The Bowery Presents
SOJA

SOJA

Nahko & Medicine for the People, Los Rakas

Fri, May 17, 2013

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

Webster Hall

New York, NY

$20.00 advance / $25.00 day of show

This event is 18 and over

SOJA
SOJA
Jacob Hemphill - Lead singer/Guitarist
Bobby Lee - Bass
Ryan Berty - Drums
Kenneth Brownell - Percussion
Patrick O'Shea - Keyboards
Rafael Rodriguez - Trumpet
Hellman Escorcia - Saxophone
Trevor Young - Lead guitar

"I want to speak for people who don't have microphones," Jacob Hemphill says. "Our goal as a band is to stick up for the human race. We see the world and we try to make it better in the limited time we have here."

This is the philosophy behind SOJA's music, a simple statement that has driven the D.C. area band, who blend reggae, go-go, D.C. hardcore, Latin, rock and hip-hop. Originally formed by a group of friends while still in middle school and has built a massive, dedicated fanbase around the world since. In the years following, SOJA has sold more than 200,000 albums, headlined shows in over 20 countries around the world, generated over three million Facebook fans, and 65 million YouTube views. The band has toured with Dave Matthews Band, Incubus, 311 and appeared at major festivals including Bonnaroo where they attract an almost Grateful Dead-like international fan base along the way, with caravans of diehards following them from city to city. After the release of their 2012 album "Strength To Survive," the musicians started writing material for what would become their fifth full-length album, "Amid the Noise and Haste."

For Hemphill, who pens the lyrics, chords and melody, each song starts with an experience: meeting someone, reading something, experiencing something that seems pertinent to the human condition. On this album, the songwriter is suggesting that "all of life's problems, and all of life's answers are within us. We've been conditioned to accumulate, compete and break others down around ourselves -- not inherent to the human condition, but rather taught. Those things can be untaught. The real us is in there, somewhere." All of this is translated into short, sweet packages of music.

The writing and recording process for "Amid the Noise and Haste" stretched out over a year and a half, mostly because the musicians kept finding new collaborators and new ideas along the way. The aim was to engage as many guest artists as possible, with each working on a song that had a legitimate connection to them. The album was produced by Supa Dups (Bruno Mars, Eminem, Rihanna, John Legend) and recorded at Circle House Studios in Miami and Lion & Fox Studios in Washington D.C. throughout 2013. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley appears on "Your Song," a buoyant, hopeful number that asks fans to remind the band why they got into music by singing along, while "I Believe" brings Michael Franti and Nahko together to offer thoughts on how to control your own destiny. Collie Buddz, J Boog and Anuhea are also featured on various tracks. "We wanted to bring together people who would help demonstrate each song," Jacob says. "We wanted people who could either relate to or convey the message. The whole album is about the human race relating to itself and connecting with itself."

For SOJA, whose live show is an explosion of energy and positivity, music is a means of helping people relate in a more affirmative way. It also asks people to look inside themselves and really ask what it is they want to do with their life and how they can be happy. SOJA's music is about finding that happiness and peace we all deserve and helping others do the same, something "Amid the Noise and Haste" aptly conveys in its songs.

"I put words in my songs that I believe to be true," Jacob says. "The point of the album is reconnecting people to the power inside themselves, getting them to fall back in love with life again. Look around, take a deep breath. All the answers are there."
Los Rakas
Los Rakas
Los Rakas is comprised of cousins Raka Rich + Raka Dun, pioneering Panamanians by way of the Bay Area on the frontier of new Latin urban music. Known for their fresh mix of hip-hop, plena, reggae and dancehall music with both Spanish and English lyricism, Los Rakas represent the cutting edge of Pan-American flows.

Taking their name from the Panamanian word "Rakataka" – a negative slur used to describe someone from the ghetto – Los Rakas have set out to both inspire fellow "rakas" by empowering them to become successful despite their circumstances, turning the current Latino hip-hop world on its head.

Prolific peddlers of remixes and mixtapes since 2006, it wasn't until 2010 that Los Rakas had their breakout year. Along with being the first urban group to win Latin Alternative Music Conference's (LAMC) Discovery Artist prize, Los Rakas were hand-picked that year to perform alongside Cypress Hill, Erykah Badu, and Manu Chao at Snoop Dogg's Smoke Out Festival. In the ensuing years, Los Rakas have become a sought after act on the festival circuit with credentials that include SummerStage, X-Fest & Paid Dues in the US, along with Festival Nrmal and Festival Corona Capital internationally.

Even before the release of their 2011 debut EP, "Chancletas y Camisetas Bordada," Los Rakas had received high praise from a variety of publications, ranging from Complex Magazine to NPR and National Geographic. With top-notch produced and globally circulated music videos – underground anthems like 2006's 'Mi Barrio' to 2009's 'Abrazame' and 2010's 'Soy Raka' – their 2011 effort 'Chancletas' was no different. Subsequent videos for the tracks 'Ta Lista' and 'Cueria' received heavy praise and coverage across the blogosphere.

Los Rakas' forthcoming release "Raka Party" will be out in late 2012 and showcases the group putting their 'Raka' twist on the electronic and dance music world. The first single is an anthemic and infectious song entitled 'Miss Latina.'

"We're proud to say, we executive produced this album which features production longtime collaborator, Freddy Stylez aka Raka Stylo, Jedibeats & Digital Pain" says Raka Rich & Raka Dun.

The group worked on a dance-centric single with Diplo and Dutch producer The Flexican called 'Desorden' which is set to see release in 2012 on Mad Decent.

This summer, Los Rakas set out to tour across the country with headlining shows in Austin and Miami. They will also support Spanish rap sensation Mala Rodriguez on her tour in Los Angeles, and New York. In fall 2012, Los Rakas will perform shows with Grammy-Nominated Chilean, Ana Tijoux and depart on a nationwide tour with the Bermudian Reggae artist Collie Buddz.

Los Rakas make music born of migration and tradition, critique and celebration, joy and pain. They make New World music. American music. Panamanian Jamaican Californian music. Music for b-boys and rude girls, dancers and romancers, mainlanders and islanders and isthmus folk alike, which continues to bubble one "Raka" at a time.
Venue Information:
Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street
New York, NY, 10003
http://www.websterhall.com/