The Black Madonna

A spectacular morning in the Swiss Alps. The sun emerges from behind white clouds and shines from a steely blue sky onto the lush green meadows where cows graze contentedly. The chiming of their bells echoes through the valley, dominated by the immense building of the monastery. People from all around the world make a pilgrimage to ask the Madonna of Einsiedeln for help and protection, especially because this Madonna and her Jesus are black.

Within view of the monastery lives a man. Strange objects are hanging in front of his garage: numerous mirrors, buckets full of water, painted stones, enigmatic sentences in large letters on the walls and windows. His beard is dyed violet, his hair red, green and yellow. A miraculous cap is on his head: covered with stars of David and crowns, mirrors and portraits of the last Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie, and himself…

The Lost Paradise

At a postcard-perfect beach, Jamaica: sunshine, blue sky, blue sea, the paradise on earth. Lee Perry grew up in utter poverty, at a time when Jamaica was still a colony of the British Empire. He left school early, unwilling to deal with a Victorian school system and discipline. Music and Church are the centerpieces of jamaican life in rural areas till today. Traditionally, Lee grew up with music, the only way for a young Jamaican to escape the endless cycle of poverty and criminality.

In Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, he soon emerged to be an independent producer and artist: His signature tunes “I am the Upsetter” and “Run For Cover” became a declaration of war against the dominating music producers in Jamaica and poetically, against the oppressors of the world.

History, Mystery & Prophecy

In the 1920s, a time, when the British Empire still held the half of the world as private property and the black people were still treated like slaves, the Jamaican businessman, author and prophet Marcus Garvey wrote that when a black king was crowned in Africa, the liberation of the black race would begin. When Ras Makkonen Tafari was crowned Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia in 1930, the Rastafari movement in Jamaica was born, worshiping the Emperor as their Living God. The black Messiah coming from the root of David, the line of King Salomon.

In 1962 Jamaica formally gained its independence and the island, in its enthusiasm, started looking for cultural identification. "I don't know who has sent him to me", Lee Perry tells us about his encounter with Bob Marley, "but what we did was a revolution, not a revolution to kill people, it was a spiritual revolution, against parasites and vampires, against the heads of governments and council of churches."

The Secrets of the Black Ark Studio

"I had the order to build my studio in my own backyard. The Black Ark had the duty to protect the original Jah soundtrack, music that came from far beyond, from a time without problems, a time when men and animals lived in peace, a time without greed and jealousy, before the original sin was committed." Lee Perry was virtually creating a theology of music: “Music as the Holy Ghost can do anything.”

The Black Ark Studio became the creative and spiritual center of Jamaica. What happened here really does enter the realm of the legendary and fabulous. Though many have tried, the way the unique sound was produced at the Black Ark cannot be explained.
But one morning, the legendary Black Ark Studio stood ablaze.

Living in Oblivion

Lee Perry found himself alone, without studio, without family, without friends. The temple has been dirtied, the movement been sold.

He fled to London, the London of the Eighties, of Margareth Thatcher. The heart of boundless capitalism. 

“I am a Madman”, he sings, “to come to cool the bad ones...” In order for the good to win, he had to understand the “ways of evil”. And he came for revenge...

I am the half that has never been told

In front of the Buckingham Palace, there is a lion of Judah, the symbol of the House of David, and crest of Haile Selassie. Are they the heirs of the throne of King Salomon? Are they selected from God and therefore legitimate to rule or even own the world?

“Jah Rastafari is the sun, the sun that shines”, says Lee Perry. “Good over evil, right over wrong. They always want to know who King Salomon is, because King Salomon has the key…”

Reborn as a Legend

Younger and younger generations are getting interested in discovering what this strange man is all about. Is he a magician? Or an actor?

“Our father in heaven, how great thou art!” he sings at one of his numerous shows. ”Children of the future, don’t believe what they say! Rastafari live!”

The Fulfilment of the Prophecy: The Battle Of Armageddon

One night, King Solomon had a strange dream: the sun, which warmed his palace and the temple with the holiest of holies every morning, rose over Jerusalem, but suddenly started to move further and further away, until it grew dark. Mercy fled the Holy City of Jerusalem and the temple...

Lee Perry leads us to a room which no-one has ever been allowed to enter before. This is where his 'secret spirit guide' lives. We are speechless. “I came here to fulfil the prophecy


Return to Einsiedeln

We take a closer look at the black statue in its splendid robe. She is surrounded by golden clouds and lightning flashes, and hearts, all in gold. “These are the arrows of wrath from our Lord that the Madonna turns into arrows of mercy... That's why people come here” says the priest of the monastery, “they ask for mercy...”