Sister Carol has been making reggae music longer than I have been alive, and her message is only getting stronger. Born in Denham Town in West Kingston, Jamaica, she immigrated to Brooklyn when she was 14. Her father was an engineer with Radio Jamaica, so music was in her blood for as long as she can remember.
She released her first album, "Liberation for Africa," in 1983, and her newest record is coming out this fall. That's three decades of making reggae music, helping new generations discover the messages of unity, empowerment and political action. Carol's daughter, Nakeeba Amaniyea, is also following in the family footsteps by releasing a reggae record later this year, on which Carol performs.
Recently, Sister Carol spent some time with the Source Weekly to talk about her message, equality and how the human race can feel complete. Here's an excerpt.
Source Weekly: You've been touring solo for over 30 years now. Is there something specific that you do to keep it fresh so you don't get burnt out on seeing the same cities all the time?
Sister Carol: The content of my lyrics. Playing for people who want to see me, who want to hear what I have to say. I'm very grateful and very thankful that after 35 years that they come. It's the message in the music. You have something to say that people will identify with and make a change in their life. It might be social, spiritual, educational, political. You just have to keep it real so people can identify with what you're saying. That's what keeps me going and people coming to hear me.
SW: You've provided multiple generations of young women with messages of empowerment. Do you find that your message has been universal throughout the years or has the way you've gotten your ideas across changed with the generations?
SC: It stays the same. I keep it real and keep it positive. A lot of parents used to bring their children to see me and now those children are bringing their children to hear the same message. But I never feel like it's about me. I recognize that I'm just a vessel through which the message is being transmitted. It's coming from somewhere. I don't know how to describe where it comes from, but it comes to me. The most high has chosen me as a vessel to transmit this message. It's not about me.
SW: Do you feel like there's a specific message of yours that is the most important for people to take away from your music?
SC: It has to be love. Love and equality. If you take every person... what's your name?
SC: It's very good to meet you. Jared is just a name given to you. But first, before that, you are a soul and I am a soul and that makes us equal. We're all souls on this journey through life. Doing what we're doing. Whatever I do, whatever you do. We all have to co-exist to be complete. We have to treat each person as your brother, as your sister, as souls like we are.
Thursday, Aug. 11, 9pm
The Capitol, 190 NW Oregon Ave., Bend