They are not what they seem.The dreadlocks. The bright colors.
The slow, easy, real smooth kind of tropical jive that makes you want to sit on a beach at sunset and relax your mind all day long. Christafari embodies every aesthetic trait of reggae, a genre of music usually known for its promotion of marijuana and the rastafarian lifestyle.
But they are of their own strain. "We take what we like out of the music and we use it to glorify God," said lead singer Mark Mohr.
Christafari is one of few reggae bands that promotes a connection with God and maintaining Christian values, and does so around the world. They have played for the president of the United States, they have played at the Olympics and they have traveled around the globe filling stadiums with thousands of fans. On Saturday, they played a free concert at Brookside Park in Farmington. Though the crowd was humble, the band — in traditional reggae style — filled the air with good vibes and good energy. The messages, however, were not traditionally rasta, centering more on reading scripture, speaking with Christ, and sharing the faith. "We definitely get stereotyped," said Mohr, sporting long dreadlocks and a big grin. Though Mohr used to be the man people likely still guess him to be, he changed about 22 years ago when he started the band. An encounter with God drove him to begin the band after years of drug addiction.
"At that time I was a punk that had run away from home, living from party to party," said Mohr, who explained his phase as "faking the funk."But the sound of Christafari on Saturday indicated the change that occurred in Mohr years ago. The beats were deep, the voices elated and the sound unified — making it apparent why they were nominated for a Grammy award for best reggae album in 2007.
"I listen to the songs God gives me," Mohr said.
Many of the members have their own offshoot projects too, deviating from the reggae tunes. But the band strives to "mess with" some of the typical worship songs that are out there, and they stray from what is typically heard on any Christian radio station.
"We draw from the fringe of both worlds," said Mohr of their hybrid fan base of reggae-lovers and God-lovers.
But fans are not usually both — at least, until they hear Christafari, as was apparent on Saturday.
"I am always open to something new," said 13-year-old Cecilia McAfee, who texted 150 people on Saturday, hoping to draw in a larger audience for the band.
Neither her nor her cousin, 17-year-old Desireé Stinemetze, had listened to reggae music before attending the concert.
But the band made the best of the situation, a privately organized event funded by local churches and community businesses. They had crowd surfing, water guns, and lots of real cool, super smooth, relaxed-on-the-lawn, loving-the-sun dancing.
source : the daily times (jenny kane)
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