Ojba Rasta – “Ojba Rasta”

Ojba Rasta is Icelandic reggae.

No, the above is not a typo.

No. Seriously. It’s not a typo. Iceland actually has a handful of pretty decent reggae bands, which may come as a surprise to you. However, it shouldn’t when you consider all the things that Iceland and Jamaica have in common.

1. They are both islands.
2. Um….

OK. So maybe Iceland and Jamaica don’t have a lot of similarities. But that doesn’t mean that Icelanders don’t like a smooth reggae groove, and the guys from Ojba Rasta do a pretty good job of it.

I don’t have much experience with reggae. Back in the early 1990s, the spring after we graduated from high school my buddy John and I borrowed my dad’s car and drove from Seattle to Sedona, Arizona, spent a few days with my uncle and cousin, headed over to San Francisco for a day, then drove home. The whole trip was maybe five or six days, but we had a stack of cassettes (yes, younger readers, there was a time when the cassette was king) and right before the trip I’d bought Bob Marley’s Legend. I think we put it on somewhere in Idaho…. and it was a great soundtrack to an hour or so of a long, long day of driving. While I clung to that tape of Legend, eventually replacing it with a CD copy, I never really ventured into reggae with the notable exception of the early 80s pop hit “Electric Avenue” by Eddie Grant (which I think I had on 45). But I’d heard about some of the bands in Iceland, and decided to pick up a copy of Ojba Rasta when I found it on vinyl. I mean, just look at that cover. You have to listen to it!

The album has eight solid tracks, all by one of which are in Icelandic – but let’s be honest, that doesn’t really matter if the band jams well, and Ojba Rasta has a great sound. The first track on side B, “Jolly Good,” is in English, which will catch you off guard after you’ve gotten used to grooving with the Icelandic lyrics on side A. We enjoyed the band tonight while drinking some Jack and Diet Cokes after a tough Thursday of work, at the tail end of a grind of a week, and it was the perfect fit – it mellowed us out (the Jack probably helped), and it was good to sit and talk while listening to reggae instead of watch TV or retire to our separate computers.

Ojba Rasta is some nice music for chillin’ with your friends – the pace is relatively steady and it has the nice island beat. A worth-while pickup for you casual (and perhaps serious) reggae fans.

Leave a Reply