Words by Martei Korley—
About two weeks ago the weeks ago, the reggae community lost a very significant contributor in Sister Faybiene Miranda. Renowned in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn as one of the pillars of the Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy, she had been an active performer of roots reggae since the early ’70s.
Although many may be familiar with her poetry from the classic Itations of Jamaica and I Rastafari book series, or as the wife and collaborator of Clifford “Moonie” Pusey (guitarist in Steel Pulse and Azmari Jahz), I choose to remember her for another reason: In a politically polarized Jamaica, she collaborated with producer Jack Ruby at one of the most pivotal periods of his career. The producer who put together the all-star session for Burning Spear’s Marcus Garvey album hit a home run with Faybiene’s “Prophecy.”
It may be the constellation of Miranda’s Panamanian birth and American upbringing which brought the magic. In any case, “Prophecy” was powerful enough to be banned on Jamaican radio. It is easily one of the most haunting mid ’70s reggae songs from a female vocalist (or a male even), signaling a modern, militant and even urban approach to the medium not seen again until the rise of Black Uhuru. Bassline runs deep. God speed on your journey, Sister Faybiene.