Your Gateway to Music and More from a Christian Perspective
Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
With a voice as smooth as
Sade’s and as soulful as Queen Latifah’s work on the Dana Owens Album,
Avion Blackman will leave you breathless. This soft spoken Trinidadian
along with producer husband Mark Mohr have created a debut album Onyinye
(Owe-neen-yay) that drifts seamlessly from ethereal to prayerful and back
to world beats. Mark, who fronts Christafari and owns the label Lion of
Zion Entertainment, joined Avion and I as we talked about her album, career
and musical influences.
And it’s heaven aboveThis space simply does not allow the room to discuss the often tragic life that was April Blackman’s. Her life came to a sudden end when she was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away within 24 hours. While listening to Avion sing her sister’s poetry, one is drawn to this Enoch-like woman of faith. Listening to Avion and Mark talk about April, one wonders if she knew that earth was only a temporary resting place and she would not be here for long.
This story, however, is not about the words of the late poetess but it is about Avion Blackman, a songwriter extraordinaire in her own right. It is also about a love story of a man who went to Trinidad to teach a reggae seminar and was introduced to his bride by a man named Don Juantrue story, but it would take too long to explain so we will keep you wondering.
At home in Trinidad, Blackman came from a musically gifted family and has 22 siblings. Giggling, Avion reassures you that they did not all live togetheronly 14 of them.
Originally, the family had lived in relative luxury inhabiting a home in the city of San Fernando while her father toured with his band. When Avion was four years old. her father converted to Christianity after experimenting with many world religions. Drastic changes were in store and he moved the family deep into the jungles of Trinidad. Their nearest neighbors were in the Indian village of Piparo, seven miles away. They inhabited a log cabin without windows, doors, electricity or plumbing. She describes her father as an extremist who seemed to abandon any concern he had for money. “Most of the time, we would live off the land,” she says. “It was exciting for me being able to do all of these things like picking mangoes off of trees.” Another turning point came in her father’s life when his entire band abandoned him while he was touring in Canada. At that point he decided to return home and commit himself to training his children how to sing and create music.
Music was an everyday part of Blackman’s life as her family often would sit in a circle singing harmonies while passing the guitar back and forth. “They have more talent in their pinky finger than I would ever have,” says Mohr, “I have to sit in the studio for hours or years to get something to sound right and it just flows from them.”
As if Blackman’s talent as a vocalist isn’t enough to blow you away, you have to almost coax out of this quietly modest lady the fact that she plays bass guitar, acoustic guitar, keys, percussion and then she says quite nonplussed, “nothing much really,” which prompted your correspondent to blurt out, “That sounds pretty talented to me.” Then again that is Avion Blackman, a talented singer, songwriter and musician not to be missed.
By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved
Joe Montague is an internationally
published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory
of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18.
All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.