SOJA hits the stage at DubFest 2009

Young Circle, Hollywood


Their music features an evolving message.

They have the familiar reggae feel with a dash of Latin flavor.

They have more than seven members in the band, yet they play as one entity.

SOJA, Soldiers of Jah Army, is the new face of Reggae music in America.

Based in Arlington, Va., SOJA has music that combines reggae, rock and even Hispanic music.

Their music gave me the sense that SOJA is a reggae cousin of the Dave Matthews Band. Not only did the band feature the typical guitar and bass, but also a trumpet, saxophone and bongo drums.

Acoustics aside, the band's music contains a strong message. It has evolved with each album, but it is always attributed the king of reggae, Bob Marley.

The insert in their latest album, Born in Babylon, states: God is with you and believes in you; you just have to believe in yourself. The message is super rootsy, mostly sad love songs, lead singer Jacob Hemphill said.

The band's performance at Dubfest 2009 in Hollywood was a hit. Teens and adults alike listened intently or simply swayed to the easy going music.

Born in Babylon is the No. 3 reggae album on iTunes, ahead of albums by Ziggy Marley, Matisyahu and Bob Marley.

SOJA has been hitting it big but they haven't forgotten their fans. At the end of their set, CDs were thrown into the crowd.

The band sounded just as grateful as the fans for being given the opportunity to play an incredible show.

Everyone seems to love the album, Hemphill said. We just love freaking out and playing together for the fans.