© Zorro/FilmAgentinnen

Journey to Jah
Germany/Switzerland/Jamaica/Italy 2013

Opening 20 Mar 2014

Directed by: Noël Dernesch
Writing credits: Noël Dernesch, Moritz Springer

The stars of this documentary are two unusual reggae musicians, who very successfully perform that Jamaican music, popularized by Bob Marley. One, Tilmann Otto, goes by the name of Gentleman. He is from Cologne, son of a pastor. He quit school at age 16, went to Jamaica a year later and found his niche as a successful German reggae singer. Alborosie (Alberto D’Ascola) was born and raised in Sicily. He also left school at a young age and already had his first record contract at age 14. With his band Reggae National Tickets he became the most successful Italian reggae singer. Gentleman divides his time between Europe and Jamaica while Alborosie lives fulltime on the island. Both have had extraordinary careers; both speak the Jamaican patois fluently and adhere to the Rastafarian religion, which is very spiritual. They agree that “if you can make music you are spiritual.” The word “Jah” means God.

Directors Noël Dernesch and Moritz Springer film them in Kingston among their friends and colleagues such as Terry Lynn, Prof. Dr. Carolyn Cooper, Natty, Richie Stephens, Jack Radics, as well as Bob Marley’s son Damian. The film offers a new understanding of reggae (which doesn’t all sound like Bob Marley), as well as the Rastafarian culture which originated in Africa. It’s unusual that two Europeans should find their niche in such a culture miles away across the Atlantic Ocean, and then bring it back to Europe. This film is definitely interesting for anyone who loves music, music history, and wants to keep up to date with the progress of reggae. It won the audience prize at the Zurich Film Festival. (Becky Tan)

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