Inscrutable Burning Spear


A short chat with one of the legend of jamaican reggae


In the thirty-seven years between his accidental meeting with Bob Marley on a country road in St. Ann’s, Jamaica and the release of Our Music, Winston Rodney, a.k.a. Burning Spear, has seen a lot of growth and change in his reggae experience. Styles have come and gone, and Spear’s unique brand of roots-oriented reggae has moved in and out of fashion. With a singularity of purpose, Burning Spear has released dozens of albums, toured the world many times, and played in front of different audiences, more than anyone else in the history of the genre. Indeed, if Bob Marley was the first artist to bring reggae to the attention of international audiences, Burning Spear’s relentless recording and touring have kept it there.

When you first met Bob Marley what did you tell him? What kind of man was he? What do you remember about him?

I met Bob Marley 30 years ago. He was part of my life, I played, singed and smoked with him. He strongly loved hic country and his people, and he wanted to give them a message of awareness and revival. But I also spent so many unforgettable moments with Peter Tosh.

You had a nomination for the Grammy Awards but at the end Sean Paul won. Do you think the jury considered the great number of copies he sold to give him the award?

I don’t really know it! Certainly Sean Paul is a great friend and a very good artist. I had 7 nomination for the Grammy Awards but I won just once…Everybody must have a chance, it’s right! And anyway, I don’t bother so much about that kind of success.

The messages of your songs are always about love and tolerance. What do you think about songs which promote racism and omofobia?

I think music is changing… some texts are very violent and offensive and don’t reflect Jah’s message. It’s not good for young people.

Just few words about Buju Banton, Sizzla and Capleton…

I don’t want to answer this question.

Sinead O’ Connor is your friend and she often said she got inspiration from your songs. Tell us something about her…

Sinead is a very sweet girl. She often says that singing my songs is good for her mood because through them she rediscover the value of life; probably this is the reason why she gets inspiration from them.

What do you think about the new generations of dance hall?

I’m not against dance halls, but often they look like gatherings of crazy people.

How do you see the “rasta movement” in Europe?

I know it’s growing a lot, but not only in Europe, all around the world. The problem is that sometimes the message given to young people isn’t so “clean”.

Have you ever cultivated?

What do you mean?

I mean… what is your favourite herb?

I don’ want to answer questions about Ganja. It’s a very personal and sacred topic.

Would you like to give a message to our audience and to all the world of cannabis culture?

As I told you before Ganja is sacred. I don’t want to connect it to the business world. Certainly, this sacred plant is useful to give consciousness, hoping that this consciousness will be used! Good Luck! Jah bless ya…


Published on Dolce Vita International 1