Few groups better captured the heart and soul of roots reggae than the Abyssinians; the vocal trio's heavenly close harmonies, dark melodies, and Rastafarian themes, all delivered with a deep spiritual feeling, were instrumental in defining and refining the genre. Bernard Collins and Donald Manning were longtime friends, and neither initially planned a career in music. That all changed one night in 1968, when during a creative burst, the pair composed "Satta Massa Gana" (also spelled "Satta Amassa Gana"). Proof of their Rastafarian devotion is found in the title, which is Amharic for "give thanks and praise", Amharic being the language of Ethiopia. The song itself was inspired by a Carlton & His Shoes B-side, "Happy Land." Carlton himself was Manning's brother, and a second sibling, Lynford, also sang with the Shoes. In any case, Collins ...
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