Mystic Revealers

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Mystic Revealers

Reggae band

For the Record

Authentic Approach to Reggae

Reggae Show Stealers

Slow Start in the United States

Selected discography


The Mystic Revealers burst onto the global reggae music scene in 1985 with their first major single, Mash Down Apartheid. Produced by reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, the song equates political revolution with personal spiritual upheaval in a potently mystical manner. Proceeds from its sale were donated to South Africas African National Congress (ANC) to assist in that nations struggle for racial, social, and political equality. This philanthropic gesture, unusual for a first-time success, accurately reflects the convictions, sensibilities, perspectives, and priorities of the Rastafarian, politically-oriented Mystic Revealers.

The Mystic Revealers were formed in the early 1980s in a rural village in the St. Andrew Parish of Jamaica. They draw upon Jamaicas rich, established reggae tradition of outspoken political awareness when writing and performing their original material. The bands four founding members form the heart of the group and include Kingston-born vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Billy Mystic Wilmot; former Jalan and Earth Disciples drummer and record producer Nicholas Drummie Henry,

For the Record

Original founding members include Steve Davis (born in Montego Bay, Jamaica), lead guitarist and vocalist; Leroy Lion Edwards (born in Kingston, Jamaica), bass guitarist; Nicholas Drummie Henry (born in the U.K.s Shropshire region), drummer; and Billy Mystic Wilmot (born in Kingston), vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter. Later members include William Willigan Cocking (born in Kingston), percussionist; Winston Metal Stewart, keyboard player and lead guitarist; and Robert Patch Walters, keyboard player.

Group formed in the early 1980s in the St. Andrew Parish of Jamaica; hit global reggae music scene in 1985 with their first major single, Mash Down Apartheid, produced by Jimmy Cliff; toured Japan, the United Kingdom, and Europe, 1985-91; performed at the Reggae Sunsplash Festival, 1988; released debut album, Young Revolutionaries, 1992; toured 17 American cities to promote the single and video Religion and the single Remember Romeo ; performed at the EXPO 1992 in Seville, Spain; participated in the 1993 Reggae Sunsplash tour and the 50th birthday celebration concert for Bob Marley in Jamaica, 1995.

Addresses: Record company RAS Records, P.O. Box 42517, Washington, D.C. 20015.

who hails from the Shropshire region of the United Kingdom; lead guitarist and vocalist Steve Davis of Montego Bay, Jamaica; and bass guitarist Leroy Lion Edwards of Kingston. Kingston-born percussionist William Willigan Cocking, keyboard player Robert Patch Walters, and keyboard player-lead guitarist Winston Metal Stewart were later additions to the band.

Authentic Approach to Reggae

In the early 1970s, when Wilmot, Henry, Davis, and Edwards were teenagers in Bull Bay, Jamaicawhich is eight miles east of Kingstonthey were surrounded by Rastafarians (followers of a complex set of mystical religious beliefs). Like the Rastas, they grew their hair into dreadlocks. Wilmot told Vibe magazines Rob Ken-ner, We were all awed by the magnificenceof Rastafari. And at that time, it was what was hip. Them [sic] more look at you as a religious fanatic now if you tell thembout Rasta. Caribbean News contributor Jamie Lee Rake noted, There is a true Rastafarian spirit which lives and moves within [the Mystic Revealers], the first roots reggae band to emerge from the island of Jamaica in years.

Part of what distinguishes the Revealers from their more traditional counterparts is the fact that they utilize contemporary rap, hip-hop, and even disco sounds in their songs. Although the band is as conscientious and as roots-oriented as the older vanguard of reggae starssuch as Bob Marley and Peter Toshthey have established their own style and sound, combining traditional reggae, dancehall, folk, and pop music. Kenner called the Mystic Revealers, one of the few traditional roots bands still writing original songs that move the heart and the hips.

Reggae Show Stealers

Between 1985 and 1995 the Mystic Revealers played with such notable artists as Burning Spear, the Neville Brothers, Joan Baez, and Big Mountain. When the band performed at the Reggae Sunsplash Festival in 1988, they attracted international attention. Japanese producer Shinjiro Kanazawa of CHUKYO-TV featured the Revealers on Japanese television, deeming them the future of reggae music, and Canadian record producer Bob King lauded them as musicians with a universal appeal. They also performed at the EXPO 1992 in Seville, Spain. But the band garnered the most U.S. exposure and recognition from participating in the 1993 Reggae Sunsplash tour.

At a 50th birthday celebration concert held in Jamaica in honor of Bob Marley in February of 1995, the Mystic Revealers performed along with reggae greats the Wailers, Rita Marley, actress Vanessa Williams, vocalist Judy Mowatt, Toots Hibbert, Ziggy Marley, DJ Tony Rebel, and the veteran roots group Wailing Souls. Billboard contributor Garry Steckles, who attended the show, wrote, The most solid and satisfying performance of the evening was provided by the Mystic Revealers, one of the few serious roots groups to emerge in Jamaica in recent years. Their rendition of Natural Mystic, We and Dem, and Religion won over numerous new fans that evening, including other respected reggae musicians.

Slow Start in the United States

Although the Mystic Revealers released their first single, Mash Down Apartheid, in 1985, and the single was popular, they did not release their first album, Young Revolutionaries, until 1992. Between 1985 and 1991 the band toured Japan, the United Kingdom, and Europe. Then, in 1992, they toured 17 American cities to promote their singles Religion and Remember Romeo. Their second album, Jah Works, was released in 1993 and their third, Space and Time, came out two years later.

The Mystic Revealers songs reflect the bands commitment to basic human values. The single Religion is a straightforward reggae song, preaching love and protesting injustice, enhanced by Wilmots sweetly lyrical voice. And singles such as Young Revolutionaries and Living in Kingston from the album Young Revolutionaries are a tribute to life in Kingston, a contribution to class consciousness, and a means for the Mystic Revealers to extol the virtues of a simple, honest life. The groups songs have also exerted a considerable influence on top-selling contemporary artists. Rake, writing in Option, suggested that the Revealers track Rasta Man provides a clue to where Seal might have picked a couple of his ideas.

The cover art for the bands album Jah Works features symbols from ancient Ethiopian scrolls, which highlight the performers mystical, ancient Rastafarian perspective. The93 release was listed at Number Two on the Planet Reggae Top 40 Chart. Meanwhile, their95 effort, Space and Time, steadily gained popularity in the States. Video exposure in the United Statesespecially on the Black Entertainment Television (BET) cable networkis helping to spread word of the Mystic Revealers to mainland American listeners.

Selected discography


Mash Down Apartheid, Gong Sounds, 1985.

Gotta Be a Better World, Uni/MCA, 1993.

Religion/Remember Romeo, RAS Records, 1994.


Young Revolutionaries, Gong Sounds, 1992.

Jah Works, RAS Records, 1993.

Space and Time, RAS/REP Records, 1995.


Billboard, June 4, 1994; February 25, 1995.

Caribbean News, June 7, 1994.

CMJ, February 28, 1992.

New Music Report, February 28, 1992.

New York Review of Records, July 1992.

Option, May/June 1992.

Santa Barbara Independent (Santa Barbara, CA), August 30, 1993.

Tahoe World (Tahoe City, CA), August 14, 1993.

Vibe, September 9, 1994.

Additional information for this profile was taken from RAS Records press materials.

B. Kimberly Taylor