in 1986. Simultaneously, he was studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Economic History and History at the University of Zimbabwe. Listening to and admiring Jamaican reggae artist, “I became a purist”, he tells me. “I felt the reggae of Africans was diluted” Despite the early taste of success, King Isaac knew staying local might not be enough for him to make it big. So, he looked for a way to get Jamaica. However, he cannot live in Jamaica because he has no job or residence permit. A scholarship opportunity in 1991 to study for masters and Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, and he grabs it. “Coming to the U.S. I knew I would get money to go and record in Jamaica. It brought me closer to Jamaica. Some people might think it’s a
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