Get Wiser Live SOJA DVDBy Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 15, 2007; Page WE05

SOJA is on the move.

In the month before headlining Friday's first of three free Weekend's Weekends concerts at Carter Barron Amphitheatre, the Arlington-based reggae band SOJA (an acronym for Soldiers of Jah Army) was touring in Europe, after a tour of South America earlier this year.

"This is our first year to jump outside the United States and U.S. territories," says guitarist and primary singer-songwriter Jacob Hemphill, speaking from Toulouse, France, last week. He adds that SOJA has been to Guam several times.

The group performed a dozen concerts in France and one in Belgium and appeared at the Festi'neuch rock and reggae festival in Neuchatel, Switzerland. Pretty good for a band that puts music out on its own label (Innerloop) and whose manager, Elliott Harrington, moonlights as DJ Redemption.

Hemphill says that, thanks to the Internet, "you don't need a [major] record label these days" to develop a profile outside your home town. On MySpace, YouTube and a half-dozen other Web links, you can find an audience (and vice versa) and do some community building.

"We have a different brand of reggae, and people kinda pick up on that."