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Onyinye
Artist: Avion Blackman
Label: Lion of Zion Entertainment
Length: 13 tracks
  
Do you remember that special feeling inside that you experienced the first time you realized you were attracted to that special guy or girl? Avion Blackmanís "I Love You Father" from her album Onyinye sweeps you off your feet in much the same way. It is a special song that is easy to get caught up in and comes from the lips of a fresh young artist who promises to get even better.
 
The press releases compare Blackman to Norah Jones and Sade however she is much closer to the later than the former. Even on this debut CD you see more vocal versatility than is often the case with Jones.
 
The CD subtly fuses strong jazz overtones, world music and reggae with simple, yet thoughtful lyrics and a soulful voice. Producer Mark Mohr (Blackmanís husband) weaves a tapestry of flutes, electric and acoustic guitars, percussion, saxophone, keys, piano, mandolin, violin, cello, synthesizer and the list just goes on into unbelievable tunes. As the instruments meld into a kaleidoscope of gentle whispering tunes you allow yourself to become enveloped in their relaxing ambience. 
 
In the Igbo language Onyinye means gift, with songs like the aforementioned I Love You Father, the title track Onyinye, Blue and Youíll Return this CD is a gift not only to the Christian music scene but to the entire music world.
 
Perhaps we shouldnít be surprised that the album bears sonic reminders of Blackmanís roots, after all she grew up as the daughter of Lord Shorty (Ras Shorty I), credited for founding Soca and Jamoo music, and spent much of her adolescence deep in the jungles of Trinidad. 
 
_Onyinye_ is dedicated to the memory of April Blackman, Avionís older sister who passed away at the age of twenty. Four of the songs from the CD were penned by April, including the beautiful prayerful "Show Me" with lyrics that petition the almighty to mould us into a vessel worthy of bearing his name.
 
Avion Blackman appears as the bassist on her own album and Mohr guests as a vocalist. North America first got a good look at Blackman as the bass player and lead vocalist with Mohrís band Christafari and really grabbed listeners with her vocals on "Hiding Place" and "My Sustenance" from the groupís CD Gravity.
 
I particularly liked the lyrics of the second track _Onyinye_ which is a curious mix of Island tempos and pop beats.   
You have the freedom
Freedom of expression
So use this freedom
To express your love 
If you enjoy reggae music you will love the fourth track, "I Thank You Lord," penned by Mohr and sung by Blackman. The song also highlights the effortless vocal ability of Blackman. I am sure she worked hard to complete this project with Lion of Zion Entertainment but through much of this album you get the impression she barely broke a sweat while infusing life to these lyrics.
 
The most creative song on Onyinye is "Blue" combining great jazz, soulful vocals­that would have rivaled Diana Ross and Anita Baker at their peak, with techno overtones and Mohrís incredible voice providing some cool vocal support. Ladies you will want to listen to this song just for his voice.
 
If you only have even money to buy one CD over the next month make it this one, you wonít be disappointed.
 
By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved

This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague.

Joe Montague is a  freelance Christian journalist / photographer who has been published in a variety of community, daily and Christian newspapers coast to coast in Canada and the United States.  Joe Montague's ministry of journalism is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven far too early at the age of 18. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
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