Pentateuch - inciting roots reggae revival with 'Genesis'
Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer
Some four years ago, five students studying music at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts decided to start a band. They chose the moniker 'Pentateuch and now the band has released its debut album which is already poised to make waves in the reggae arena.
Pentateuch is a bold name for a band and implies some religious affiliation. However, the band revealed to The Sunday Gleaner that it is not a religious group but a spiritual one.
According to the band members, the name was chosen because the five books which make up the Pentateuch contain recurring themes that the five members of the band all uphold and live by.
The album, aptly titled Genesis, is an aural masterpiece. It takes listeners on a musical voyage paved with conscious and uplifting lyrics which are backed by impeccable instrumental performances.
The song Unwritten, speaks out against religion as a method of dividing and ruling the masses. According to the band, it doesn't matter what religion a person subscribes to because they all promote peace, love and unity. Time Bomb, another song on the album, also speaks to the band's heightened spirituality.
During the interview, members of the band also revealed a certain level of social and spiritual awareness that is reinforced in songs like Armageddon Time and Will You Be There.
Cancer Survivor, a ballad of encouragement for those suffering from the dreaded disease, may also apply to any obstacle in a person's life and is meant to uplift and motivate people to never give up.
The inspiration of classic roots reggae acts like The Wailers, Black Uhuru and Third World are evident in Genesis.
Pentateuch told The Sunday Gleaner that they believe that if they are going to represent reggae music then they need to know and have an appreciation for where the music is coming from.
Songs like Going Home and Struggles of Africa display themes that were recurrent in reggae songs back in the days of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.
The album mostly promotes a roots reggae vibe with smooth rhythms accompanied by soulful vocals, which is why listeners will probably be caught off guard by the last song, Nothing But Love. This is an up-tempo song which sings about love for a woman and humanity in general. The song stands out from the rest of the album but in a way listeners are sure to appreciate.
Pentateuch said they had their own interpretation of the song, but Paul 'Computer Paul' Henton, the album's producer, decided to put a fresh spin on the song and it is now one of their favourites on the album.
Dangerous and Changed Girl are also geared towards the females, and are able to deliver their messages without the crass lyrics or vulgarity that is used in today's popular music when referring to the feminine sex.
Pentateuch first entered the music scene with the single, Blackface. The video for Blackface helped to increase the band's popularity and it is now looking to release another video by March of next year, for Kingston, a gritty single which highlights a darker side to Jamaica's capital.
The fantastic five revealed that they have been getting a lot of good feedback from peers and fans who have described their music as uplifting and life altering. This, the band claims, is its main aim - to inspire and uplift listeners.
"If we don't at least influence or change the life of our family and friends and the people around us then we would have failed miserably as musicians," they agreed, adding that the aim is to change the life of many with their music.
And their music employs themes that will be relevant for years to come. Songs like Change and Lazy Bones are pleas for self-evaluation and change on both a personal and national level.
The musicians say they understand the power music holds and told The Sunday Gleaner that they believe every artiste has a responsibility to their listeners to put out quality music. This is why the band chose to put out positive music which they describe as "music for the soul".
Genesis is available on iTunes and Amazon and due to requests from physical stores, the band is looking to release hard copies in a few weeks.
Now that the album has been released, Pentateuch has been busy with promotions and rehearsals. Some may be able to witness the fruition of all this rehearsing next Saturday in Negril, where the band is set to perform.
Check out Pentateuch on Facebook and Twitter @pentateuchband to get the latest on the band. The band members also revealed that they reply to their messages personally, so fans should feel free to send them a message.