DAVID: Can you tell me anything about the six songs that were never issued?
AURA: There were a couple of love songs, a song that was inspired by someone that I really liked a lot in Jamaica, which was an impossible situation. We did a beautiful arrangement for that one. It was a mellow, more or less lover's rock, but with the Black Ark sound.
We did "Haposamane" which is a Swahili song of thanks to God for Nature, the mountains and the animals. It's a Kenyan song, a beautiful song. Like I said, that was one of the African songs that we did to reggae, we were one of the first to actually do that.
The second one was "Malaika", with the heavy Black Ark roots reggae sound.
There was a song that I wrote with Pamela Reed, one of the songs we co-wrote that we managed to get on that record, before she decided she shouldn't put anything out and would keep it for her own thing. It was called "Get Up Off of Your Seat" or "Let's Move". It was a really up tempo sort of rock-reggae. It was really nice, with Pamela's black American sort of r-'n'-b influence in it.
Besides 'Full Experience', it would have been another strong single. Really, that was such a heavy album.
Because of greed and because of trying to be slick, we all lost in the end. I'm sure that, if they had let it happen, we would have all gottten something that we could have really did a great thing with and took reggae on another level.
Eventually we were going to do mixed albums. Our idea was to use the different musics in the different parts of the diaspora. But our first album, the choice of the rhythm was reggae.
DAVID: Are you still in contact with the other two singers?
AURA: No. I stayed in touch with Pamela Reed because she's from the States and we both went back to the States. She had a child with a Jamaican who was working in New York, so she was living in Brooklyn. Even now, I'm still in touch with her. She's back in the South, doing a lot of work. She works at the colleges. Besides her classes, she gives reggae dance lessons and in her shows, too, she has reggae pieces.
It has influenced all of our lives ... the problem is, my musix covers a wide sphere, a lot of producers can't deal with me. I refuse to be intimidated by that, which is why I don't have much music out. People keep telling me, "You are an African artist, you should do African Music". To me, African music is all over the world now. Reggae music is part of African music, r-'n'-b is part of African music, jazz is part of African music and my life experience is all those musics. It's so frustating, because in order for me to work the way I'd like to work, I have to get a good album out.
When I came to France, I came with a market wich is too old now, which is why I'm trying to get a new one. Blue Moon is willing to do an album with me, but I'm not too confident with Blue Moon ... there was no financial arrangement.
I did another single called "Azania". With that one, I don't know why, I never got any royalties. I haven't gotten anything for that, I got something like 2000 francs for the studio session but nothing else! So even though he's the only one right now, who will do an album with me, I would rather not do it right now. I don't mind a 45, but I would shoot him if I have to lose another album! I mean, after "Full Experience", I'm not ready for another trip like that.
Getting back to Lee Perry, after not seeing Lee since that period of '77, like early '78, I saw Lee again at l'Elysée Montmartre.
I had been to the Black Ark after Lee left, in 1980-81. There was no more studio, but there was "Pipecock Jackxon", there was writing all over the wall! At first, I thought it was wallpaper, I mean, the whole wall was written on. He's incredible, you know. You have to have a lot of discipline to be able to do that. He is really one of the geniuses of our time, I must say. I really have a lot of love and respect for him.
I heard he was going to be at l'Elysée Montmartre, so I went to see the show (the first of two nights). It was a great night, I was totally knocked out by the show. He had a wonderfull rhythm section. The thing that blew my mind was the two dancers he had with him. That was the first time I saw a reggae group use the women not only to do the back up, but sexy dancers doing reggae in front, I said to myself, even now, he's still an innovator.
With all the shit that has gone on, all these guys that have passed and all these ego trips, Lee Perry, after his disappointment with the whole scene ... I can understand Lee, because he is a Pisces. I can understand Lee's madness because I have that in me, but I'm too disciplined I guess, or too repressed; I can't let it out like he does. But I understand it.
We got along well too, because the first time I saw him in London, he says to me "You look just like my daughter" and it's true. When I got to Jamaica, his youngest daughter, we have the same face! She looked like I did when I was at her age.
I know I'm going to meet Lee again, but I'm not setting it up. I'm not planning anything. I'd love to run into him the same way we ran into each other the first time, at Island records.