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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

To the Foundation

  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Apr
To the Foundation
Sounds like … rootsy reggae with elements of pop, dancehall, and jazz incorporated throughout to give it a modern flair.At a glance … while devout reggae fans might balk at Christafari's modern, multi-faceted approach, Christafari crafts enjoyable songs that uniquely and boldly proclaim their Christ-centered message.Track Listing Freedom Step
Hunger & Starvation/Satisfy My Soul
Fear Not
Never Give In
Eternal Reverberations
The Prodigal
My Defender
Taking Over
To the Foundation
Be True
Too Many Cannibals
Triumphal Entry

Though it's probably not exactly what pioneers of reggae had in mind when they first crafted their laidback, peace-oriented grooves years ago, the genre has experienced a revival (at least in part) thanks to Top 40 radio singles from the likes of Shaggy, Black Eyed Peas, and Gwen Stefani. But back in the early '90s, long before those acts were household names, Christafari was on the scene, making reggae accessible to the masses by combining their bass-heavy sounds with pop, dance, and even some jazz. The fact that their artistry stems from purposeful ministry to Caribbean audiences is all the more impressive, considering that Mark Mohr and company do it so well.

Following in the tradition of previous outings, the songs on To The Foundation are as eclectic as ever, serving up just enough reggae to be labeled as such without alienating fans of pop music in the process. While a little more rootsy than more slickly produced counterparts, To the Foundation kicks the celebration off in fine fashion with the joyful opener "Freedom Step," driven by a gorgeous array of horns and a melody with that timeless Bob Marley quality, yet all delivered with a decidedly redemptive spin.

And the fun's just starting with a total of 15 tracks. "Hunger & Starvation/Satisfy My Soul" is buoyant and thoughtful, offering an always-pertinent reminder that emptiness is inevitable if we're not living to serve God. And atypical for the reggae genre, solid biblical teaching abounds throughout, particularly "The Prodigal," "My Defender" and "Be True," three of the album's best tracks not just sonically, but also lyrically as Christafari boldly proclaims its beliefs without resorting to clichés.

An album as long as this is bound to drag in spots (see "Nairobi" and "Too Many Cannibals"), but overall To The Foundation manages to offer consistent style and substance. Considering that there's usually at least three years between their albums, it goes to show that some things are worth waiting for, Christafari included.

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