The Feast Of The Passover

The Congos – At The Feast

Jewish Reggae Hebrew Dub

This evening begins the Jewish holiday of Passover.  Tonight we celebrate the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Freedom. Over the years there have been many ‘songs of freedom’, but today we investigate the Reggae/Jewish relationship. Both are Songs of Freedom.

The similarities of Rastafarianism and Judaism have always presented me with an interest to say the least. My love of reggae and cultural affiliation with Judaism provided enough in common to do some research.

My question was, from the words of Salvatore Caputo: “Can there be an affinity between one of the oldest Jewish observances and the music popularized by dreadlocked Jamaicans, often associated with Rastafarianism – a mystical religion that venerates the late Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie as an incarnation of God on earth?”

The answer is YES. Although reggae is not solely Rastafarian music, Bob Marley, the music’s biggest star and exponent, was. His lyrics often echoed the religion’s belief in the eventual redemption of the black africans from oppression and the return of blacks to their African home. These themes clearly have a parallel in the story of Exodus.

What I’ve found is that it is evident that the similarities exist. The two religions of Rastafarianism and Judaism embody many of the same characteristics, as well as their ancestry. Although the Rastafarians, at times, inaccurately explain the bible, their belief in the Old Testament is still prevalent. Many of the customs are almost identical, but the rationale behind the traditions and laws contrast greatly.

Alan Eder has created a musical tribute to the similarities called, “Reggae Passover”. On his album Eder collects traditional holiday songs presented in reggae and West African arrangements that evolved in his celebrations over a decade.

“Passover is observed in the home,” Eder says, “so everyone gives it a personal touch. It’s not like the high holidays that are observed by 2,000 people in a temple.

“Passover is a much-more personalized holiday. Some families have customized haggadahs. Others customize the celebration with foods or procedures, according to their interests and tastes, so it’s not so unusual that I’ve customized my observance with renditions that come from my own musical interest.”

I say, “Well Put.”

From the hisidic reggae superstar, Matisyahu, to countless reggae artists worldwide, those who choose to embrace the two can celebrate to their hearts desire. There is no shortage of Jewish Reggae music out there. So here at Shady Groove I’ve compiled a few of my favorite songs in the theme of Passover. Enjoy and Have a great holiday!

Download The Congos – At The Feast


This one’s not reggae, but it fits the Passover Theme. Its a track from the great jazz guitarist Grant Green. He also gets a little help from a 19-year-old Herbie Hancock on piano.

Download Grant Green – Go Down Moses




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