Mek we celebrate Darwin in a Jamaican stylee!

| 11 Comments

Someone stole my idea.

In celebration of Darwin Day, someone has set the Origin of Species to Dub, a kind of music related to Reggae. No, really.

This new artistic endeavor is the creation of the Genomic Dub Collective, a group which aims to “create a new musical genre… that celebrates recent successes in the field of genomics and evolutionary biology.” Why someone didn’t think of this before, I’ll never know. The group draws talent from a Microbial Genomicist and a Jamaican scientist of some sort.

Each track is named after or takes inspiration from a chapter of the Origin, and you get two bonus tracks, the Dobzhansky Dance Trance and Ras Darwin. (For all you Sheriff John Browns, Ras refers to Erasmus Darwin, Chuck’s grandfather.)

You can listen to some samples here, or you can order the entire thing for £3.99 (about the price of a dime bag). These chaps are just trying to recoup their costs, so don’t kill the seed before it grows.

11 Comments

Is it a Jamaican scientist, or the dub band known as “Scientist”? The latter has been around for a while, the soundtracks to K-JAH in Grand Theft Auto III is probably their most widely known material.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is the greatest thing ever.

Prince Vegita Wrote:

Is it a Jamaican scientist, or the dub band known as “Scientist”?  The latter has been around for a while, the soundtracks to K-JAH in Grand Theft Auto III is probably their most widely known material

The former, apparently. Here’s what they have to say:

This project draws on the skills, knowledge and experience of an eclectic mix of individuals, united by a common love of science and music, including: a Professor of Microbial Genomics, a Jamaican scientist who is a native speaker of Jamaican Creole, a talented programmer with experience of organising student events and a clinical psychologist with extensive experience as a musician and events organiser.

According to the link provided by Glenn Branch, and this one from the Scotsman, the Microbial genomicist and the Jamaican scientist are the two who actually made the stuff. Pictures on their sight show that they’re just a couple of white guys though. Sigh.

I just downloaded the “International grandeur” track, and it’s very nice – I could listen to this stuff happily. I’m going to have to order the full thing.

This Genomic Dub Collective thing is a riot.

With respect to the “other” dub artist known as Scientist, a protege of King Tubby, let me state for the record that some of his early 80s albums for the Greensleeves label, e.g., “Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires” and “Scientist Wins the World Cup” are among my all-time favorites of any genre. Classic stuff.

In the past ten years, I’ve heard little that topped the Rhythm and Sound w/Tikiman disc (released by Basic Channel a few years back in a hemp digipak and probably still findable).

Though you may be correct in that the Ras in “Ras Darwin” refers to Erasmus Darwin, I would prefer that they are instead calling him “Prince Darwin,” much as Ras Tafari is “Prince Tafari” or “Lord Tafari.” A prince of science, perhaps in unshackling us from earlier ideas.

A number of interested individuals apparently had similar ideas regarding the practicality of distribution by physical medium:

Subject: Origin of Species in Dub now available for download

From: Mark Pallen

Several of you have pointed out that it is a waste of postage money to send a piece of plastic through the post, particularly overseas, when the music could be made available for download over the web. Well, I am pleased to announce that I have now made the Origin of Species in Dub available for download in MP3 format. In addition, I have prepared a Powerpoint file of the CD inlay, complete with track listing and a JPEG file of the album cover, so you can make up your own CD complete with artwork. But, of course, if you want to buy the CD, so that you can give it as a gift, or because you prefer to obtain your music in hard copy, that is still possible.

So, there are now two options:

To gain access to the web site address, username and password to download the album, make a payment to [Enable javascript to see this email address.] via paypal (http://www.paypal.com) of £3.99 (you get 12 tracks, so that’s half the price of the iTunes store!), and include in the header of your message “Origin in Dub: Download “.

To receive one or more copies of the CD by post, make a payment via paypal of £3.99 per CD plus postage and packaging and include in the header of your message “Origin in Dub: CD”. Please allow up to two weeks for delivery. Postage and packaging charges per CD as follows: £0.25 for delivery to Birmingham University staff via internal mail, £0.50 for UK postage, £1.00 for Europe, £2.00 for rest of the world.

Hi,

I am flattered by all the above discussion, but should pick up on a couple of points:

“Though you may be correct in that the Ras in “Ras Darwin” refers to Erasmus Darwin, I would prefer that they are instead calling him “Prince Darwin,” much as Ras Tafari is “Prince Tafari” or “Lord Tafari.” A prince of science, perhaps in unshackling us from earlier ideas.”

As we say in the explanatory notes (http://www.infection.bham.ac.uk/BPAG/Dub/Info), this was always a play on words, with Ras standing for Erasmus and for the Amharic word for Prince (which I think is cognate with Arabic/Hebrew ras/rosh, meaning “head”). I know that Charles Darwin’s brother went by the nickname Ras, but I am not sure whether that abbreviation was common in his grandfather’s time. The Ras Darwin stuff is a direct link to the previous year’s Darwin Day in Birmingham, when these same lines were out by local Rasta dub poet, Benjamin Zephaniah. It was with that previous performance in mind that the idea of doing all this Darwiniana in dub was sparked off.

But of course as a republican revolutionary, I am not sure Erasmus Darwin would have liked to be called a “Prince”! I objected to the “loyal toast” at the meeting in Lichfield celebrating 200th anniversary of his death, with the words “long live the English republic!”.

“According to the link provided by  Glenn Branch, and this one from the Scotsman, the Microbial genomicist and the Jamaican scientist are the two who actually made the stuff.  Pictures on their sight show that they’re just a couple of white guys though.  Sigh.”

Why the sigh? Yeah, OK, I am a middle-aged (not quite dead) white European male, but my collaborator Dom is fully Jamaican, having lived there from the age of 6 weeks old till he was 20. He has a Jamaican passport and his dad and several other members of his family still live there. And as you can tell from the music, he speaks like a Jamaican, and unlike Ali G, he can’t snap out of it: that’s who he is! OK, he is white, but what was it Selassie said “until the colour of a man’s skin is of no more importance than the colour of his eyes…”. And if you can’t have white Jamaicans, does that mean you can’t have Black British? And if white people can’t do reggae, does that mean that black people can’t do opera (Jessye Norman and Willard White might object to that one). But of course one of the take away messages from our Darwin Day was from a talk on human evolution: humans are one of the least diverse of mammalian species, so we really are pretty much all the same under the skin! One love, one inity!

BTW, if you wanna sample media reponse to this mad project, visit: http://www.infection.bham.ac.uk/BPAG/Dub/media.

And we are still looking to recover our costs (about half way there so far), so feel free to place an order!

Cheers

Mark

Professor Mark Pallen Professor of Microbial Genomics Bacterial Pathogenesis and Genomics Unit Room 542, Institute for Biomedical Research, The Medical School, University of Birmingham, BIRMINGHAM, B15 2TT [Enable javascript to see this email address.] tel ++44(0)121 414 7163 fax ++44 121 414 3454 http://www.infection.bham.ac.uk/BPA[…]mpallen.html

Greeting and Salutations,

Mi ah tell you dis well nice (I too am well flattered by this discussion). You guessed it I am the white guy from Jamaica. I Grew up in a humble little town called Oracabessa on the North Coast of the Island. Its the same town that is still home to Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records (http://www.bobmarley.com/life/island/). Yah man, he is a white Jamaican too.

Darwin and Dub is a culmination of a love of reggae music, a fairly good understanding of Charles Dawrin’s work, and two groovy scientists (Mark and myself) who met decided to do this thing. I am just glad that you can dig it, and I hope that we can raise some funds to improve on what we have done.

Nuff love,

Dominic White PhD student Clinical Genetics Dept. of Paediatrics and Child Health Birmingham Women’s Hospital Metchly Park Lane B15 2TG

Tel: 0121 6272669

Mark Pallen Wrote:

Why the sigh?

I’m just giving you a hard time is all.

Thanks for dropping by guys, and nice work on the music. I’m glad you’re offering to sell it downloadable; I can’t see having it shipped all the way from the UK when it can come over a cable so much faster and cheaper. I’ll be placing my order soon.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve Reuland published on February 15, 2005 11:39 AM.

Telling it straight was the previous entry in this blog.

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