A group of friends from Virginia came together over a decade ago to form a band they called Soldiers of Jah Army or SOJA. Now, they tour throughout the world playing to sold out shows, playing their hearts out and trying to make a difference. Who would have thought that a group of white guys from the United States would gather one of the most loyal followings in the reggae community? SOJA now consists of 8 members Jacob Hemphill (vocals, guitar), Bob “Bobby Lee” Jefferson (bass, vocals), Patrick O’Shea (keyboards), Ryan “Bird” Berty (drums), Ken Brownell (percussion), Trevor Young (guitar, vocals), Hellman Escorcia (saxophone) and Rafael Rodriguez (trumpet). Head man, Jacob Hemphill, sports one of the most unique voices in all of music. If you have heard him sing you will never hear a SOJA song come on again and not know what it is. SOJA preaches about trying to make a difference in this world. Their newest album “Strength to Survive” is entitled this because they are asking a question. Do we as people of this world have the strength to survive everything building up on us and everything that we have built up on ourselves. SOJA is about the message intheir music. Jacob always says that they can have fun with the music as long as the message stays the same. It is hard to really put a genre on SOJA. Most consider them as folk/reggae. One of my favorite quotes from Jacob Hemphill is, “To me, Rage Against The Machine, Wu -Tang Clan, Sade, Johnny Cash, Bob Marley – they’re all folk artists.” He went on to say, “Folk is all about storytelling and passing on a legacy. It’s timeless, it’s limitless and it crosses all boundaries.” The message in SOJA’s music can bring you to tears of sadness and joy all in one show. They take you on a roller coaster every time they perform and it is something you will not soon forget once you have seen them.
I believe that I should be the blog writer for Wakarusa for a few reasons. I recently graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland and have professional training in both broadcast and blog writing. I am a fan of all genre’s of music. I chose to write about SOJA but I have seen Pretty Lights several times, 12th planet, Beats Antique, Matisyahu. I’ve seen them all and appreciate all the different types of music so I will be able to give a true full analysis of every day of the festival. I will give you anything and everything you are looking for in your blog posts. I look forward to hearing from you. I’m your man!