Greetings Sister Carol, and thank you for joining us here on The Uprising.
Its a blessed love, ya know
Well its a pleasure to have you here. Youve 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 thats 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 Im instilling enough vibes to
assure the women that there is hope that they could come in and be a part as well.
Its a tribute to the woman. And its 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 its 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, Im 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 Im almost sure Ill be coming that way. Ive 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
peoples vibes. Its always positive, ya know. So Im looking forward to
True, and the people of San Francisco always love the Sister Carol vibes too...
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, Im trying to make a difference
through music. Trying to change peoples 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. Im 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, its 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, its 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, its a spiritual thing, ya know?
What is it that drew you into the faith of Rastafari, and to understand the
Well, from I was conscious of who I am, even up to the age of maybe two or three
Ive 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. Theres a song that says "Theres a place called
Africa far, far away. Mama say thats where Im from and I know she cant
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 dont
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 weve been dropped off at different ports and points. And
Jamaica was my place, so Ive 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 Im just asking myself if it was possible for me to see him, and for
him to see me as well. Because theres just so many people, like thousands of people
lining the street. So Im asking myself, while Im also answering myself, that
if he could see me, as though i could see him, then maybe thats 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. Theres 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 dont 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
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 theres others that you dont 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, Im gonna take you
through this life university from grade to grade through music. Cause theres 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
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. Its just different things that
have happened over the years. Im 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 Ive always liked this
particular calypso song done up years ago, maybe somewhere in the 60s, by a group
from out of Barbados called "The Merrymen". And they had a song called "Rin
Tin Tin". And its 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
And youve got a U-Roy song that you did a little remake on for the CD as
well, Rasta Girl?
Well thats really not a U-Roy song. Originally, thats a Ken Boothe
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. Thats 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 were 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 were heading for extinction. So, Im 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 wasnt 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 womens 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 its 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.