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Drums of Rasta: Roundhouse, London

Karl Dallas, Melody Maker, 3 May 1975

THEY START with a simple, slow double beat on the drums. There are between 20 and 30 of them spread across London's Roundhouse stage, all wearing those funny little knitted hats in the Ethiopian red-yellow-and-green colours with the pom-pom on the top, with a guitar, bass, and a couple of flutes buried well behind them. As the beat continues, so insistent and boring almost, that it seems to be pounding inside your temples, an earnest-looking guy in a black raincoat delivers an almost incomprehensible religious rap while another, dressed in a gold satin monk's habit, dances around holding up a picture of the Rastafarians' God incarnate, none other than His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.

Total word count of piece: 397