Music Role Model ‘Ya Tafari’ – Happy Emancipation Day

Go Lean Commentary/Interview

Monday August 3, 2015 is Emancipation Day in all countries of the British Dominion. For the Caribbean this includes the current British Overseas Territories and current members of the (British) Commonwealth of Nations; defined as follows:

Overseas Territories Commonwealth States
Anguilla Antigua & Barbuda
Bermuda Bahamas
British Virgin Islands Barbados
Cayman Islands Belize
Montserrat Dominica
Turks & Caicos Guyana
Saint Kitts & Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent
Trinidad and Tobago

All of these countries memorialize the abolition of slavery in the British Empire on August 1, 1834 with a National Holiday on the First Monday of August. (This holiday is commonly referred to as August Monday). The focus of this commemoration is not slavery, but rather a celebration of Caribbean culture – accentuating the positive.

For those in the Caribbean Diaspora (US, Canada and the United Kingdom), the holiday does not go un-recognized … nor uncelebrated.

This is the case in Metropolitan Detroit, Michigan USA. The publishers of the book Go Lean…Caribbean are here to “observe and report” the turn-around and rebirth of the once-great-but-now-distressed City of Detroit. The book posits that trade with the Caribbean Diaspora can be better organized and fostered so as to better harvest economic benefits to the homeland. This point is well-evidenced in Southfield (Detroit suburb) with the Jamaican restaurant Fenton’s Jerk Chicken:
<<< See Appendix >>>

This establishment thrives in its community with a great tradition of quality food and Caribbean hospitality. But on Sunday, the eve of August Monday, this restaurant extended further with an Emancipation Day tribute/celebration for the public to consume. The main feature of this tribute was a One-Man Band, an elite and prolific Bahamian Recording Artist Ya Tafari. He is an award-winning composer and performer of Jazz, Latin, and Caribbean music. As a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist with a fan base stretching from Freeport, Bahamas to Detroit. This presentation was about music and the business of music, as it fostered an increase in sales for that one day at Fenton’s Jerk Chicken Restaurant. See VIDEO here:

VIDEO – Bahamian One-man Band Ya Tafari … at Fenton’s –

Performing on Sunday, August 2nd 2015 at Fenton’s Jamaican Restaurant in Southfield, Michigan

Artist Profile: YA TAFARI

Source: Online Music Retailing Website – Watchfire Music – The Trusted Destination for Inspirational Music; retrieved from:

Ya Tafari Photo 1

Ya Tafari is an author, composer, singer- songwriter, and poet who plays piano, guitar, and Latin percussion. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he lived in the Bahama Islands and was “adopted” by a family there, and now claims the Bahamas as his second home.

Although Ya Tafari started as a folk singer, the genres in which he composes and performs are varied. They include traditional jazz, spiritual jazz, Latin, Caribbean, folk, tropical, and new world music. Using his keyboards, he has become renowned as a “one-man orchestra.”

Ya Tafari is fond of and influenced by other artists from around the world: Brazil – Joao Gilberto, Cuba – Tito Puente, Jamaica – Bob Marley and Harry Belafonte, the Bahamas – Ronnie Butler, Canada – Joni Mitchell, the United States – John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Pharaoh Sanders.

His greatest love and influence is the Holy Bible , and the other Lost Books of God’s Word.


Yaqob Tafari Makuannen, a.k.a. YaTafari, an award-winning composer, author, and performer of Jazz, Latin, Caribbean, and Spiritual music, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and settled in Detroit, Michigan.

In Detroit, he received the Spirit of Detroit Award, and earned first place in the Renaissance Center Talent Contest two years in a row. He was presented awards by Chuck Gaidica, a local celebrity.

As an adult, he traveled to the Bahamas and adopted it as his second home. There he performed for the Governor General of the Bahamas and attended the Bahamian Parliament. His first recording contract was with G.B.I. Records and Television in Freeport, Bahamas, with Frank Penn, C.E.O. Thus, he is a Bahamian recording artist.

Ya Tafari has performed throughout Metropolitan Detroit and internationally. As music consultant for the African Heritage Center of the Detroit Public Schools, he hassperformed in DPS schools to audiences from pre-school to high School, introducing students and staff to different rhythms, musical instruments, and genres from the African Diaspora.

His greatest love is reading God’s word in the Holy Bible and Lost Books. His recent projects include a book, Man Woman & Spirit, and a recording of the Psalms of David to the original music of Ya Tafari.


Esoteric Jazz

Ya Tafari Photo 3

Esoteric sound is therapeutic and healing for the soul and spirit… for meditation and relaxation of body, mind, and spirit. It is a mystical transcendental mood.

Mystery Of The Sea

Ya Tafari Photo 4

No matter where you are…riding in a car, sitting in your home, walking, or laying down to sleep, “Mystery   of the Sea” will take you there and lift your spirits to another level. The sea speaks to us in its own way. Experience the mystery.

All Blue

Ya Tafari Photo 5

Why Blue? God chose the color Blue. The sky, the ocean, rage and calm, to cause people to remember to focus on right living. I thank God for blue. So, I used blue to focus on beautiful   sounds of music. All blue.


“Ya Tafari has a smooth, soothing, CD sound that sends you on vacation.” – Kevin P., Detroit, Michigan

“The Cherry Hill Stage was ablaze with the sounds of Caribbean Jazz performed by YATAFARI & THE AFRO PERCUSSIONS.” – The Dearborn Homecoming Committee, Michael A. Guido, Mayor – Dearborn, Michigan

“…Caribbean Recording Artist YaTafari, the JunkAnoo jazz java and calypso colorful butterfly, is electrifying, exciting, and a ’must see’ entertainer from Nassau, Bahamas.” – Gracie Cross, Ragggedy Girl Publishing Group

“…Mr. Makuannen presented a program here at McKinley (Elementary School) during our Cultural History Celebration. It was outstanding!…You can’t go wrong with this program.” – J. Korenowsky, Principal, Toledo Public Schools

“…A fun festive, and captivating entertainer who will warm hearts with a kaleidoscope of sound, color, and sweet musical beats.” – Mitali Chaudhery, Website Coordinator, Schoolcraft College International Institute (SCII)


Download Ya Tafari Music Now

Ya Tafari  Photo 2

In a structured interview, Ya Tafari made the following contributions to this discussion of the roadmap to elevate the Caribbean through music:

Bold = Author

You obviously love the Bahamas/Caribbean, why do you not live there?

I loved my time in Freeport (Bahamas 2nd City). I would love to settle there, but realistically the economic challenges are hard to overcome. I hope they would have a better economic reality there … in the future.

Where do you call home now?

I live here in the Greater Detroit area, in the Town of Novi. Despite not being “home” in the Bahamas, I have the assured comfort of being with my family here. I bring my love for my Bahamaland here to Detroit in my musical presentations.

What was your biggest performance ever?

I’ve had the pleasure of performing as a solo artist at the stage here in Detroit at the Eastern Market. I had a huge crowd completely captivated by my sound. They were into me, and I was into them. Good times!

What would you like to see different in the Bahamas in the next 5 years?

I would like to see that community more accepting of foreign influences, especially a fusion with Eastern/Oriental Music. I’ve incorporated a lot of the spirit of Yoga, Zen and New Age influences in my music and it serves me and my listening audience well. As the old adage goes: “Music does soothe the savage beast”.

What would you like to see different in the Bahamas in the next 10 years?

I would like to see the Bahamas open up the doors to all mankind. The society is not as tolerant of diverse people as they need to be. This is bigger than just music. If/when they do widen-out more, it will even improve their tourism product, by extending their embrace for all people.

What would you like to see different in the Bahamas in the next 20 years?

I would like to see the next generation of Bahamians not join the Diaspora. Of course, I want them to travel, and study, and engage foreign cultures and  then bring those experiences back home. That is an exciting prospect.

Where do you consider to be the best place on earth to live?

Italy! That culture is about enjoying life; they are concerned about more than just work, or making money. They strive to care for their people and lift everyone up. Despite the lack of economics though, I still find the Black communities around the world have a closer brotherhood. When a Black person sees another Black person while travelling abroad, they tend to acknowledge each others as brothers. That is inspiring. Yes, we can all do better.


Ya Tafari can be reached at:

This artist profile is a manifestation of the roadmap depicted in the book Go Lean…Caribbean, that music, food and culture can be accentuated to promote change in the Caribbean and within the Caribbean Diaspora abroad. Music can help make any location a better place to live, work and play.

This Go Lean commentary previously featured subjects related to developing the eco-systems of the music/show business, as sampled here: ‘We Built This City …’ on Music Forging Change: Music Moves People Broadway Musical ‘The Lion King’ Roars into History With its Impact Music Role Model Berry Gordy – No Town Like Motown Caribbean Music Man Bob Marley: The legend lives on!

This Go Lean roadmap calls for heavy-lifting to build up Caribbean communities, by shepherding important aspects of Caribbean life, beyond music and/or show business. In fact, the development roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean book focuses primarily on economic issues, but it recognizes that music, in its many genres can build up a nation, a city, and a community (Diaspora and local alike). Any difficult subject – like slavery, freedom and emancipation – can be more easily communicated if backed-up by a catchy melody and rhyming words. Yes, music can effect change and forge progress and elevation of society. The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The CU is designed to elevate the region’s economic, security and governing societal engines.

The Go Lean book posits that one person, despite their field of endeavor, can make a difference in the Caribbean, and its impact on the world; that there are many opportunities where one champion, one advocate, can elevate society. In this light, the book features 144 different advocacies, one specifically to Promote Music (Page 231). We need champions like Ya Tafari to promote the joys of Caribbean life, culture and music.

The Go Lean roadmap specifically encourages the region, to lean-in to elevate society with these specific community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to advance the music eco-systems:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – People Respond to Incentives in Predictable Ways Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – The Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius – Fostering Music and the Arts Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Intellectual Property Page 29
Community Ethos – Ways to Bridge the Digital Divide Page 31
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Turn-Around Page 33
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness – Promotion of Domestic Culture Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederate 30 Member-States Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Celebrate the Music, Sports, Art, People and Culture of the Caribbean Page 46
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Growing Economy to $800 Billion – Education Empowerments Page 70
Tactical – Separation-of-Powers – Educational Empowerment from Federation to Member-States Page 85
Implementation – Trade Mission Objectives Page 117
Planning – 10 Big Ideas for the Caribbean Region – Four Languages in   Unison Page 127
Planning – Ways to Improve Trade – Diaspora Trade Page 128
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better – Music/Media/Arts for better PLAY Page 131
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Communications Page 186
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Hollywood – Media Arts of the Caribbean to the World Page 202
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Diaspora Page 217
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Advocacy – Ways to Improve the Arts Page 230
Advocacy – Ways to Promote Music Page 231
Appendix – Job Creations – Music and Art Related Jobs: 12,600 Page 257
Appendix – 169 Caribbean Musical Genres for all 30 Member States Page 347

The quest to change the Caribbean is conceivable, believable and achievable. But it is more than just playing or listening to music; it is the business of music, and music’s ability to reflect change and effect change. This helps the heavy-lifting of forging permanent change in the region. The Go Lean roadmap will make the region a better place to live, work and play. From the outset, the book recognized the significance of music in the Caribbean change/empowering plan with these statements in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12 & 14):

xxi.  Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxxii.  Whereas the cultural arts and music of the region are germane to the quality of Caribbean life, and the international appreciation of Caribbean life, the Federation must implement the support systems to teach, encourage, incentivize, monetize and promote the related industries for arts and music in domestic and foreign markets. These endeavors will make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play.

The foregoing VIDEO explicitly depicted how the addition of music enhanced a Caribbean business establishment in the Detroit Diaspora community. Music can have that effect. It can make bad things good and good things better. It can be fun! While the Go Lean book describes the CU as a hallmark of a technocracy, with a commitment to efficiency and effectiveness, there is still a commitment to concepts of fun, such as music, arts, sports, film/media, heritage and culture.

This roadmap is a fully comprehensive plan with consideration to all aspects of Caribbean life. All stakeholders – residents and Diaspora – are hereby urged to lean-in to this roadmap.  🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix – Fenton’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken Restaurant – 28811 Northwestern Hwy, Southfield, Michigan, USA

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Ya Tafari Photo 7Ya Tafari Photo 8

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