As long as I have been a part of the Baltimore poetry community, Jahiti Brownfish has been there with his easy going personality, warm spirit, and beautiful smile, strumming his guitar and singing with a voice blessed by angels. He has been a fixture on the scene for over 15 years. He started by writing poetry; he recently shared a photo of all his poetry journals before transitioning to singing and songwriting. His musical style is called “Reggae Soul,” a style described as a mix between Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, Richie Havens and Bob Dylan (borrowed from his bio).
A staple in the Baltimore music scene, my earliest memories of Jahiti are of him performing with his best friend, the late Derrick Jones, aka “OOH Brownfish,” as the duo “Brownfish.” The bond these two artists had with each other was more than that of just friends; they were brothers. They blended writing and voices effortlessly and made magic. There is no way I could write this article without including a shout out to OOH this video:
Jahiti as a solo artist is powerful; I’m used to hearing him in a room full of people so I never realized how clear and strong his voice is until I recorded him for a Grapevine promotional video. I was completely blown away! There is no better experience in a venue then hearing the beginning chords of “Daughter of the Most High” and hearing the entire audience sing right along with him. I have witnessed audience members brought to tears upon hearing this song for the first time.
Kelilah “Butterfly Free” Washington:
Have you ever heard the greatest love song ever written? No, truly! I’m talking about a song that makes you feel as good as Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” or Lenny Williams’ “Cause I Love You,” or Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You.” Well, I don’t think you have until you have heard Jahiti’s “Daughter of the Most High.” This brother and his guitar are…I can’t even express it into words but I’m going to try. It seems like he is just one with music, like it was his destiny. Watching him perform, I feel like he’s Michael Jackson and his guitar is the signature sparkling glove. Jahiti ain’t new to this; he is true to this in every which way, shape and form. He is one of the reasons Baltimore artists are some of my favorites to this day. He is the reason that I bought a guitar and have started to learn how to play; I want to make someone feel the way he made me feel the first time that I ever saw him perform. But it’s not just him as an artist; it’s the man behind the guitar. The first time I saw his “Daughter of the Most High” video, watching him interact with his wife and his daughter, it was just so beautiful. And so is his soul! I’m sure OOH watches over him every day and is just amazed at the fact that he is someone he called one of his best friends. Because of Jahiti I know now that I am a star, a daughter of the Most High. And I will not be wished upon by anyone less then who I deserve. Thank you, Jahiti!!!!!
I’ve often said that I know some extremely talented people and it’s a crying shame they don’t have recording deals, or the marketing machine that some with lessor talents have; Jahiti is one of those artists that needs to be world known!
Stepping from Behind the Microphone: Jahiti Brownfish
Sherri: Tell us more about what brought you to music and song writing.
Jahiti: Somewhere around 14-15 years old I started writing poems. Eventually writing to music took over that creative space.
Sherri: Tell the story of your first experience performing. (Include where, when, how you felt afterwards.)
Jahiti: I don’t remember.
This question would require a response better said than written.
Sherri: Your stage name is “Jahiti.” Why did you choose that name? What do you want the audience to know about you when they hear it?
Jahiti: Jahiti is my spiritual name. My name is embedded with a code that identifies me to my people.
Sherri: Who is your favorite writer?
Jahiti: Bell Hooks
Sherri: You have one hour to have a conversation with anyone living or deceased. Who would you choose? What would you want to ask them?
Jahiti: My great-grandfather, George Smith. Who are you? How much family history can you tell me?
Sherri: Your perfect concert: who are three acts, living or dead, you would like to see perform?
Jahiti: Bob Marley, James Brown & Jimmy Hendrix
Sherri: Tells us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
Jahiti: I have two Penn Relay medals.
Sherri: Do you have another creative outlet? If not, what is something you have always wanted to learn how to do?
Jahiti: I do these weird drawings every few years or so.
Sherri: [Borrowed from Inside the Actor’s Studio] If heaven exists, what do you want to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Jahiti: “I thought so.”
To learn more about Jahiti, purchase his music and see his performance calendar please visit Jahiti World.
Jahiti will be the first feature of 2015’s Heard Through the Grapevine. The “Reggae Soul” edition will be held on Friday January 9th at the new home of the Grapevine: Old Line Fine Wines, Spirits and Bistro, 11011 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705.
On Friday January 16, Jahiti features at The Bolton Hill Open Mic Series in Baltimore, MD.