Dread History:
The African Diaspora,
Ethiopianism, and Rastafari

Ras Pidow on bass drum
National Mall, 1989 Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife

An African-oriented ritual known as Nyabinghi became part of Rastafari culture during its formative period in the 1940s (see terminology). Nyabinghi gatherings in Jamaica involve African-derived dancing and drumming as a central part of the worship of Emperor Selassie as and foster a spiritual vision of repatriation to Ethiopia. Pictured here is a Rasta performing the Nyabinghi drumming style at the 1989 Smithsonian Institution Festival of American Folklife.

photograph by Jake Homiak, Smithsonian Institution