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Ras Alan: Bio


Equal parts Doc Watson and Bob Marley, The Carter Family and Burning Spear, RAS ALAN has been blending old time Appalachian music with reggae rhythms and Rastafari spirit for over 20 years. His self-styled “reggabilly”, hundreds of radio, festival and music hall performances and 5 full length albums have won Ras Alan wide acclaim. He has played Jamaica numerous times, with his band, THE LIONS, with local Jamaican mento and reggae stars and as a solo artist. Ras Alan performed in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC, the Dogwood Festival in Atlanta, GA, Reggae Ambassador Worldwide conventions in Las Vegas, NV, Wichita, KS and Salt Lake City,UT, the iconic Carter Fold in Hiltons, VA, and moved the dancers and listeners at regional festivals Rhythm & Roots in Bristol, TN/VA, Blue Plum in Johnson City, TN and Bele Chere in Asheville, NC. “These guys have been serving up their Appalachian Roots reggae for many, many years. They are so low key and non-pretentious - singing about organic farming and mountain living - so laid back that everyone just has a good natural time listening and dancing. So sweet! A big thanks to Ras and the fellas -definitely a high point for me this past year at Belle Chere, “ says a reviewer from

Appalachia’s native son RAS ALAN performed in Jamaica for Bob Marley’s TALKING BLUES reggae release with Ziggy, Stephen, Julian and Rita Marley; he picked informal gospel and swing tunes with American music icons DOC WATSON and JETHRO BURNS; he learned ancient tribal rhythms and melodies at the feet of African blues master ALI FARKE TOURE and Nigerian Master drummer BABTUNDE OLATUNJI. His original “reggabilly” songs and self-produced CDs have navigated the GRAMMY@ process, enlivened the ARCHIVES OF APPALACHIA and represent “Contemporary Southern Appalachian Culture and Music” in the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION in Washington, DC. He’s been featured on COUNTRY MUSIC TELEVISION, PBS and NPR stations nationwide.

Ras Alan's blend of traditional mountain music, original lyrics, and reggae heartbeat is fun, emotional, and socially responsible. Influenced by classic reggae, bluegrass, old time, Southern gospel, jazz, African drumming, and a respectful portion of Rastafari spirituality, Ras Alan's music is full of life, and the reggae rhythm is extremely danceable. Establishing the term "Reggabilly" in 1991, Ras Alan's songs are true stories inspired locally and applicable worldwide, rooted in Southern Appalachian and Jamaican reggae vibrations.

With the recent album ORGANIC, Ras Alan sustainably harvested songs and stories from the experiential Appalachian World Wide aesthetic. He and his family built the studio the CD was recorded in, using spruce, bamboo and locally milled hemlock lumber. The recording computer was assembled from collected parts and tracked the live performances of instruments including Ras Alan's handmade flat top guitar, a small resonator guitar, classical and Stratocaster guitars, mandolin, piano, organ, bass, drumkit, hand drums and various world-wide percussion. He recorded ORGANIC as the organic garden just outside the studio window went from compost, to seed, to mason jars...