In these times of change, positive movements in music have become a comforting escape for the sensitive sound lovers all over the globe. As an activist develops their ideas to represent a cause, music provides the script that signifies the importance of the fight. Jamaican roots-reggae band Pentautech Movement is slowly providing the framework for every conscious and creative Jamaican.
The core band is a duo, consisting of lead singer Kevor ‘Var’ Williams and drummer Brady ‘Jah Bradez’ Robinson. The two became acquainted while students at The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Jamaica's renowned visual arts college. The two realized they wanted to give a voice to young black men in Jamaica and became united to spread this message through music. Their mantra: "In separateness lies the world's greatest suffering. In unity, lies the world's greatest strength."
Since the movement's inception in 2008, their supporters have grown to include several of reggae music's top entertainers. The band has played in Europe, California and major festivals in Jamaica. They infuse their network with numerous visual artists, akin to the Edna Manley Performing Arts Movement. With the inclusion of many, the movement's support continues to grow and empower.
KingstonToLA recently caught up with Var and Jah Bradez to explore the powerful messages in their music.
KNG2LA: Tell us how you got connected to become the movement.
Pentateuch Movement: Well it all started in college really; that's where the connection started. We were regular classmates and became bredrins and we are musicians so it's natural for us to just play music together and just grow together as bredrins. It's really out of that brotherhood that started the conversation of "let's start a band." We started rehearsing a couple songs together. One of the first songs we started rehearsing was "Truth" and "Trouble" then "Black Face." Eventually, people started to realize we were carrying some profound messages in the music. Then, Garth "Duckie" Forester started to play guitar for us as well and we began receiving a lot of support from our peers.
KNG2LA: Can you tell us what inspired you to write the single "Crime?" Was there a particular incident that led you to the studio?
PM: Well yes, because the song came as a result of things that we see going on right now. It came out of a reasoning with a bredrin. I was sitting by Mikey Bennet's house one day and there was a guy sitting there talking about the struggle of life and how people struggle to just find basic food. So it's out of that, the song just formed. You can't solve crime if people can't find their basic needs, you know.
KNG2LA: Does this relate to Jamaica's low minimum wage?
PM: Yeah that as well. You know anywhere where the minimum wage is low, you normally have crime and violence. Right now in Jamaica, we are gearing up for another government election but to be honest the people are the ones who need to kind of come together because we can't depend on politicians. Politicians are just a group of people trying to get stuff done but it's the people, the mass. So when it comes to decision-making in the country, for minimum wage and for better jobs, it's the people's voice that needs to become one, for that change to happen. Jamaica is a place where we have a lot of resources, there's a lot of rainfall here, the place is green. We have a lot of water here, the island itself is very fruitful so these are the things that we need to place our focus into in order to rise above the little distractions. It's a beautiful place, this little negativity is just a minor distraction on what the island has to offer to the people. The music is just to clear up these things and get people thinking a little more positive.
KNG2LA: Yes the music spreads positivity indeed, so tell us how you got the name Pentateuch.
Var: Well I grew up in the church; that was one of my first groundings.
Jah Bradez: Yeah man, basically we grew up in the church, so from that little background there we evolve and we grow and we get to understand the importance of the scriptures and the teachings.
Var: Pentateuch, as you know, is the first five books of the Bible or Torah so for it's really just the beginning. Everywhere has a beginning and this is the reference point. This generation is a movement and we are still a part of that movement, writing the history books.
KNG2LA: If you had to classify your sound what would you classify it as?
Jah Bradez: You see the sound now, we do reggae music. Message music. Our sound now we try to make it different. We don't just stick to reggae music but we try to take different aspects of the African sounds, including some Nyabinghi.
Var: The sound is just kind of who we are as a people. There is a spirit about the Jamaican people, the movement, and the music. That is something that we are born with, we can't stray from it so even if we try to sing something else, you still a go hear that influence of our roots and culture coming across. Everything that we sing is reggae, we are influenced by rocksteady, mento, cumina, nyabinghi, so it's reggae by roots and culture.
KNG2LA: Last question as we move into newer times, what would you say about America's new president-elect?
PM: I doubt he is thinking about us right now. One word I have to say to the people who are living on that piece of land where he is the president, people have to just understand that at the end of the day when you have one voice then no other voice matters. So the people need to come together; as I said no change can happen (without that piece). At the same time people need to give him a chance but unless we become one voice then it's not going to happen. This is not just for the people in America. It's a global thing. All these barriers are just some foolishness that we need to break down. There are good people all over the world and if there is a struggle in America, it's everyone's responsibility to solve it. No borders. One Africa.
Pentateuch Movement has plans to return to California in the near future as they have experienced the sunshine of the Golden State in 2015. As depicted on the band's Instagram page, they promote natural healthy living. Perfect for the California way of life. "California I have to say is one of the places in America, where I kind of like the whole vibration, where there is always something fresh to eat and dem tings," says Var. "You'll find a whole lot of healthy, organic things there and we love to see people from all different cultures. That's what we love about California."
The band has previously performed at California's Sierra Nevada World Music Festival and is expected to be seen on California's rapidly developing, reggae music, festival circuit soon.
We're tuned in and looking forward to experiencing the movement here on the west coast. The group is set to release a new album titled Chapter 18 this March. "The songs are really a reflection of what we see going on in these times," says Var. "That covers a lot because we talking about things we face in our personal lives, how we view the political system and how we are on a spiritual level. So the album is coming with a lot of content."
Watch the video for Pentateuch Movement's "Crime" single here on KingstonToLA: