When I received this invitation, I was not aware about the band, Christafari. What I know is that it is a reggae band, since they have dreadlocks and they look like Jamaicans. Well, that was just a first impression, but I learned a lot when I went to the party and came across with the band members.
We decided to go to the venue at the earliest possible time, since I personally want to sit on the front for me to get a clearer view of the band for my blog photos. And I also don’t want to miss anything when the show starts.
This is how it looks like when we arrived. They are doing some system testing on the stage, some guest arrived early, and everything seemed to be ready.
And this is the view opposite the stage. The La Vie Parisienne shop is open for people who want to order food and drink and at the same time enjoy the concert.
There is a beer station at the back for the guest to order and they were attended by the lovely and smiling La Maison Rose ladies.
Here I am trying to pose near the beer station.
This is how the stage looks like. Alliance Francaise de Cebu made this event possible and Light Bulb is the sponsor for the lighting and sound system.
I was with my best friend Aisa for this event. She has been my constant companion with everything, and we call each other partners in crime.
This is Boy Lingin, he’s in-charged for the Christafari Merchandise for their Philippine tour. He has been very helpful about my inquiries regarding Christafari, and to be honest, I was quite amazed by what I knew about the band.
These are the bands merchandise:
The black shirt is the Christafari shirt while the white one is the Yeshua shirt for Avion Blackman, the female lead vocalist of the band.
These are the albums that were released since they started as a band. The latest is the Christafari: Reggae Worship, a Roots Revival on the farthest right. There is also Christafari: No Compromise and Christafari Gravity. The other albums are the solo albums of Avion Blackman and Solomon Jabby. Their genre is Gospel Reggae. I was surprised that there is a genre called Gospel Reggae. I knew Hillsong United as the band who sings gospel songs, the Kolohe Kai band and of course Bob Marley for reggae since they are my favorites, but to put two genre in one? That’s quite new to me.
Rastafarian and Christafarian fanatics are lining up to buy their merchandise.
Budoy is also a reggae artist from Cebu that rose to fame when he joined Pinoy Big Brother: Celebrity Edition back in 2006. On this day, he is with his lovely friends Noev Mendoza and Ricca Arambolo.
Enjoying the show is the Alliance Francaise de Cebu working force Max Brillanceau, Elise Robilliart, Alice Pasquier, Ludwig Kapfer, Hanski Garcia (Ludwig’s girlfriend) and Charlene Virlouvet.
Before the show started local reggae performers entertained the guests.
This is Angelica Valera, the Project Manager of Alliance Francaise de Cebu. She is one of the people behind the success of this event. She is also very hands on for all nitty-gritty details for the entire event. We had been exchanging emails in the past and she has been very professional and nice.
With me is the pretty Sophie Dumain, who still looks gorgeous under her spectacles. I was talking to her for a bit, since she can’t stay the whole night because she still has a class to attend. Sophie is one of the French teachers of Alliance Francaise de Cebu.
Here comes the life of the show being introduced. Mark Mohr took the stage along with the other band members.
When the band stated singing, people started piling up next to the stage that I could no longer see and take pictures of the band, given my height of 5’0 with 4 inches heels, doesn’t seem to be enough for me to get a glimpse of the band. I made my way by squeezing myself in the excited crowd.
I would be really honest that I was mesmerized by the sound of their voices. It’s like angels came down from the heavens to sing me a song. I particularly loved Avion Blackman’s voice cos every time she sings, it makes me shiver. Listening to gospel reggae is like listening to the Saint Bob Marley because the lyric of the song goes to worshiping god.
I was blown away when they sang “He is Greater than I”. It has the reggae beat with a very uplifting gospel lyrics. People are singing along with them. I was so surprised because this is the first time I heard the song yet people knows it from the heart. It caused me goose bumps coz it’s like I am lifted up to the lord. This is very inspiring and the verse that moved me is:
“Well God is greater than your trials
And greater than your fears
Just cast on him your sorrows
He’ll wipe away your tears”
Some of the songs that I liked are “How Great is Our God”, “Hosanna”, and “Everlasting God”. It was so nice that I had to download the songs when I got home. The message captivated my heart, cos I know that we do have ups and downs and feel like quitting because we can no longer endure life challenges, but their song inspired and uplifted our spirits. It’s like giving hope at the most challenging time of your life. And you do not have to go through all the dramas with sad gospel songs since they deliver it through reggae.
This is Avion Blackman and at the back is Mark Mohr. They are real life husband and wife. They are a perfect combination under one team. Their adorable little baby girl Ziza was with them during the concert and cries when his father left to go back to the stage.
It’s really nice to know this band. They are not all Americans, but they are united through their music. Different colors, different voices, different races, but are joined together with their love of god and reggae.
The band members:
This is Mark Mohr. He is the founder of Christafari. His story is very inspiring because he was once a lost boy, but found his way to god and studied at a Bible Institute and became a pastor. He is an advocate of beating drug addiction. He is married to another band member Avion Blackman.
This is Avion Blackman. She was born in Trinidad and Tobago. I so love her voice. It is very soulful and soothing. She is one of the lead vocalist and married to Mark Mohr.
This is Jacquie Gavira and behind her is her husband Solomon Jabby. It’s really nice to know that there are two pairs of couple in this band. Jacquie plays the saxophone while Solomon plays bass/guitar. Jacquie is from Bogota, Columbia, while Solomon is from the USA. They might come from different race and nationalities but they are bonded by love, god and reggae. How amazing is that?
This is Dyna. She is from New Caledonia. She has a very powerful voice and because of that she was asked to join the band back in 2012. She was a Christafari fan when she was young and it’s a dream come true that she is now part of the band. It was also mentioned that she was once a fanatic of god but drifted away after her musical success. But she’s now back and shares her love of god through music.
This is Obie Obien. I am proud to say that he was born in Manila from Filipino parents. He is the lead guitarist of the band.
The guy in drums is Tyrone Rudulf and has been a member of Christafari since 2008. The guy beside him is Justin Nalimu. He plays the keyboards and he is legally blind. He could play the keyboards better than anyone else. I was so amazed of the overflowing talent. Indeed god has always been fair. I dreamt of becoming a pianist and when I saw him, he became an inspiration to me.
Here goes the crazy crowd!
I was so amazed with this people. They are a fan of god and reggae. They love Christafari so much that they can sing the whole song with the band. This concert becomes a religious worshiping ground. Christafari was able to deliver god’s word through their song. When Mark Mohr told them to raise their hands, they did it all together.
This is my favorite part. This is when Mark Mohr told them to get down and down, and then jump. I was not able to capture the jump, but I felt the connection between the audience and the band.
This show is pretty amazing and I am sure, just like me, everyone enjoyed the show.
Here I am with Mark Mohr. I felt so lucky to have a photo with him. He is so nice that when I asked him for a photo, he easily honored my request.
Left to right: Quentin Secleppe, David Masterson, Max Brillanceau, Alice Pasquier, Elise Robilliart and me.
Hanski Garcia and Keltoum Harmouz
Here are the other Reggae merchandise that was displayed near the exit. So cool for all reggae fans!
This show was a blast. Filipino fans will surely miss Christafari!