Morgan Heritage focused on more than just the music
by Katrina King
For over 20 years, reggae sensation Morgan Heritage has been illuminating the global reggae scene with its conscious and positive vibes.
And though the industry itself has evolved over the past two decades, the royal family of reggae has stayed true to its original blueprint, creating a devoted international fan base in the process, even though there’s still nothing that beats the love it receives at home in the Caribbean.
The Jamaican artistes recently touched down in Barbados as part of their Avrakedabra World Tour, performing some of their old and new hits at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium to the absolute delight of local fans.
Speaking with Bajan Vibes just ahead of that performance, spokesmen Peter Peteah Morgan and Roy Gramps Morgan assured that even though the actual size of the musical band had narrowed from five to three members, their familial bonds were as strong as ever.
“Staying together is not easy for families that have to work together, being adults and becoming old men. [But] our greatest success is not our music or what we achieved in the music, it is our togetherness and staying together from when we were children to grown men now with our respective families,” Peteah said of the three-member group, which is completed by Memmalatel Mr Mojo Morgan.
“[Our parents] taught us how to stay together and pray together and everything that is togetherness. We have our fights and quarrels like any normal family, but the key is to overcome,” he added.
“Our parents just raised us to be simple, love each other, take care of each other, smile at the world and the world will smile with you,” interjected Gramps.
Throughout the course of its lengthy career, Morgan Heritage has changed its musical algorithm, but its aim remains the same – to evoke feelings of hope and social consciousness among the world’s population.
Peteah said the group was also focused on educating the youth and preserving Caribbean culture.
“The hope in today’s music is not just for today’s generation but for the upcoming generation and we learn from the past generations so that is how we can say this is what we want to be different. Through our music we advocate for the betterment of the world.
“We want the kids and the young ones to know that the new cool is being conscious. When people see that you are conscious and aware and you are moving through creation like that, then they can say, ‘yeah that’s cool’, you don’t have to be on the streets or in gangs.” Peteah told Bajan Vibes.
Looking to the future, he said: “We just want to see the preservation of our heritage and what our forefathers and mothers stood for, that we don’t throw it away to take up things we see foreigners do. “We as Caribbean people have a lot of things to give thanks for and we have a lot of things to hold on to, we want to maintain who we are,” Peteah added.
Their latest album Avrakedabra epitomizes their values of ‘what you speak, you create’. The Grammy-nominated album title is derived from the ancient language Aramaic and essentially means that whatever you put into the universe you get back – a message that resonates with the band.
“It [Avrakedabra] just means we create what we speak, what you put out into the universe you create it and it becomes a reality.
“There are certain things that have become a reality that were created through speaking and bringing into light what we dreamed and what we wished for, and this album has made its way into our hearts and into the hearts of people internationally,” Peteah explained.
The spokesmen described Avrakedabra as a groundbreaking record with collaborations with the Marley brothers Stephen and Ziggy.
“For the first time, this was just the two families, Morgan Heritage and the Marleys . . . . It’s an honour and now we have it for the rest of our lives,” Peteah added.
After the North American leg, the Avrakedabra World Tour will close on April 14 in Grenada. It will be followed by the Island Vibes US Tour, which commences on April 18.