ABIJAH
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"ABIJAH: Moving to a higher level"





ABIJAH
Moving to a higher level
BY BASIL WALTERS Observer staff writer
Friday, August 29, 2003


ABIJAH... was invited to the Oxford and Harvard Universities
POPULAR vocalist and songwriter, Abijah, well known for his folksy, message-oriented songs, lists as his next major project the 'Fire of Forgiveness: The Healing of the Nation' series of free concerts on the Hopi Indian Reservation in Arizona, USA.

Abijah who just returned from a successful European tour is increasingly mindful of establishing himself not just as a conscious singer, but as an inspirational speaker on campuses at home and aboard. Hence his decision to participate in the above mentioned project.

At home he has given inspirational talks at 26 schools so far across the island. He recently met with representatives of 41 nations who participated in a speaking course at the Global Retreat Centre at Oxford University in England while on a tour of Europe for which he received a certificate in 'Living Values'. Participants in the course included teachers, lawyers and other professionals who do special work with young people.

"I was the one from Jamaica because they (the people at the institution) said they liked my music and the type of vibes associated with my music. It was in the middle of my European tour when I got a call from them (Oxford) and I responded. I spent a week there. "This was like around three weeks ago, and I got a certificate in 'Living Values'.

The significance of this certificate he explained is that it demonstrates that he has certain values which can be passed on to children and also for sharing with teachers. "Especially like how I do the school programmes by encouraging the youth them to stay away from drugs and crime. It (the course) helps you to be a little bit more prepared, so that you can relate better to the youth and how to communicate, how to get them involve in wholesome positive activities," he told Splash.

"I was also invited to Harvard University in the United States," the popular singer hastened to add. "Earlier this year, in May, the invitation came from Harvard and I went and spoke about Jamaica's culture, its people, and music. The vibes at Harvard was very nice during the two weeks of workshops and concerts I did up there."

Abijah is hoping to return to Oxford at a later date for similar courses in an effort to further improve his skills as a communicator. "I'm hoping to go back to Oxford to become more involved and grow more into that area because I love people, I love youth. I've two children....and my goal is to see them and other children grow happy and not being abused by society, and even if they are abused by society, they must maintain a certain calm, a certain peace within themselves that can help them overcome. It's all about love, unity, forgiveness, tolerance, simplicity, faith, and how to react to different circumstances, "he said.

The singer born Andrew Smith told Splash how tears came to his eyes when he reached the airport to leave London.

"What was moving about the whole trip is that you had people from 41 different countries- Iraq, Iran, Israel, Africa, from Australia, US and Canada - and we all came together in one love and one unity. It was the first some of them were laying eyes on a Rastaman, yet they grew to love and appreciate. We're different colours, but our blood, sweat and tears are the same," he asserted.

The 'Fire of Forgiveness: The Healing of the Nation' project is the brainchild of Robert Roskind who earlier staged a number of such concerts in schools across Jamaica. Roskind is also the author of the books, Rasta Heart: A Journey Into One Love and Gathering of the Healers: The Healing of the Nation. He is also the organiser of the project.

Scheduled to appear on the concerts are The Lion of Israel Band, a Reggae group based in North Carolina which recently opened for both Luciano and Ziggy Marley and Karen Abieta, aka Sister Parrott, a deejay from Arizona

- Jamaica Observer


Discography

ABIJAH (May 6, 2003)
VP Records (NY)

Photos

Bio

A-bi-jah (Hebrew for “my father is Jehovah”) was born into music as his father was a drummer with the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. He began to practise his art by rehearsing and performing with his father’s band. For a while he took on the stage name “Quenchers” and voiced tracks with several internationally renowned deejays. In more recent years, he further honed his singing and performing skills with formal voice, speech as well as guitar training.

Together with of the best musicians Jamaica has to offer, he began recording under the stage name “Abijah” in 2000. His first hit single “Revelation” debuted on the Jamaican charts at No. 6 on May 25, 2001 and remained on the charts for over 30 weeks. His energetic stage performances have electrified audiences in the USA, Europe, Japan and the Caribbean. He has recorded and released tracks with artists such as DJ Krush (Japan), Nadine Sutherland and Nadz. He also voiced the track and appeared in the 2002 international advertising campaign for the Jamaica Tourist Board.

His first album “Abijah” was released on May 6, 2003 by VP Records and comprises 14 tracks with a variety of styles. To promote his album, he completed a tour of Europe in Summer 2003 where he performed at festivals in seven countries including Germany (SummerJam), Italy (Rototom), France (Jamaica Sunrise) and Spain (Uzona). He also did a three-week tour of the USA in September 2003 that included the One Love Peace Concert in Virginia, Hopiland in Arizona and performances in Chicago and Boston. Other major festivals in which he has performed include Reggae Sumfest (Jamaica), Sierra Nevada World Music Festival (USA), Rebel Salute (Jamaica), International Reggae Festival (Montreal).

Abijah has become known for living and promoting positive values and has spoken and performed at Harvard University in April 2003 and also at Oxford in July 2003 at international workshops on living values. He has also performed at over 50 schools in Jamaica to promote peace and forgiveness. He is now working on his second album and recently recorded a track with Tevin Campbell. His hit cover of Bob Marley's "Sun is Shining" was No. 1 on the Reggae Charts in Italy and South Florida in April 2005 and is No. 11 on the NY Reggae charts after debuting 4 weeks earlier.

With his beginnings firmly grounded in Reggae, combined with his conscious lyrics that have worldwide appeal, Abijah is making a difference on the world stage.