The Nyahbinghi Creed is opened with the reciting of the following Psalms to which all must stand with due respect to H.I.M.
Psalms 1 Psalms 121 Psalms 122
Psalms 133 Psalms 24
Princes and Princesses must trod out of Egypt
Ithiopians now stretch forth their hands of JAH
O’ IJAH of Ithiopia, I n I Irvine Majesty
Thy irits trod into I to dwell in the paths of Righteousness lead I n I
Help I n I to forgive that I n I must be forgiven
Teach I n I love, loyalty on earth as it is in Zion
Endow I n I with wise mind, knowledge and overstanding to do they will
Thy blessings to I n I O’ JAH
Let the hungry be fed, the naked clothes; the sick nourished; the aged protected, and the infants cared for
Deliver I n I from the hands of our enemies
That I n I must prove fruitful in these perilous days
When our enemies are passed and decay, in the depths of the sea, in the depths, of the earth or in the belly of a beast
O’ give I n I a place in they iverliving kingdom
Through the power of the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Ilect of himself and light of this world, I n I iven Majesty Emperor Haile Selassi I, Jah Rastafari first incient king of iration JAH art the Alpha and the Omega the beginning without end the first and foriver, the protectorate of all human faith and the ruler of the ineverse, so I n I hail to our JAH and King Emperor Haile Selassi I JAH Rastafari!!!!
Almight I Jah Rastafari great and thunderable I JAH Rastafari!!
Nyabinghi was a legendary Rwandan/Ugandan/Tanzanian woman, whose name is reported to mean "the one who possesses many things" The date and place of her birth are contested. Jim Freedman, an anthropologist who studied the Nyabinghi movement in Rwanda/Uganda, dates the 'birth' of Nyabinghi between 1750–1800.
The veneration or worship of the deity or spirit of the woman known as Nyabinghi began in Rwanda, around 1800. She was thought to be a powerful force in everyday life. Religious practice operated through a medium who was in communication with the spirit of Nyabinghi. To appease her spirit, believers brought offerings to the medium who would negotiate with the spirit on the believer's behalf. While there were specific mediums that communicated with Nyabinghi directly, Nyabinghi could also possess ordinary people who were not leaders or official mediums within the religion. Belief in this religion was particularly strong in the southern parts of Uganda and the northern regions of Rwanda, areas which had formerly been part of the precolonial kingdom of Ndorwa.
Nyabinghi was said to have possessed a Rwandan/Ugandan woman named Muhumusa, who was a famous Nyabinghi medium in the 19th to early 20th century. Muhumusa led a campaign against Yuhi V of Rwanda, claiming to be mother to the rightful heir to the Rwandan throne. She also led and then inspired further anti-colonial movements in East Africa, rebelling against European colonial authorities. Although she was captured in 1913, alleged possessions by Nyabinghi continued afterward across East Africa (mostly afflicting women). The bloodline of the true Nyabinghi warriors supposedly settled in the heart of Dzimba dze Mabwe, now known as Zimbabwe.
The Nyabinghi resistance inspired a number of Jamaican Rastas, who incorporated what are known as Nyabinghi chants (binghi) into their celebrations (grounations). The rhythms of these chants were an influence on popular ska, rocksteady and reggae music. Three kinds of drums are used in Nyabinghi music: bass, funde and keteh. The keteh plays an improvised syncopation rooted in Ashanti dance and drumming, the funde plays a regular one-two beat and the bass drum strikes loudly on the first beat, and softly on the third (of fourth) beat. Count Ossie was the first to record Nyabinghi and helped to establish and maintain Rasta culture
Nyabinghi, also Nyahbinghi, Niyabinghi, Niyahbinghi, is the gathering of Rastafari people to celebrate and commemorate key dates significant to Rastafari throughout the year. It is essentially an opportunity for the Rastafari to congregate and engage in praise and worship. For example, on July 23rd of each year, a Nyabinghi is held to celebrate the birth of His Majesty, Emperor Haille Selassi I. During a Nyabinghi celebration men and women have different roles and expectations. Men are expected to remove any hair coverings, whilst women must keep their hair covered. A group of men typically organise themselves in a line or semi-circle and are assigned to beat the drums throughout. The remaining congregation continue to sing well known songs or 'chants', some of which are Hebraic scriptural verses that evidence the divinity of Haile Sellassie. For example, 'I have a little light in I and I'm going to make it shine, Rastafariiii, shine' and 'Holy Mount Zion is a holy place and no sinners can enter there, so let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, of Rastafari'. Nyabinghi is a Rastafari tradition that promotes Rastafari unity, strengthens the Rastafari spirit with fellowship and raises the conciousnes and presence of Rastafafari in the heart of those in attendance. At some points passages of the bible are read. Rastafari recognise the significance of Jesus Christ, due to Haile Sellassie I fulfilling the teachings and prophecy of scripture.
The Niyabinghi resistance inspired a number of Jamaican Rastafarians, who incorporated what are known as niyabinghi chants (also binghi) into their celebrations ("groundations"). The rhythms of these chants were eventually an influence of popular ska, rocksteady and reggae music. It is the traditional music of the Rastafarian practice and it is used during "reasoning" sessions and consists of chanting and drumming to reach states of heightened spirituality. Nyabingi music consists of a blend of 19th century gospel music and African drumming.
Niyabinghi drumming is not exclusive to the Niyabinghi order, and is common to all Rastafarians. Its rhythms are the basis of Reggae music, through the influential ska band, the Skatalites. It is said that their drummer revolutionized Jamaican music by combining the various Niyabinghi parts into a 'complete' "drum kit," which combined with jazz to create an entirely new form of music, known as ska. Niyabinghi rhythms were largely a creation of Count Ossie, who incorporated influences from traditional Jamaican Kumina drumming (especially the form of the drums themselves) with songs and rhythms learned from the recordings of Nigerian musician Babatunde Olatunji.
Though Niyabinghi music operates as a form of Rasta religious music outside of Reggae, musicians such as Bob Marley and even non-Rastas such Prince Buster (Muslim) and Jimmy Cliff used the idiom in some songs. Recently, dancehall artist Sizzla, American roots-Reggae artists such as Groundation and Jah Levi, and Hip hop have used Niyabinghi drums extensively in their recordings. Though sometimes claimed to be a direct continuation of an African cultural form, Niyabinghi drumming is best seen as the voice of a people rediscovering their African roots.
Combining Jamaican traditions with newly acquired African ones, Count Ossie and others synthesized his country's African traditions and reinvigorated them with the influences of Nigerian master-drummer Babatunde Olatunji, as a comparison of Count Ossie's Tales of Mozambique and Olatunji's earlier Drums of Passion will reveal. Indeed, it is that combination of inherited traditions and conscious rediscovery of lost African traditions that makes Niyabinghi drumming—and Rasta—so powerful.
The music originates from the Asante of modern-day Ghana (which is also the name of the dance which the drums are used for) via the trans-Atlantic slave trade and then in Burru music, which was played in Jamaica as far back as the early 20th century. They became commonly used in Kingston ghettos in the mid 20th century, after being introduced by migrants from rural Jamaica.
Three kinds of drums (called harps or collectively akete) are used in niyabinghi: A larger bass (also called "baandu" or thunder) drum, a middle pitched "funde" (or "fundeh"), and a high pitched repeater or kete.The funde and repeater are of similar size, but the funde has a slack drum head while the repeater has a tighter head, giving a higher note. The drums are double-membraned, with heads are generally made of goat skin.
The akete (also known as the "repeater") plays an improvised syncopation, the funde plays a regular one-two beat and the bass drum strikes loudly on the first beat, and softly on the third beat (of four). When groups of players get together, only one akete player may play at any one time. The other drums keep regular rhythms while the akete players solo in the form of a conversation. Only Rastamen are allowed to play drums at Nyahbingi.
The shekere or shaka, which is commonly found throughout Africa and the Caribbean Latin America is also used 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&”
Niyabinghi chanting typically includes recitation of the Psalms, but may also include variations of well-known Christian hymns and adopted by Rastafarians. The rhythms of these chants were eventually an influence of popular ska, rocksteady and reggae music. The chants contain ideas of black redemption and repatriation. They help people to participate and feel included in the Rastafarian community.
Nyabinghi chants include:
"Every time I chant Nyahbingi"
"Psalms 137" aka "Down By The Rivers Of Babylon"