Christafari, Beauty for Ashes in ‘Unstoppable’ concert

Christafari was formed in 1990 in the US, and is centred on the personality of the founder, Mark Mohr, who, until the age of 17, was a self-professed Rastafarian.

Christafari, a Christian reggae band from the US, is already in Kigali, ahead of the ‘Unstoppable’ concert tomorrow, August 4.

The band jetted into the country on Wednesday evening for the concert, at which they will perform alongside local gospel band, Beauty for Ashes, the organisers of the show. The event will be hosted at Camp Kigali.

Christafari was formed in 1990 in the US, and is centred on the personality of the founder, Mark Mohr, who, until the age of 17, was a self-professed Rastafarian. Today, Mohr is an ordained religious minister in the US.

The band describes itself as “more than just musicians, but musicianaries (musical missionaries) touring the globe with messages of hope and salvation through their music”.

Some of their popular songs are; Hosanna, Our God, Here I am to worship, 10,000 reasons, How great is our God, and the 2018 release, What a beautiful name.

“I knew about Christafari because I’m a reggae fan myself, but one thing I really love and respect about them is that they use their stories and their backgrounds as a tool to preach the gospel. Some of them were drug addicts, and then they met with Christ and changed their lives, but continued to look the way they do so that they could reach out to the same people they once were,” revealed Olivier Kavutse, the lead vocalist of the Beauty for Ashes band.

“Unstoppable concert is an idea of what God’s vision looks like, that sometimes we can have our own plans, but God also has his own plan,” he added.

Kavutse explained that the ‘Unstoppable’ Concert comes at a time when the band was considering taking a break after seven years in the game.

“In the middle of all that, Christafari reached out to us. They said we want to come to Rwanda and Beauty for Ashes was recommended as people we can work with. After that I didn’t need any more answers from God. He had spoken. It’s a God-given opportunity to meet them because we are very like-minded; I hope that pastors and other conservative people will learn from them.”

He further revealed that the ‘Unstoppable’ Concert will mark the beginning of a new dawn for the band, Beauty for Ashes.

“According to the spiritual interpretation of numbers, seven is the number of completion, while eight is the number for new beginnings. To mark seven years of Beauty for Ashes in 2017, we had the ‘Renaissance’ concert and album launch, and so 2018 is a new beginning for Beauty for Ashes. That’s how I knew for sure that God wanted us to start something fresh and new, and that’s exactly what we will be presenting to people in this concert — brand new style of music, brand new everything.”

Formed in 1990, Christafari is not your usual gospel band, in that many of the band members spot long dreadlocks and tattoos, while their gospel music is heavily inspired by the Jamaican reggae sound.

The band easily stands out in gospel music circles with its unique blend of traditional roots and contemporary dancehall reggae, proclaiming a message of hope and salvation in their lyrics.

Although formed in 1990, the band only became full time musicians in 2012. Since then, they have toured more than 70 countries and held over 150 concerts.

The band is composed of men and women from various continents, countries, and cultures who share a love for reggae music and passion for evangelism.

“We are in many ways trying to bring people back to the centre, the focus. Reggae music started in the Christian church in Jamaica. So our goal is to bring it back to the foundation, which is the church. We’re Born Again Christians, so we’re all about Jesus,” explained Mark Mohr, the founder of Christafari when the band visited The New Times on Thursday afternoon.

Surprisingly, the band only learnt of Beauty for Ashes through a contact in Kenya where Christafari held their very first concert as a full band on African soil.

Entrance to the show is Rwf5,000 and Rwf10,000.