Castafari was born May 28th, 1977 to Mother Eunice Peterkin Collins and father Lance Collins, in Falmouth hospital in Trelawney Jamaica WI. Castafari was named Andre Owaldo Collins and grew up in Dumfries Saint James, Jamaica WI. He has three siblings, Raymond, Hugh, and Celia whom all had Nurse Clarke as their mid-wife. Raised by his mother until Castafari age 6, when she migrated to United States in pursued for more opportunities and resources to support four children. Nurse Clarke was the community nurse for the district and the greater part of St. James. His mother was the main source and reference of love, moral, spiritual strength and life. His aunties and uncles and grandparents shaped his dynamic life; and when his mother migrated to live and work in the United States in the early 1980’s, Nurse Clarke, neighbor and confidant played a symbolic role in Castafari’s upbringing as a “mother”. She showed him how to be a man, shopping as they went to the market, house choirs, listen rebel music, and reason about various life joys and its exploits. In 2009 Nurse Clarke passed away, God bless her soul Castafari stated how it was a true blessing to spend his youth with her and her family. Childhood development was shaped from going to school in Montego Bay and countryside living adventure. His early schooling began at Catherine hall primary, Wakefield Primary the move unto high school at Herbert Morrison Comprehensive.
Castafari’s exposure to music began prior to his understanding about organized sounds. Castafari’s father was known and admired as a smooth singer in the Church (that’s how he captivated his wife attention), and He and Jimmy Cliff would serenade the members of the Somerton Community together then Jimmy Cliff went to Kingston build upon his talent and launched build his monument. He never learned all this until he was in High school and saw the uplifting energy bubbling from the music room. I could not believe the quality and found it astounding that the music was being played by students “ Dem youth yah bad!” Casta found his love and knew immediately he had to be a part of this society. Mr. Mathews music room was the only class that pupil miss other classes, return afterschool and exercised free will to harness talent and skill. Casta thought he had neither in comparison to his peers who “owned the instruments” and played popular reggae hit rhythms after-school. The music was so rich and so free coming out various coordinated instruments. He saw the harmonic communication between teacher and students so he became one of them and pick up the trombone. He played evenings afterschool until he ran out of excuses as to why he kept missing the bus home to get home. His family is a heavy church going Christians and they cultivate the land for food, so there was lot of work and very little leisure time for self-development. Most of his leisure time was spent with grandparent in Somerton St James where he acquired most his cultural expressions and edge. High school was an outlet where I learned city levity, Garrison life the various sub-cultures within the Jamaican Culture. A Montego Bay city raised individuals may speak the same language (patois) and eat the same foods (rich and peas and chicken with Carrot Juice), and go to Sunday worship as say a Clarendonian, or one from Westmoreland; however, within those communities and throughout the island, you have the Rastafarian community with a complete different Jamaican experience. Side by side the two grow and all that connect them is the debate of life essential, food, medicine, herbs, music, social and cultural awareness and direction. One’s religion upbringing is a major influence on the individuals’ Jamaican experience. Castafari was exposed early through early interaction selling fruits and vegetable as a young hustler in the market. People are more alike than ever knew, what separates them are their decisions, “there is good and bad in everyone’. Working at Hometown supermarket then at Family Supermarket on Barnet Street in order to help minimize the struggle tightened up the few gaps, I learned accountability. Being able to purchase his first “Walkman” was an early goal that came to light from his relentless passion and love for reggae music. Thou this my appear to be obscure, but reggae music was taboo to most of my Christian family. Music was always his refuge, strength and authentic measure of the Jamaican life journey and struggle. Coming to America, the movie was one of the first movies he saw one day at a friend’s home in the Garrison. Life changing, as he received assurance of greatness within heritage and motherland. That movie was an eye opener and a redemption of faith. Growing up in the land of sunshine blue sky’s, fertile soil, assorted variety of fruits and vegetable, many rivers and springs, mountainous range, white sand, dynamic proud people, Castafari’s childhood was an adventure.
While growing up in a Christian home, all Reggae music was looked upon as forbidden music. However, reggae music found its way into my heart and soul as a youth and he would hide and played his favorites Black Huru, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Papa San, Wolf Man, Free I, and Lieutenant Stichie, they were artists who introduced extreme measures, styles and flavor that attracted him to this elevating vibration. Their creativity, edgy material and risky content challenged the Jamaican culture and norms of the western world. Music was always around him, in the streets, school, playgrounds, even at night as he rested his head, he could feel the vibration of neighbors sound systems vibrating the bedroom window.
The climate changed drastically for him when “one sunny day became cold”; Castafari migrated along with his family to live in the United States. It was a cold day in March 16, 1992 his mother returned to Jamaica after 8 years apart, to reunite and reside in Boston. Unity is strength and God first and his family. His music journey continue non the less as his realization other greats from Jamaica such as Bob Marley Gregory Isaacs Denis Brown, Sugar Minot, Super Cat, Shabba Ranks, Buru Banton to name a few artist, made waves and elevated standard in music throughout the US and the world. For such great energy he remains endeated to the Life giver and grateful to all loyal and royal musician who represent truth and justice and whole up the banner of the Almighty Jah in their musical craft.
Even though the climate and cultural shift was happening in a new territory, luckily he had his older bother Raymond who was young wonder and fabulous singer. Castafari and his older brother got jobs together, and worked and bought vinyl record every weekend, to keep up with new release and use the versions to rehearse. They made friend and musical family with like interest, which made it easier to gather equipment; until they were able to put together a sound in their mother’s attic.
Strongly following in the footsteps of Jamaican Reggae legends, Castafari first started performing at the tender age of 8 years old and professionally at the age of 14. With efforts to gain more network in the musical community, Castafari ventured into Kingston, frequented visited studios to get the industry assistance to help his development. Shops like Big Yard, Mixing lab, Arrows studio, Network lab, and other studio provides industry reference. We books the best studios to assure quailty they were learning the recording production process, dats and buying 24 inch tape to store their works. Castafari’s first major performance and most memorable was in 1997 at a large concert in Hartford, Connecticut where he supported head liners Busta Rhymes, Beenie Man and many other artists. During those years he was filled with motivation while playing on shows with various artists like Beres Hammond, Half Pint, Elephant man, Baby Sham, Junior Reid, Anthony B and Capleton, Movado. His name Castafari came from Nurse calling Casta and H.I.M name “fari” came from His Imperial Majesty Hale Selassie the First concurring lion of the tribe of Judah, elect of God. Many social friends have always made reference to him as the King of King and lord of lords and he considers this to be a great honor.
In effort to gain more clarity of the world and gain more understanding of society, Castafari enrolled into the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1994 and graduated 1999 with a degree in Communications and Theatre Arts. During his tenure he kept performing and entertaining his peers and gained fans around New England in live shows sponsored by university, staff and other promoter with similar appreciation for the art. At that time ones and ones would call I “Stumpy” his first nickname as a youth in Dumfries. Throughout my growth process of my musical talent my eldest brother was my inspiration and he was my biggest supporter. Before he past in 2001, we were close and I know this was due to the fact we both love music and we shared ideas, space and vibes. The lost of my brother push me into accomplishing most of my goal, due to urgency to see his brothers dreams come to life.
As a self-proclaimed thinker, producer, artist, songwriter and entrepreneur he has unleashed the singles “They Don’t Like It”, ” Up before sunrise “, “Steal My Joy” and in 2011 released his debut “Just Life”. Lyrically, Castafari has the strength of a lion and pace of a cheetah he goes head on with any project he puts his mind to. Not only is Castafari interested in personal growth but also he’s deeply interested in his community.
Castafari has expanded his visions with a self-owned recording studio known as Hit Quarters Studios in Boston. Using this platform he launched his own musical website www.castafarimusic.com, where you can be updated with latest and greatest works. He has created a place where inner city youths can develop creatively and make their musical dreams come true. His highly anticipated first studio album is expected to drop in the fall. Castafari is travels around the world to promote Jah music and share his talent, perspective through his performance.