RAS Artists

Tony Rebel

Jah Is By My Side /
Si Jah Esta Lado De Mi
   RAS 7071

Jah Is By My Side

Release Date: May 15, 2001

‘Yea thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me…
Psalm 23:4
Often times on the journey towards self-actualization the traveler encounters a path which leads him away from himself. He forgets what keeps him grounded, and he loses sight of the significance of his creator. Tony Rebel’s "Jah By My Side" recording is no less than a spiritual incarnation of Psalms 23 and 91. It is a compelling reaffirmation of one’s faith in the prevailing protection of Jah, and like King David, Tony Rebel sought to proclaim this reassurance tangibly, in melody.

Inspired by a series of events which transpired on his way to Montego bay for a showcase in honor of DJ Capleton on the night of April 10, 1996, the lyrics of the song issued from an unflinching fearlessness, with which the Rebel was imbued in the face of the threat of danger. He recalls that the journey to St. James was long and exhausting. Weary—all except Rebel—who was at the wheel, gave in to their tiredness and slept.

Suddenly aware that the vehicle had made two violent swerves, Rebel realized that he too was pricked by the contagion of sleep. Vibes of togetherness and community, previously present in the vehicle, appeared to have been replaced by a feeling of isolation and exhale. Negative thoughts of his mother’s tragic death in a motor vehicle accident, and of meeting a similar fate himself, occupied Rebel’s consciousness. However, this was quickly replaced by a more powerful force—his faith.

Strengthened by his resolve to reach his destination safely, Tony Rebel was bolstered by the words, "if Jah is by my side, why should I be afraid…," which echoed like a hail of thunder in his head. The song was not to be recorded until April 21, approximately 14 days after the incident, but what was more heartening to the man imbued with the tenets of Rastafari was that April 21 represented the anniversary of the visit to Jamaica of former Emperor of Ethiopia, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie.

Hitting the airwaves only a few days after the recording, the confident piousness of the tune and the potency of its lyrical content raged like wildfire throughout Jamaica’s entertainment industry. "Jah by My Side" would soon become a source of inspiration for many Jamaicans and a musical rallying cry for the Jamaican football team, "The Reggae Boyz" on their road to World Cup ‘98.

Officially released on the Flames label, "Jah By My Side" has to date been accorded five awards, with four being in 1997 alone. The recording obtained the award for "Song of the Year" twice in 1997; one from the Tamika Reggae Awards and the other from the Miami Reggae Soca Music Awards. Rebel went on to receive the Jamaica Music Awards for "best Musical Composition" and the Rockers Reggae Awards for "Most Conscious Lyrics" in 1997. The final award for Rebel’s "Jah By My Side" came in 1996 from the Martin’s International Reggae and World Music Awards in the category, "Most Gospel-Oriented Song."

Lauded now as an unofficial anthem, "Jah By My Side" has maintained a prestigious position, not only because of its magnetic appeal but also according to the singer/songwriter, "because of the resonance and universality of its meaning to the common man." Tony Rebel asserts that "the song embodies a commitment to the knowledge that Jah is hovering over us despite the obstacles that we encounter on a daily basis."

So…you thought the story was over! With very little prompting and an enormous desire to spread the message of faith to open hearts on every continent, Tony Rebel solicited the assistance of his publicist Hume Johnson and her friend Spanish Guru Nickesia Gordon in translating the words of the song into Spanish. Rebel, who had never uttered a word of Spanish before, devoted several hours every week for intense lessons in pronunciation and Spanish grammar. With a patient Nickesia and a student willing to learn, in only a matter of weeks "Jah By My Side" became "Si Jah Esta El Lado De Mi.’

Recording the melody in Spanish proved to be a challenge. But, armed with a rhythm blended by both Latin and Reggae harmonies and his two Spanish tutors and producer (Donovan Germaine, who embraced the concept), Rebel recorded the song in 1999 (and succeeded in setting another record—the first reggae artist to record and perform an entire song in a foreign language!) And don’t think that it has not been tested on the Spanish speaking market. On the invitation of Prime Minister of Jamaica, Hon. P.J. Patterson, Rebel got the unique opportunity to give a live rendition of the Spanish version of the song to Latin American delegates attending the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Children and Social Policy in the Americas, held in Jamaica in 2000.

So, whether it’s "Jah By My Side" or "Si Jah Esta Al Lado De Mi," Rebel’s song in praise of Jah’s protection is, undeniably, a fervent message of hope and an indisputable proof of Tony Rebel’s versatility and superb artistry.

Hume Johnson/Nickesia Gordon - 2001

Track Listing:  

1.) Jah Is By My Side striaght mix
2.) Si Jah Esta a Lado De Me
3.) Jah Is By My Side wild dub mix
4.) Si Jah Esta a Lado De Me una mezcla dubwise
5.) Jah Is By My Side instrumental
6.) Si Jah Esta a Lado De Me instrumental
7.) Jah Is By My Side a cappella
8.) Si Jah Esta a Lado De Me a cappella

 

 

 


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