After six months in and around Asheville, it did not take the recent article on diversity ["Hidden in Plain View," April 30, Xpress] to know that there is a lack of it. The lack of reggae music was my clue. An incredible amount of posters and listings for shows, clubs/venues indicates there is a consistently large music scene, yet sadly virtually no real reggae.
Very recently on a Friday night at Pisgah Brewery there was a rare show by Reggae Infinity, a band from S.C.; the low attendance of 15 people, half of whom were family of the band members, maybe indicated there is not a population interested in hearing reggae. They had a good sound and message. I wished that they had played the next day at the crowded birthday fest Pisgah hosted.
There was a so-called local “reggae” band who played the first set of the day, but if that is reggae, I am a tall person (I am not). I can appreciate the prevalence of traditional local music, but the amount of garage-style rock gets pretty old. I would rather listen to silence than most of the bands that play here.
To me, the Pisgah party was noise, but then again, I don’t drink. Not that anyone cares, but if anything keeps me from sticking around, it would be the lack of reggae music, gospel and African American voices. I also miss being in a gospel choir. (Thanks to Isis for the recent Afropop show.)
Asheville certainly is quite white, with beer a sacred potion, “foodies” a major self-descriptive complimentary term, and reggae non-existent. [I know this is poorly written, but it's from a device that's hard to rewrite on.] As Pablo Moses sings, “music is my desire, it’s what I require.” Black Mountain and Marshall feature wonderful open mics and shows of non-reggae, and they are good, but Asheville’s scene, for its size, is so undiverse.