Finding brotherhood in their shared love of music, the members of Rebel SoulJahz get ready to celebrate the release of their latest album with a concert at Aloha Stadium.
From singing in stairways during their high school years to headlining international stages, the four men who make up the reggae outfit Rebel SoulJahz have been through a lot together.
“It’s been a journey to say the least,” says lead vocalist Michael Maglinti.
He remembers meeting friends Will Sua, Andrew “Bubba” Hodges and Tunez Moananu at the Waipahu High School flagpole during lunchtime to sing for classmates, and performing at their alma mater’s assemblies. But no matter where they’re performing — nowadays, it’s been everywhere from New Zealand and Japan to Guam, Australia and the continental U.S. — it’s always an honor to share the stage with men he considers his brothers.
“Music brought us together,” Maglinti notes.
And it’s kept them together all this time. Through ups and downs, starting families and losing loved ones, they’ve been constants in each others’ lives. That bond is evident in the music they create and serves as the foundation for the powerfully built harmony the group is known for. Each member has a distinct style that is worthy of acclaim on its own. But together, they truly shine.
“We like to be different,” says Maglinti.
That notion is the reason behind the band’s name. Because if there’s one word to describe the members’ approach to music, it would be “rebellious.” Anyone who’s heard a Rebel SoulJahz tune can appreciate its deviation from an archetypal reggae song. Instead of one front person, Maglinti, Sua, Hodges and Moananu share the role. It’s a powerhouse of vocals that stands out above the reggae and R&B beat, inviting the listener to gravitate toward the lyrics that speak of local culture and Hawai‘i-centric themes.
“The message of our music is to spread love, peace, unity and aloha daily,” explains Maglinti.
“We take pride in being with and for the people,” he adds. “We always have. It is through our people that our music thrives and lives.”
Move With Love, the group’s fifth studio album that released this summer, continues that theme and has a depth of emotion that details what’s happening in the world today and the journey of one’s life. A highlight of the album is the song This Time. Slow and soulful, it begs Father Time to slow down and stop taking loved ones away.
“This song really hits home for all of us,” notes Maglinti, who adds that the album art also centers around this theme.
It depicts Maglinti’s mom, Diana Kina Lewis, who passed in 2020. Designed by Marianne Uson, it captures Lewis’ beauty and serves as a reminder to treasure the moments with loved ones.
“Being older now, we try to appreciate the little things,” explains Maglinti. “Time is moving and we just want to enjoy the ride.”
And this Saturday, Sept. 23, Rebel SoulJahz rides into Aloha Stadium for its Move With Love Tour concert. The party, which takes place in the parking lot, starts at 4:30 p.m. for all ages. Tickets are available at tmrevents.net.
Fans can expect a full set of classics like Nothing to Hide and Irie Beach Party from their first album (which won a 2009 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for Reggae Album of the Year), as well as songs from the new album, including the hit single Herb, Whiskey & Reggae. Joining Rebel SoulJahz on stage will be Likkle Jordee, Johnny Suite, Wavvy and DJ Anit.
“We’re looking forward to being with the people again,” says Maglinti. “Also looking forward to sharing some of the new tunes with everyone, not only here in Hawai‘i but across the globe as well.”