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On The Cover: Wingless Angels

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  • On The Cover: Wingless Angels

     

    The story of the Wingless Angels CD begins in 1973, when the Rolling Stones decamped to Jamaica to record Goat's Head Soup.

    Enamored with reggae music, Keith Richards became equally enthralled with the tranquillity of the island, so he bought a mansion there and set up house. Much to the ire of local officials, Richards and then-wife Anita Pallenberg began keeping company with a band of devout and dreadlocked Rastafarians, forging a 25-year friendship that culminates with Richards overseeing the release of this superb and very moving album.

    While hanging out on Richards's lawn, these proud Rastas would often play an old form of traditional Jamaican music, chants and songs made from a pastiche of old Anglican hymns and school chants mixed with Rastafarian philosophy and the Jamaican group percussive style known as Nyabinghi drumming.

    On these 1996 recordings, Richards occasionally strums along on a guitar, and even joins in the chanting when the mood strikes him. The music is moving, but it's more than a superstar meddling with "world music." The Wingless Angels watch over Richards's place while he's out touring with the Stones, but they also regard Richards as their "spy in Babylon," a friend from the white world who respects and understands their simple way of living.

    The friendship between Richards and the Rastas represents a triumphant overcoming of stereotypes and the status quo of racial relations, and an opportunity for all of us to hear and revere a real musical treasure from Jamaica.

    Posted by: WebCrew
WebCrew's picture
on November 10, 1997

 

The story of the Wingless Angels CD begins in 1973, when the Rolling Stones decamped to Jamaica to record Goat's Head Soup.

Enamored with reggae music, Keith Richards became equally enthralled with the tranquillity of the island, so he bought a mansion there and set up house. Much to the ire of local officials, Richards and then-wife Anita Pallenberg began keeping company with a band of devout and dreadlocked Rastafarians, forging a 25-year friendship that culminates with Richards overseeing the release of this superb and very moving album.

While hanging out on Richards's lawn, these proud Rastas would often play an old form of traditional Jamaican music, chants and songs made from a pastiche of old Anglican hymns and school chants mixed with Rastafarian philosophy and the Jamaican group percussive style known as Nyabinghi drumming.

On these 1996 recordings, Richards occasionally strums along on a guitar, and even joins in the chanting when the mood strikes him. The music is moving, but it's more than a superstar meddling with "world music." The Wingless Angels watch over Richards's place while he's out touring with the Stones, but they also regard Richards as their "spy in Babylon," a friend from the white world who respects and understands their simple way of living.

The friendship between Richards and the Rastas represents a triumphant overcoming of stereotypes and the status quo of racial relations, and an opportunity for all of us to hear and revere a real musical treasure from Jamaica.

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