Soul Rebel defines local reggae sound in Topeka

Michelle Boltz / Washburn Review

Soul Rebel and The Beast combine fusion with number of diverse music genres. They’re not like typical reggae, but add more pizzazz for a more modern flavor tangled in with worldly elements. Reggae is intertwined with hip hop, jazz, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and gypsy jazz that bring a refreshing rhythm for everyone’s listening pleasure.

“As a band, Reggae is the canvas, but we paint our influences on top of it,” said Aymen Ghali, lead guitarist for Soul Rebel and The Beast. “Everyone brings a different element.”

Soul Rebel and The Beast formed in 2008. Members of the band consist of Luke Dwyer, lead vocals/hand drums, OJ “Juice” Dwyer on vocals and rhythm guitar, Aymen Ghali on lead guitar, Andrew Linton on bass, Joseph “JoJo” Jenkins on saxophone and Romero “Ro” on keyboards.

According to the biography in reverbnation.com, Luke Dwyer describes the meaning behind Soul Rebel and The Beast: “You must live for life. You can’t live your life as others see fit. Rather, live in a way that your soul is content. If you seek happiness, then you must find that happiness. Fight against any entity that causes strife, or you will never know peace.”

Although not everyone in Soul Rebel and the Beast is a Topeka native, the band has a wonderful reception with local fans.

“Once people have heard our music, it makes them want to hear more,” said OJ “Juice” Dwyer. “They love it. We have been amazed by the reception we’ve had. We give much thanks to Topeka for embracing our music.”

Soul Rebel and The Beast won the first spot to open on the main stage out of 30 local bands from Topeka, Lawrence, and Kansas City at Kanrocksas on Aug. 5. They shared the stage with bands such as Flaming Lips, Black Keys, Muse and Eminem.

“It was a wonderful experience. We played in front of 2,500 people,” said Dwyer.

In 2008, they performed in the Wakarusa Music Festival in Arkansas. Soul Rebel and The Beast opened for Mykal Rose in early 2011 at the Granada in Lawrence, Kan. Rose was the first reggae international musician to win a Grammy in the 1980s while in the band Black Uhuru.

Soul Rebel and the Beast are currently working on their first CD, and have four songs released on reverbnation.com. Fans can also check out their fan page on Facebook. Local band Dream Killer University will be opening up for Soul Rebel and The Beast at College Hill Tavern during the Reggae Toga Party on Aug. 27.