Ijahman Levi

Ijahman Levi ( born 1946 in Manchester Parish, Jamaica as Trevor Sutherland ) is a roots-reggae musician. His debut album, Haile I Hymn was released in 1978 under the label Iceland Records. His nickname Ijahman Levi he received after he converted to the Rastafari movement, as he sat 1972-1974 in prison. With his works, he spread both the Rastafari movement, as well as the Twelve Tribes of Israel doctrine.


Levi became a university entrance qualification in Kingston. There, the vocal teacher, Joe Higgs took as his mentor. His first single Red Eyes People he recorded with Stranger Cole for Duke Reid Productions at the age of 13 years. After the merger with his band vibration he regularly performed in the Q- Club. After the dissolution of his band he put together in 1966 Youth And Rudie And The Shell Shock, with which he performed together until the beginning of his solo career. He took in 1967 for Polydor, and in 1968 for Decca Records singles.

His career was interrupted when he was arrested in 1970 and sentenced to three years in prison. During this time he took the name of Ijahman Levi and wrote the play Jah Heavy Load. When Levi was released in 1974 from prison, he found refuge in the Rastafarian house in St. Agnes, the center of the Twelve Tribes of teaching. His time there was spent mainly with intensive Bible study. In 1975, he took on Jah Heavy Load for the album Man From Warika Rico Rodrigues. This earned him a recording contract with Iceland Records. After the success of his first two albums, Haile I Hymn, and Are We A Warrior he founded in 1980 his own label Tree Roots. The following year he married his second wife, Madge. Levi is today still active as a musician, even in Germany, including at Summerjam Festival 2006 at Chiemsee Reggae Summer 2008 or the Reggaejam, 2012.


Ijahman Levi moves with his music, especially in the Conscious Reggae and Roots Reggae, both sub-genres of reggae. Above all, he was influenced by artists of the early- reggae like Peter Tosh. In his lyrics he sings mainly of his religion and the oppression of blacks.