Dean Fraser’s Yuletide Album Comes with a Rastafarian Beat

Dean Fraser To Drop New Yuletide Album titled “Nyahbinghi Christmas”

by Howard Campbell

[KINGSTON, Jamaica] Christmas is in the air and Dean Fraser is feeling the vibe. On November 20, reggae’s premier saxophonist combines with Tad’s International Record to release a Yuletide album with a Rastafarian beat.

Nyabinghi Christmas is the title of the veteran musician’s first seasonal album which hears him doing standards like When A Child is Born, Virgin Mary and Merry Christmas, instrumentally, to traditional Rastafarian drumming.

“Wi want di Jamaican family to sit down an’ listen to Christmas songs, Jamaica style. It’s really a simple vibe,” said Fraser.

For an authentic rootsman feel, he brought in percussionists Congo Billy, Hector Lewis and Denver “Feluke” Smith for the 16-song album. Nyabinghi Christmas was the last project Smith worked on; he died in September from colon cancer.

Other popular songs on Nyabinghi Christmas are Long Time Ago, Feliz Navidad and Auld Lang Syne. Fraser and crew also re-work popular Jamaican staples like Santa Ketch up Inna Mango Tree and Christmus A Cum mi Waan mi Llamma.

Though many Jamaican artists embrace the Rastafarian faith which does not recognize Christmas, several acts have recorded Yuletide albums and songs with great success. Among them Boris Gardiner with The Meaning of Christmas, Home T’s Mek The Christmas Ketch You in A Good Mood and Carlene Davis’ Santa Claus (Do You Ever Come to The Ghetto).


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