Christafari mixes Christianity with reggae

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The idea of a band like Christafari is both simple and difficult to get the concept of. The simple part is the name and the idea behind it: Christian plus Rastafarian, equals Christafari. But the band’s long history and the many tours that they have undertaken to travel the globe with their unique message is a little more difficult to encapsulate for the purposes here.

Christafari is unique. It is a band that has inspired “a thousand bands worldwide,” according to founder and singer, Mark Mohr. That large number of bands who want to emulate the Christafari sound and approach to reggae also has an impact on Mohr and the rest of his band. “It’s pretty inspiring,” Mohr said of the cover bands.

Christafari has a new album out and in between trips to various corners of the globe, Mohr discussed his band and their purpose earlier this summer. The key things to take away from the Christafari experience is that the band is passionate about the faith they sing about, but they want audiences to have fun with the music.

Christafari’s new album, “Original Love”

“It’s more roots than other albums. More authentic reggae,” Mohr said of “Original Love.” The album is about God’s relationship to man. According to Mohr, “The whole album has the overarching theme of God’s love [despite human failures]. Before you failed, God loved you; He’s not mad at you; He’s madly in love with you.”

Mohr explained the band’s intent and the album in between tours. “Just got back from Central America where we reached three countries in three weeks,” Mohr said.

The band is known for their globetrotting, hardworking approach. The singer’s suggestion to audiences is laidback, though. “Enjoy!” he said. “Find a nice hammock! The music speaksĀ  for itself.”

Like a great deal of musicians, Christafari is no stranger to the art of making videos. “Last year we relased 12 music videos. We plan to do the same this year. With each song we record, I imagine an image we can marry to it,” Mohr explained.

The videos are shot in different countries because of all the traveling the band does, the various locales work out for the group.

About Christafari

The band formed in 1989, and is based in California. Mohr sings lead, his wife sings and plays bass. The band includes guitarists, a saxophone player and drummer. The band plays reggae, but also experiments with soca, a form Mohr’s father-in-law invented. Mohr explains, “It is the heartbeat of salsa and we use it to hype the crowd.”

Mohr’s trajectory as the lead singer of a Christian reggae band was not a simple one. While raised in a Christian household, he became a runaway, a drug dealer and user and made his way out of addiction and into Christianity.

On the group’s website, Mohr explained that one of his prayers was not to be “a missionary in a jungle in some Third World country.” But that is where the group is most needed. The band doesn’t just play music in their trips around the globe. They also meet the unmet needs of the communities they visit. The group has clothed children, provided food and simply interacted with those who needed it.

Christafari’s success

The band has been featured on CNN, The 700 Club, MTV, MTV Brazil, BET, and numerous other networks. Christafari is the first Gospel band to reach No. 1 on the Reggae Billboard Charts. They have had a total of five recordings on the Reggae Billboard Charts.

Mohr describes a Christafari show as “a wild ride.” The shows typically involve dancing, praising and squirt guns. “I give the gospel like Billy Graham would do, but in five minutes not 55,” Mohr explains.

Mohr has his sights set on doing a children’s album featuring his daughter. “If we can dream it, we can do it,” he says.

Christafari is currently on tour in Africa. Find out more about them atĀ http://Christafari.com

 

 

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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