Life Lessons from Park City's Rastaman
You might recognize Errol Grant as the bright-eyed, dread-headed guy behind the deli counter at Whole Foods, singing out loud and smiling wide as he serves his customers. Or you may have seen him belting out tunes as lead singer in the local reggae band, Patwa (named for the language spoken in his native Jamaica), inviting kids up on stage to join him in song. Here he talks to Park City Magazine about music, life, and the childhood lesson he still lives by.
I love my island. My childhood was a glory time. I had a role model who taught me respect for myself and others. He taught me love. As kids, we would go into the green woods and take what we wanted: sugar cane, mangos, coconut. Nobody told us we couldn’t touch it. But the island was bad with civil war, government corruption, and extreme poverty. There was so much love and hatred at the same time. Jamaicans are a loving, loving people. I think we turn against each other because we don’t have enough work, education, or industry. It makes me cry—it’s so sad. I have not been back since I left in 1984.
I came to America looking for a better life for me, my wife, and our kids. When I first came here I lived in New York City. I performed as a rapping DJ at parties and nightclubs. I love America. Here there is room for opportunity and no room for hatred. When you can put food on your table, why would you hate anyone? So many people stand for equal rights in this country and want to live in love. This country gives me great peace of mind.
We moved to Park City when my wife got a job as a nanny here in 2005. I found my band from going up to Main Street to listen to music. Patwa has been together for six years, and its members are a mix of people from all walks of life. Italian, American, English, Jamaican—we are a family. I write some of Patwa’s original songs. My inspiration comes from hiking in Park City’s beautiful mountains, sitting down with the sun beaming down on me, writing a poem, and then turning it into music. I grew up to know reggae, but I love all genres. Music is music.
When I’m performing, I feel like I bring the audience into a room, where everybody is all together. Where it’s all peace and love. Where would I call that place? I don’t have a name to call it. It’s not heaven. It’s bigger than heaven. That’s where I go. I go away with my audience. I don’t think I’m even singing to them when I perform my music; it’s more like we’re talking to each other. The energy comes from them.
I’m in love with people. This world is big enough, but what would it be without all of us in it? There is no hate in my bones for anyone. Park City is a great place, and I’m happy to be part of it. I hope what I do is enough.
The Patwa Reggae Band performs this summer/fall at the Park City SUP Festival (at the Jordanelle Reservoir) on June 24, at The Notch Pub (2392 E Mirror Lake Highway, Samak) on June 24 and August 19, at the Newpark Amphitheater on July 6, at The Spur Bar & Grill (352 Main St) on July 7, at the Park Silly Sunday Market on July 16, and at the Christian Center’s Hike for Hunger event (at Deer Valley Resort) on September 9. For details, visit thepatwareggaeband.com.