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Music Review: Original Love by Christafari

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July 10, 2018
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Christafari - Your House (Official Music Video) Steel Pulse cover (Feat. Avion Blackman)
What A Beautiful Name - Christafari (Official Music Video) Hillsong Worship cover [Avion Blackman]

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£7.99
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£7.99 (amazon)

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CHRISTAFARI return with their latest studio album, “Original Love” (Lion of Zion Entertainment). After nearly three decades, CHRISTAFARI is the all-time top selling Gospel Reggae act and continues to be a driving force in world music. Their last 6 albums have debuted at #1 on the Billboard Reggae Chart. But the band considers themselves to be more than just musicians, but rather “musicianaries” (musical missionaries), spreading the message of hope and salvation globally to approximately 20 countries per year.

In 2016-2017, the band saw over 231,000 decisions for Christ at their outreach events. They are well on their way towards their goal of seeing one million decisions for Christ within the next decade.

Not only does the band travel the world proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ through reggae music, but they’ve also set out to be the hands and feet of Jesus. They try to find and fill a need in each country they visit, such as outreaches in trash cities and slums, serving at orphanages, feeding the hungry, clothing the poor and ministering to those whom Jesus called “the least of these.”

“CHRISTAFARI’s mission is simple,” says Mohr. “To go to the ends of the earth until all have heard, and until all have heard we’re not quitting.”

Editor review

1 reviews

Original Love by Christafari
Overall rating 
 
9.0
Vocals 
 
9.0
Lyrics 
 
9.0
Originality 
 
7.0
Value 
 
9.0
Personal Rating 
 
10.0
If you've never heard of Christafari then where have you been? Mark Mohr and company have been touring the world bringing a Gospel Reggae message to many countries of the world. My first experience of their music was their album "Soulfire" released way back in 1994, it was their second album following their "Reggae Worship Vol 1", and at the time my reggae exposure was the occasional tune that made its way into the charts. Since then Christafari have continued their mission to reach out to the world with their blend of Gospel presentation and reggae tunes and worship songs recast in a reggae style.

This latest album see's them doing all these things on one album showing that over the years the band line-up may have changed, the record labels may have changed, but the mission, vision and delivery remain the same. If you are familiar with Christafari's sound then you will find that through this album they never really stray far from their core, so you always know what you are going to get. There are brand new original songs on the album, such as "Original Love", the title track which contrasts God's love from creation onward with what we call love, but is most often love. Many bands shy away from Christianese and anything that sounds too religious but Christafari embrace it and the second track of the album is called "Wounded For Our Transgressions" which has the prominent lead vocals and some brilliant choral backing at points. There is a lot of scripture wrapped up in this track which is no bad thing and there are sections that are highlighted by Avion Blackman who has one of the purest voices in Christian music today.

"Surely Goodness" is another original track based on the verses from the end of Psalm 23, but looking at life's trials and difficult times. What I love about Christafari is that it feels authentic, they don't tone down the style to appeal to the mass market, as a listener from outside this culture you have to tune your ears to catch what is being sung about. The story that is sung about in "Aloha Ke Akua" is definitely worth a listen and is a warning that  is framed in the story of a Hawaiian native who brought Christianity to the islands, and how they no longer remember and serve the God their elders told them about.

In between these original tracks Christafari have continued to do what they have done for years, taking the worship songs of the day and putting them into a reggae style. On this album "Good, Good, Father" is the first to get the treatment and it works really well, despite having to change the timing of the song. The one that really works and may even be the best track on the album is the version of "What A Beautiful Name" from Hillsong. It benefits again from Avion's amazingly soft edged vocal and it just works so well, you really have to hear the song for yourself.

"Love Supreme" is not a cover version of the Robbie Williams track of the same name. Instead this is an all out praise and dedication song which classes God as our love supreme. "He Reigns" takes images from the book of Revelation and brings an amazing worship song out of the gathered people before the throne of God. This does have a different sound to things that have gone before and uses a spoken word reading to open the track up, the chorus sounds a bit like Newsboys old worship track of the same name.

Some church albums like to put a short thought about worship towards the end of an album and I quite often mention these as something that will get skipped. Well for this album Mark adds something, this time it is his own testimony. It's interesting that after so many albums that have been put out by the group he would choose to do this now. Having said that it is very interesting to listen to as he asks 'what is the difference?'

This is a great album put out from Mark and the team at Christafari. I have a huge respect for what they have achieved and continue to do within the Reggae and Church scenes respectively. The album does have that familiar feel, you know straight away that this is Christafari, but the songs, lyrics and vocals are different to what has gone before, even if the sounds are familiar.
RA

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