Our Songs of Patience - A Film by Benjamin Bean

With the editing assistance of Doug Krech and Seth Darnall, I produced a 32-minute documentary on my thesis topic. While it is a brief overview of the questions and issues raised in my paper, it serves as an entertaining and indispensible complement to the text. I recorded several hours of interviews, chanting, and breathtaking scenery while I was in Jamaica, and per the suggestion of Dr. Laura Guertin, I chose to represent my observations in video format. There is no substitute for seeing the faces, places, and colors, or for hearing the drumming, chanting, and linguistic creativity of the Rastafari. With this in mind, I am pleased to share this film with all who want to learn more about Rasta music and the philosophies and feelings around it.

A secondary motive behind this documentary is to present an audio-visual challenge to the viewer. As this is intended for educational purposes (conference presentations, classroom instruction, etc.), I hope that all who seek knowledge are inspired to observe their own thoughts and feelings in reaction to the words spoken, the music performed, and the colors displayed proudly by black and white musicians alike. The scientific pursuit of data on culture, psychology, faith, and all other phenomena of human origin is worthless if the student, whatever his discipline, is unable to ask the most fundamental (I think) questions of human experience: How does this information make me feel, and why? What am I expected to think about this? What might I do to change the way I perceive it? And most importantly, what should I do about it?

To this last question, I have found a most simple answer, yet the most profound wisdom of all. It is a message that risks going unnoticed in the midst of the history and analysis on which I have spent so many words. The fundeh drum of Nyahbinghi music, according to the Rastafari, communicates this imperative in its heartbeat-like rhythm, the "one-two order." This simple message of the heart is one that leaves no space for prejudice between beats; it knows no conditional tolerance for any man or woman; it is a "divine trod" on the path to freedom of the mind and soul. This most obvious, yet most challenging command is what I wish to share through this film: "Do good."

NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE

For information on educational uses of this video, contact benjaminjbean@hotmail.com.

© 2011 Benjamin Bean

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