Drawing inspiration from the ancient wisdom of the 13 Moon Mayan Dreamspell Calendar (a modern application of the Mayan calendar of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica), self-described “cosmic reggae” band Crystal Kind has established a musical niche of its own. At a recent Hookah Joe’s show, the band wove Mayan mysticism with Rastafarian philosophy and principles of Cosmic Zen into thoughtful reggae music.
The four band members each use descriptive nicknames inspired by the Mayan Dreamspell calendar. Singer/songwriter Ras Berhane is “White World-Bridger”, guitarist Serifa uses “White Spectral Wizard”, bassist Maya Marck goes by “Red Electric Serpent” and drummer Lunar Drew is “Blue Lunar Eagle.” The quartet was drawn together through a pursuit of esoteric spiritual knowledge. Each player is a founding member of the Crystal Kind Cooperative, a grassroots organization that hosts Solstice and Equinox celebrations and Mayan Crystal Kin meetings every thirteen days, one of which preceded the show.
Reflecting this influence, Crystal Kind’s music is fluid and ethereal.
With lyrics like “One love/ one vibration/ one now/ Shiva Rastafari,” and “Step into Jah portal/ tell me what is going to happen in twenty-twelve/ is it a brand new birth/ natural-time will tell,” the band strives to spread a message of love and unity, while channeling interpretations of the Mayan Dreamspell Calendar.
Under glowing chandeliers, Crystal Kind played an array of original songs ranging from slow, melodic reggae tunes like “More Love Kin 106” and “Into the Portal 2012 kin 39,” to rhythmic, funk-heavy songs like “Everyday Zion Kin 39.” Berhane’s sultry voice was both soft and striking. With a sing-song accent from Trinidad and dread locks that reach his knees, Berhane was a confident and expressive performer. Though he didn’t introduce his songs by name, he offered small prayers between each set like, “Infinite love, cosmic peace for all, Jah bless.”
Marck, Drew and Serifa worked together to create a dynamic tapestry of reggae rhythms. At times during their performance, however, the multi-layered instrumentals overpowered Berhane’s graceful voice and clouded the lyrics.
While most listeners sank into the soft couches around the stage puffing on tall hookahs and sipping on drinks, a brave few took to the dance floor. Adding ambiance to the scene, Crystal Kind invited a young painter to work on an abstract piece inspired by the live music. Guest musicians jumped on stage and improvised with the band, jamming on woodblocks and hand drums. And, with a booth of crystals set beside the stage, the evening felt as much like a community gathering as it did a concert, which seems to be the way Crystal Kind likes it.
Catch Crystal Kind at the “Every day is 4/20” party at The Emerald Lounge on Friday, April 17.