Monday, April 18, 2011


Calling all musicians, producers and DJs...

Avion Blackman has just released the first single and video from her forthcoming album "Third World Girl." This single is now available for download on and iTunes and the video is currently creating a lot of buzz on YouTube:

In "Third World Girl," Avion sings about where she comes from, saying; "Don't forget where you're from." For the first time ever, we want to give you a chance to represent where you come from by remixing this song to your own personal sound/style.

Just click on the link below and you can download an audio file with the tempo, key and a vocal only version of the song. We're giving you free reign to make the song into whatever you wish! Imagine "Third World Girl" in Techo, Dubstep, Soca or Dancehall--The possibilities are limitless! So whether you are a third world girl (or guy)-or even if you come from the first world (or somewhere in between); We want to hear YOUR version of this incredible song!

This is a great chance to get your name out there as a producer/artist/writer/DJ. The winners of this contest will have their versions of the song included in a maxi single that will be released on iTunes, and other digital vendors.

This will be an unprecedented opportunity to get your music associated with a major artist and heard by an international audience! If your version is featured in the maxi-single, we will include your name in the title of the song and all associated press and promotions!

All winners will receive an autographed poster of Avion Blackman and you'll be one of the first to receive a free copy of her "Third World Girl" album (long before it hits the stores)!
One lucky winner just may even have their remix featured on the next Reggae Revolution Mixtape! You can submit as many remixes as you like.

DEADLINE: To be considered in the contest, your remix must be received by no later than 11:59pm EST on May 5th, 2011.

So what are you waiting for? Start mixing today! Here's the link:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Recording Avion Blackman's "Third World Girl"


In mid-February, Avion and I headed off on a four weeklong adventure to Hawaii. I know what you’re thinking--“LUCKY!” But it was far more of a WORKation than a vacation. We didn’t have much money to spend as winter is always a lean time for us, but thankfully we had chalked up enough frequent flyer miles over the years so that we could afford to fly to any location we wanted to in the US for only five bucks! We chose the Hawaiian Islands. After our tour there last summer, I swore we’d return to demo Avion’s next album. Where else in the USA can you hear reggae on the radio 24/7 and wear shorts and sandals in the winter?


I like to get away from home when I am writing new songs. I prefer locations that inspire me when I’m putting an album together. We could think of no more inspirational location than Oahu and the Big Island. Being that we were on a shoestring budget, we appealed to our friends on Facebook and were blessed with houses to stay in and cars to drive. I brought my own portable studio. Avion brought her guitar, bass and our bathing suits and snorkel gear (of course)!

Reggae runs the airwaves in Hawaii, and great Jamaican food is sold on the street corner!


Before I go any further, let me erase those images from your mind of us lounging on the beach sipping virgin daiquiris. Each day we had one mission and one mission only; to write and record an entire song from scratch. That’s not an easy feat when you come to think of it! It was exhausting and overwhelming, but whenever we got stuck on a verse or a bridge, we’d grab the acoustic guitar and go for a drive in the Jeep. Hawaii was the perfect muse and the nature was awe-inspiring. Everyday lyrics just flowed and no two songs sound alike.

Going for a drive in the Jeep

Drawing inspiration from the Ocean at the North Shore

Writing a song at Chinaman's Hat, Oahu


Each day I “woke up early in the morning with a song” to the loud chirping of birds. Hey wait a minute, those are cool lyrics! I think I’ll record that. And then I’d go outside and mike the beautiful bright red Northern Cardinal as he chirped his song. Yep, that’ll be on the album. And that was the beginning of the title track of my wife’s new album “Third World Girl.”

The Northern Cardinal (featured on Avion's recording of "Third World Girl")

Our Makeshift Studio in Oahu

To be honest with you, Avion was very apprehensive when she first heard me saying that I was writing a song about her experience growing up in Trinidad. Over the years, I’ve been mulling over lyrics trying to perfectly capture her UNIQUE experience in a song that plays for less than four minutes. In just a few hours one sunny day in Oahu the demo version of the song was complete and Avion breathed a huge sigh of relief. She LOVED it! Whew!


We made so many new friends on both islands and truly learned the definition of “Ohana” which is the Hawaiian word for family. But in Hawaii, the bond that you create with people goes so much deeper than it does on the mainland. We ministered at 11 different churches on the islands. About every other day Avion would sing and I’d preach before a different congregation. So each day, in between writing songs, I was also crafting sermons and meeting with pastors. It was such an incredible time and the Lord truly provided for us at every single church.

Our Ohana in Oahu


By the time we arrived in Hilo, we had already demoed half of the songs for the album. It was on the Big Island where I reconnected with some of our biggest fans and friends on Facebook. One of them is Justin Nalimu. He had helped arrange a place for us to stay and was going to let us borrow his keyboard. Then I heard him play and was BLOWN AWAY! He is a musical genius and ended up playing keys on all of the songs for Avion’s album. Within a few days we completely shifted gears from recording demos to recording the final album. By the end of our time in Hawaii, we had written 20 songs and recorded 45 original instrumentals. I’ve never had such a productive month—ever! But it doesn’t end there…

Avion with Justin (Killa Whale) Nalimu, Keyboardist for the album


Before we left for Hawaii, we had been planning on returning to Los Angeles in early March to start filming Avion’s next music video. We had taken a survey and decided on which song to record from Avion’s last album “Sweet Life.” Then one day while we were taking a break from recording, we hiked out to Akaka Falls just outside of Hilo (I know it’s a funny name but I didn’t make it up)! As we were walking out to the falls, Avion was talking with our host Uncle Dale and pointing out all the fauna and flora of the jungle. She would call out the Trinidadian name of the fruit and Dale would tell her the Hawaiian name. It was at that moment that I had an epiphany.

The walk that inspired Avion's music video

Akaka Falls, Hilo, Hawaii

If you were to drop a Trinidadian into this jungle, they would swear they were in their home country. Here we are about ready to leave this paradise to record a music video in LA for an old album, when we have a new song called Third World Girl that would fit perfectly in this setting! The wheels were spinning…


So I called up Obie (our guitarist and cinematographer/co-director) and asked him if he’d consider coming out to Hawaii. Stupid question! He’d just gotten back from a glorious three-month stint in Brazil and was not feeling life in the big city at all—especially since it actually snowed that day in Southern California. His suitcase was still packed from Brazil and he said he was ready at any time. Within 20 hours he was on a plane to Hawaii thanks to the last of our frequent flyer miles--We sure are crazy!

At a Black Sand Beach on the Big Island

It rained almost every day while we were in Hilo, so filming was always contingent on the weather. The concept that we had for the video was contrasting Avion now in the first world (at home, in a laundry mat and the grocery store), with the simple yet, hard-working life that Avion used to have in the third world.


A trip to Trinidad is not complete without visiting at least one waterfall, so we were in search of the perfect waterfall in Hilo to use as our setting. As the days passed, we must have seen at least 25 picturesque waterfalls, (I know, boohoo, poor us), but each one of them missed the mark due to issues such as limited access, illegal trespassing or poor lighting. We needed something that was easy to get to and a location where we could film without hassle. And it had to have a pool that Avion could do laundry in.

In search of the perfect waterfall in Hilo. If you look real close, you can see Avion at the top of the bridge with her hands in the air--that's how big this one was!

On the day that we finally gave up and decided to use Kole Kole falls (a local park), we met a couple at church that said they had two private waterfalls on their property and that we should check them out before we made our final decision. I sure am glad we did because we were blown away! We now had our location, the private acres of land owned by our friends Greg and Maile. Now if the weather would just clear up!

Greg and Maile's Private Waterfall


So as the rainy days pursued, we spent our times recording new songs and perfecting the storyline of the video. When you watch it, you’ll notice that the crucial elements are the seamless transitions from the first world to the third. Those took a lot of set up and preparation. On rainy days we did guerilla (unauthorized) shooting in a grocery store and in a laundry mat. Obie even took his Go Pro camera and suction cupped it inside the back of the dryer to give it the spinning effect!


Whenever I preached at churches, I’d read off my wish list of things that we still needed for the video. It was like a scavenger hunt. When I asked for a broken guitar, we received FIVE! One night I said, “We need a hammock, combat boots, a kimono and some cute black kids!” We got ‘em! And the little girl in the video with the Afro is the cutest of them all. We had the right extras (the Harrell family) and the perfect location (Hilo).

Last day of filming on Greg and Maile's Property


“But why the Kimono?” You may ask. I had this crazy idea that during the bridge of the song when Avion sings “We are all foreigners…”, that she could represent women from other nations. This was the most fun, yet the greatest amount of work. Each night for four nights, Avion painted her face to represent different countries or nations such as South Africa, Morocco and yes, she even became a Geisha! Even while the sirens were blaring and the whole city was evacuating due to a pending tsunami, Avion was painting her face and Obie was filming her.

It has always been a dream of Avion to dress up like a Geisha.


It was crazy seeing my wife with brown skin, then an hour later pitch black, then the next night stark white! That was kind of her “I’m every woman” moment, and she did a spectacular job learning moves and dances from different cultures. One night Avion dressed up like traditional Polynesian and Hawaiian dancers and was choreographed by Lissa Paresa, a former Merrie Monarch winner (hula champion). It was a BLAST!

Avion learning a traditional Polynesian dance.

Avion and Lissa Paresa (Hula Instructor)

Needless to say, we had the time of our lives and were thankfully fortunate enough to capture it all on film. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the link to the official music video:

You can also download the “Third World Girl” single on iTunes and

Photo shoot for the cover of Avion's debut single.


As we are now back home, Avion and I are in the studio every day recording overdubs, horns, guitar, percussion and final vocals for her full-length album that will be out this summer. By the end of our month on the Islands, we had so much more than just an album and a music video to bring home (and that is a lot)! We had lasting memories and lifelong friendships with our new ohana; our Hawaiian friends, churches and pastors. We sure hope to return soon! Best of all, as I ministered from church to church on the Islands, over 50 people gave their lives to Christ—And that’s PRICELESS!

People We'll Never Forget


Please pray for us as we leave on April 20th, for our first of two European tours this year. Pray that the Lord continues to provide for us as things are REALLY tight financially right now and we still have a lot of expenses to cover for this album. We are praying for five people to donate $1,000 each to our ministry so that we can afford to cover mixing, mastering, manufacturing and the cost of another music video for Avion’s album. Will you join us in praying for this? All donations are tax-deductible. If you feel the Lord calling you to sow into our ministry, you can do so online today. Please click on the following link to the mission organization that we are under (Sowers International) and select CHRISTAFARI-MARK MOHR:

Thanks so much for your prayers and support.
Blessings in Christ,
Mark and Avion