Yasus Afari is a dub poet that took part in Rastafarian and conscious message rebirth in Jamaican music in the 1990's alongside Tony Rebel, Garnett Silk, Kulcha Knox or Uton Green with Destiny Outernational sound system from Mandeville.
Yasus Afari was born John Sinclair, 1962 in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. Afari was a childhood friend of Garnett Silk and collaborated with Silk on many of his best-selling recordings. He attended St. Elizabeth Technical High School, and worked as a repair technician for the Jamaican telephone company. He returned to school after receiving a scholarship to the College of Arts, Science And Technology (UTECH). It was at UTECH that Afari became politically active, and was elected vice president of the student council (an offer which he declined)
While at UTECH, Afari began performing, appearing regularly at venues such as the University of the West Indies (UWI) and other colleges. His released his first recording "Anti-Litter Law" in 1986. He later teamed up with Garnett Silk on a version of Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now", this single was a commercial success for both artists. Afari then went on to record as a background vocalist and dub poet for Everton Blender, General Degree and Tony Rebel.
Afari’s style has often been compared to that of well known dub poet Mutabaruka. Afari is well known for performing more traditional poetry readings as well as dub poetry live over dancehall music. Some of his earlier influences are Linton Kwesi Johnson, Oku Onura and Mikey Smith (artists from the 1980s).
Afarii toured throughout the United States and the Pacific Islands with Black Uhuru in the mid-1990s. In 1996, he toured Ethiopia with Mutabaruka, Tony Rebel, and Uton Green, In 2006, he co-headlined the Cayman Music Festival, along with Freddie McGregor and Maxi Priest. In 2007, he toured England, performing at prisons, mental institutions, book shops and schools, as well as acting as poet in residence at the University of Birmingham, where his book Overstanding Rastafari was launched. Overstanding Rastafari was the result of five years work for Afari, and was described by Professor Barry Chevannes of UWI as
"a work by a Rastafarian scholar who is interpreting for the non-Rastafarian audience his perspective. Not idiosyncratically his own, but the view of the movement on where Jamaica and the world are positioned at this time".
Afari’s latest album is Public Secret, recorded with his band Dub Vijan was released in 2013. Afari is head of Edutainment Promotion, organizers (with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission) of the Jamaican Poetry Festival.
WITH each album, Yasus Afari says he attempts to break new ground. On Public Secret, his latest, the dub poet recorded for the first time with his own band, Dub Vijan. The members of the band are Oswald Gooden (bass), Fabian Smith (keyboards), Bobby Gardner (guitar), Ricardo Foster (drums) and Cornel Hewitt (guitar).
The 15-song set was released digitally and on compact disc in June 2013 by New York marketing company Fox Fuse. It showcases the Dub Vijan band, a five-piece aggregation that was formed in 2011. For Yasus Afari, who co-produced the album through his Senya-Cum and the Mandeville Music Group, working at his own pace was a welcome change.
"With this album, I was able to realise a lifelong ambition which is to record a studio album with my own band. I did things at my own leisure without watching the clock," he said.
Public Secret is the follow-up to last year's Ancient Future which heard Yasus Afari working with different producers on songs featuring established acts like Toots Hibbert and Black Uhuru. Public Secret also marks Afari's venture into the hip remix market. Three of its 15 songs -- Let's Talk New York, Ring Pon Comedy and Guidance -- have been retouched by American Dub Smith, a "remix specialist" who has worked with firebrand poet Gil Scott-Heron, Floetry and Black Uhuru.
Purchase Afrari’s new album “Public Secret, available on Itunes. Follow the link below to purchase and download the album right to your computer or mobile device:
Listen to Afari’s new single “Let talk New York”, link below