Real Audio Interviews of Reggae Artists on The Uprising at IREGGAE.COM rastafari Interviews
Sister Carol
September 23, 1999 s
April 15, 2001

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scarolint.gif (17335 bytes) Sister Carol reasons with IREGGAE.COM about the 16 'lesson plans' on her new album  "ISIS - The Original Womb-Man".  This Tuff Gong Intl. release stresses "the importance of the nurturing and supporting of the woman within this time".   Mother Culture proclaims that "where music is concerned, the woman has become like an endangered specie, especially in reggae music." Isis, who has a tour scheduled for later this fall, also talks about the 'spiritual climax' she experienced as a child when she saw HIM Haile Selassie during his visit to Jamaica.  Click on image to hear interview.
Sister Carol Related Sites: Tamika Award - 1998
Heartbeat Web Site Sister Carol's Web Site Interview - 1/25/97
Jah Life Web Site Lightyear's Tuff Gong Site Video Interview
Reggae Fest Bio Easy Star Bio Clud Ned Concert
Sister Carol Interview - April 15, 2001 Sister Carol reasons with IREGGAE about the new Easy Star release produced by her 'All I Have Is Love - A Tribute To Studio One'.  During this interview, Isis disucsses the years of hard work that went into this project, which features songs from veterans like Sugar Minott, Freddie McGregor, Pam Hall and Dennis Brown, along with newer artists such as Angie Angel and Empress Trejah. "Studio One epitomizes the music of Jamaica" states Mother Culture proclaiming "Studio One for us is like Motown to America".

Sister Carol also recalls her childhood living across the street from Treasure Isle studio and regularly visiting Studio One, where her father worked.   She also talks about several projects she is currently working on including a live album and an all woman compilation. 
Click on image to hear interview.

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Greetings Sister Carol, and thank you for joining us here on The Uprising.

It’s a blessed love, ya know

Well it’s a pleasure to have you here. You’ve just released your new CD entitled ISIS?

Yeah, ISIS - The Original Womb-Man. On the Tuff Gong label.

Tell us a little about the songs on that if you would.

ISIS is an album that’s really stressing the importance of the nurturing and supporting of the woman within this time. You have about 4 or 5 tracks relating to that particular issue. Well it seems as if, where music is concerned, the woman has become like an endangered specie, especially in reggae music. So in part I am fighting to keep that part alive, ya know. Cause I want to make sure that I’m instilling enough vibes to assure the women that there is hope that they could come in and be a part as well. It’s a tribute to the woman. And it’s a two-fold tribute where ISIS is concerned. ISIS - the original goddess of divinity from Egypt. And I am also SIS, as most people call me. When I refer to myself, I am I-SIS. So is a two-fold tribute, ya know. And there are other issues that I cover, on this album as well. H.I.V - the importance of safe sex. Police brutality. Love relationships. Political empowerment by the people of government, ya know different things. Talking about herbal healing, where you have a herb-a-physical. Giving you different herbal remedies for different illnesses. So we are covering a lot of different topics. Some we have covered before, and some we are introducing to the people, ya know. So, from my part, it is a very nice album.

Yes, and it’s very enjoyable too. And I hope the people will listen to that. I understand that you have a tour that you are planning for sometime later this year with regards to that?

Yes, I’m planning to go on touring starting the second week of October. Hopefully it will take me to at least 25 or 28 through america.

Well we out here in San Francisco sure hope that some of the West Coast is included in that.

Well I’m almost sure I’ll be coming that way. I’ve actually probably spotted somewhere on my itinerary that San Francisco is included. Ya know that San Francisco is always a very nice place for me to come and perform. I enjoy the people’s vibes. It’s always positive, ya know. So I’m looking forward to come again.

True, and the people of San Francisco always love the Sister Carol vibes too...

Yeah mon...

For those that are a little bit less familiar with your work, could you tell us a little about your background?

Well, I am Sister Carol. Also called Mother Culture. Also called Black Cinderella. Now called ISIS. Still the same me, Sister Carol, none the less. I am from Kingston, Jamaica, and I have been here in New York for more than 20 years now, back and forth to Jamaica and touring the world and spreading my music of peace of love. Always educating and entertaining and edifying through music. Ya know, I’m trying to make a difference through music. Trying to change people’s life through music. This is my seventh album, and I am just moving from strength to strength. I started back in 1981, and my first single was entitled "Black Cinderella", and the other side was entitled "Jamaica A Little Africa". So from there I just keep on moving, and now I am up to my seventh album, ya know. I’m finding more gears within this thing, where I can fine tune and perfect this thing to a higher heights, and reach more people especially from a spiritual point of view.

Indeed, it’s always a pleasure to see you perform because it seems that you are able to just bubble with lyrics. And not only lyrics, but lyrics that are important and really give a message to the people.

Well all of that I credit to the Almighty, ya know the Most High who blessed me with ability to do all things. Because, if it was up to me alone, it would not have been possible. I have to give credit to the Almighty, who blessed me with the ability, and the energy and the creativity and everything that it takes for me to deliver myself when I am forced to do so. Might be in the studio or live at a concert, ya know. So, it’s like a two-fold type of fear, where I come to entertain and to edify the people and they in turn charge me with their energy. My energy charge them. So you find say it is always a stronger energy a move through. You can always feel it, because music is always there and it is for real. And the drum and bass is very synonymous to the beat of your heart. So no matter who you are, or where you are, or what language you speak, you must identify with it. Understand, it’s a spiritual thing, ya know?

What is it that drew you into the faith of Rastafari, and to understand the spirituality thereof?

Well, from I was conscious of who I am, even up to the age of maybe two or three I’ve been asking myself Who I am, Who am I? Where am I from and how did I get here? And most of those questions were never answered for me, neither in the school nor in the church that I attended. And upon hearing a reggae song, maybe at the age of about seven, by a brother Junior Byles. There’s a song that says "There’s a place called Africa far, far away. Mama say that’s where I’m from and I know she can’t be wrong. Take me back to Africa. Mama how did I get here?" That was the first time the reality hit me that "I must be from Africa". Ya know, cause I don’t feel like, where I was at the time, in Kingston, Jamaica, was my original place of being. Historically, we were brought here in the western hemisphere from Africa, through slavery ya know, some of us. And we’ve been dropped off at different ports and points. And Jamaica was my place, so I’ve always had a desire and a longing and a yearning to return to where I am from. And upon beholding certain teachings of Rastafari as a child, maybe about seven or eight, that Marcus Garvey always tell I and I to "Look to Africa, where the black king shall be crowned" . And when Haile Selassie came to Jamaica in 1966, Haile Selassie I the First that is, I had the opportunity of seeing him. And upon seeing him, I just felt overwhelmed like a spiritual climax sort of speak. From that time, I just embrace the faith and I never let go.

That must have been quite an honor for you, now looking back on your childhood and realizing that you had the opportunity to partake in that short visit that he had.

Yeah, well I never really take part in it as much as I mystically inform myself, along the pathway, just standing with the people, awaiting for the motorcade to come down the street. And I’m just asking myself if it was possible for me to see him, and for him to see me as well. Because there’s just so many people, like thousands of people lining the street. So I’m asking myself, while I’m also answering myself, that if he could see me, as though i could see him, then maybe that’s H.I.M. So I told myself from then. And upon passing by me, and he looked at me, and he waved to me, as I suppose everybody else at the same place was feeling the same way. Cause more time when I talk to people that have that experience, they always express that same type of vibes to me. That was my real baptism, you know? And I embrace the faith from then onwards, and I am just moving stronger from strength to strength. Just sharing my vibration, which is of peace and love and unity for humanity in general. Black, white and indifferent. So I just a use the music to gather the people and to impart the knowledge that I have come to know over the years, and to educate them upon a level, through music. Because I realize that that is my calling.

What has it been like for you as a woman, especially in the dancehall business. It must be very hard for you to partake in that. Very few women are in the dancehall reggae scene these days.

Well you see, even though I am a Jamaican by birth and I do reggae music, and it is sometimes labeled and classified as dancehall. I personally see it as way beyond that. It have a more international feel or meaning to me, more than what most people think dancehall is. It is just one aspect of Sister Carol. There’s also a lot of other things that I do. I am also a certified teacher. I have also had the experience of acting in several major motion pictures. So I utilize my all of my experience and the things that I have gone through to incorporate in my music, and it surpass what people think dancehall is or what they label as dancehall. Sometimes, I don’t limit myself to just that. Me is just an artist.

Certainly from your lyrics and message it is evident that there is a lot of knowledge and understanding that goes into the music. Are you currently doing any teaching as well?

Well not in the classroom per se. But I am constantly building lesson plans after lesson plans. If you have the album entitled ISIS-The Original Womb-Man, its 16 different lesson standards that you have listening right there and you can learn something or identify with something that I am saying. And there’s others that you don’t hear as yet, cause I still keep writing and creating and building. So if there is ever something to say, or to teach. You move on through in the stages of life. Like you left kindergarten and you go up to the 12th grade. So, I’m gonna take you through this life university from grade to grade through music. Cause there’s a whole heap more things to learn. Whole heap more music to come.

Well we will look forward to that. One song that particularly moved me on your new album is the Abner Louima song, "King and Queen", soca style. Could you tell us a little bit about that and your experiences being in New York throughout the entire proceedings.

Well, being an immigrant, or a native from the Caribbean, we have always experienced some type of discrimination or some kind of inferior treatment living and working and going to school here in New York city. It’s just different things that have happened over the years. I’m pretty sure that people from the Caribbean and people from Africa, immigrant and others, can identify with what I am saying about police brutality and how you change the immigration laws so as to not import people of the Caribbean. They might be issuing or opening up Visa opportunities for other countries for people to come in to America, but they say that Jamaicans and other countries are not allowed. So I find those things to be discrimination. And, being a musician, that is my way of contributing or stating my protest as to how I feel towards these things. So that song is basically just saying exactly what it says. We are kings and queens and we are just tired of this type of treatment. We want some kind of change, ya know?


True, and we give thanks to you for putting the lyrics onto the CDs so that people can stop dancing and listen to the music and learn from each of those lesson plans.

Well it have a message, ya know. Because, originally I’ve always liked this particular calypso song done up years ago, maybe somewhere in the 60’s, by a group from out of Barbados called "The Merrymen". And they had a song called "Rin Tin Tin". And it’s a love affair about a boyfriend and a girlfriend. So I kind of got the idea from that particular song where I kind of used or shared the melody and the lyrics to put it together and called it "Kings and Queens". And I put it together in a manner where I am expressing my views against police brutality and against the new immigration laws which affects so many of us as Caribbean people or African people.

And you’ve got a U-Roy song that you did a little remake on for the CD as well, Rasta Girl?

Well that’s really not a U-Roy song. Originally, that’s a Ken Boothe song.

Oh, U-Roy did a version of the Ken Boothe song.

Yeah, U-Roy did a Ken Boothe version. Where I grow up in Jamaica, in Western Kingston. That’s where most of the artists come from. Most of the music come from. So even at an early age, I was exposed to these brothers and sisters who were involved in the music. What I do is basically somewhat paying tribute to these veterans who have actually paved the way for us, by using their songs, or even a part of their songs, and try to bring it update. Somewhat like I am bridging the gap between then and now, and still showing my respect and giving credit where its due. Might be for the writing or for the melody. So that song is really a Ken Boothe song where he was singing about "just another girl." So at some point in time, I find it necessary to readdress that particular song cause it a song that I love. And I do it up as a "Rasta Girl" . Cause we not just another girl. Original "Rasta Girl". Emphasizing the reality of our feministic side and how important it is in terms of the whole creation of civilization and motherhood and all that comes with it. Again asking for that respect, or to reedify or remind or reeducate the society that all man came through the womb. So, yes, you have the male specie and the female. But if you continue to suppress the female side, then we’re heading for chaos. Because too much imbalance right now. There has to be balance. The females have to be represented. They have to be acknowledged. They have to be loved and cherished and honored and respected and given a chance so that they can contribute to society. As it was back in the days of even Egypt and before. So I try to bring about a renaissance or a rebirth for the respect of woman. Because if you disrespect me, and you keep on disrespecting Mother Africa, Mother Nature, the mother of the universe, then we’re heading for extinction. So, I’m trying to save her to avoid some of that by reminding them of the importance of the woman, through music. Reggae music, ya know?

Yes, well we give thanx for that. And I understand that there is a museum here in California, the Isis Museum. Are you aware of that at all.

No, I wasn’t aware of that Daniel. I give thanks for that information, cause you mek me to meet you when I come out there to try and find it and check it out.

Yes, because as is often the case, the reggae music, and the words and the message spoken there, lead me to look out and seek new things. And when I saw that Sister Carol, who was for many years the "Black Cinderella", and then moved up to "Mother Culture", and now is "ISIS - Womb-Man", it lead me to look further into that, and into the Egyptian goddess. And indeed there is quite a large group of women’s organizations that are using Isis as symbolic for the strength that women bring to our society.

Yeah mon. As we say in Jamaica "It guh so man, it guh so fi real." In other words, "It goes like that", ya know, yeah.

We thank you for that. Sister Carol, we will look forward to seeing you out here sometime later this year, and maybe we can check with you again at that time.

Well I am looking forward to coming out there as well because it’s always a pleasure for me. And in the meantime, to my fans and friends, its just a mighty love and blessing. Nuff love. Just go out a make sure you try and get this album, and try and edify yourself and continue to pray for Mother Culture. That I may continue my work that is ahead of me. Continue this journey. Cause when I come to San Francisco its just nuff love. Nuff niceness. The original thing, understand. So its just a blessed love. Jah guide and protect each and every one.

Irie, Sister Carol, thank you for joining us.

Yeah, one love.

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