Over the years, the Washington, D.C. music scene has become best known for its hardcore (Minor Threat) and go-go (Trouble Funk) alumni, but as evidenced by the great Bad Brains, reggae has been represented as well. SOJA has risen to the forefront, picking up right where the Brains left off – creating their own blend of conscious roots music entwined with the traditional rhythms of reggae, it “comes across with passion and depth.” (Washington Post ’06)
That said, SOJA is not that easy to define. Although they are rooted in reggae, they are not limited to it; their fan-base reflects this with a very diverse population. The music includes and embraces all walks of life – it has no prejudice – it is for everyone. The band grew up listening to reggae, hip-hop, and rock. In their sound, reggae became the predominate influence because it is dedicated to a real message and promotes revolution.
The group, which includes a pair of lead singers who also pull double duty – Jacob Hemphill (guitar) and Bob Jefferson (bass) – as well as Patrick O’Shea on keyboard, percussionist Ken Brownell, and drummer Ryan Berty, originally came together in 1997. Since 2000, the quintet has issued three full length albums and one EP – their latest, ‘