2009 JUNO nominees, Western Canada Music Award winners, and twice-declared the best Reggae band in Canada by the Canadian Reggae Music Awards and the Reggae Music Achievement Awards, Souljah Fyah never fails to lift spirits or heat up a crowd. They have played with Lilith Fair, the Edmonton Folk Fest, the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival, and at the Grey Cup Festivals in Montreal and Calgary, but Edmonton is home, and over the past decade they have been Reggae's best evangelists in Western Canada. This month will see the release of their highly anticipated third studio album, "I Wish," a project which took them to new heights sonically and lyrically, while remaining true to their roots-reggae sound. It's on the merits of their live show, however, that Souljah Fyah has managed to accomplish what they have. As Shelly Gummeson from Earshot-Online wrote: "On and off stage...[lead singer] Janaya 'Sista J' Ellis, exudes a high voltage, positive energy. Unfettered without setting limitations is precisely the attitude and energy that has propelled Edmonton's Souljah Fyah to become Canada’s top Reggae band."
--2010 winner "Best Reggae Band" - Reggae Music Achievement Awards (two-time nominees in this year's awards)
--Souljah Fyah's 2009 Single "Tears of a Fool" recently reached #3 Canada-Wide on CBC's Galaxie Jammin' Charts. (January 2009)
--2009 JUNO Nominees "Reggae Recording of the Year" (First Alberta Band to achieve this)
--2009 winner "Top Reggae Band" - Canadian Reggae Music Awards (four-time nominees in 2009, and first Alberta Band to win in this category)
--2008 winner "Best Reggae Album" - Reggae Music Achievement Awards (three-time nominees in 2008, and first Alberta Band to win in this category)
--2008 winner "Outstanding Urban Recording" - Western Canadian Music Awards (First Alberta Band in history to win in this category)
--Single "Sweet Love" reached #1 on CBC Galaxie Radio in 2008 (Canadian Reggae) and is listed in the top 3 international reggae releases in 2008 by Stephen Neale.
--Sophmore album, "Truth Will Reveal" climbed to #1 across Canada (Earshot-Online.com) charting nationally in the top ten for 7 weeks (International Chart).
--Single "Rwanda" was featured on Ziggy Marley's "Ziggy Radio" in 2008.
--Single "Abundance of Good" charted at #1 Canada-wide for 12 weeks (CBC Galaxie Radio, 2007)
In November 2009, Janaya was awarded AVENUE magazine's Top 40 under 40 Edmontonians “for bringing the world of Reggae to our city, and exporting it around the world”. She also received Global TV's Woman of Vision award in March 2007 as well as the Big Miller Award for music achievement for her work in building Edmonton's music scene.
Souljah Fyah's new 2009 Single "Tears of a Fool" is currently (January 2010) charting at #5 on CBC's Galaxie Jammin' Charts. Released July 25th, it is both a lamentation and a rally of strength for a mother who is a victim of domestic violence. It has been generously received by campus and community radio across Canada, and was featured on Earshot-Online.com. The "B-Side" is a dancehall celebration of our short Canadian summers titled "Eight Days of Summer". (Recorded at Sound Extractor Studios, Edmonton, Alberta)
Souljah Fyah's sophomore CD (produced by IBO at Smokey Room Productions) "Truth Will Reveal" dropped on February 9th, 2008. From that album, the first single "Sweet Love" reached #1 on CBC Galaxie Radio in 2008 (Canadian Reggae) and is listed in the top 3 international reggae releases in'08 by Stephen Neale. In addition, "Truth Will Reveal" climbed to #1 across Canada (Earshot-Online.com) charting nationally in the top ten for 7 weeks (International Chart).
With the passionate single "Rwanda" featured on Ziggy Marley's "Ziggy Radio" in 2008, and the single "Abundance of Good" charting #1 Canada-wide for 12 weeks (CBC Galaxie Radio, 2007), people are starting to talk about Souljah Fyah.
EARSHOT-ONLINE.COM FEATURE – Shelley Gummeson, NOVEMBER 2009
"On and off stage...Janaya 'Sista J' Ellis, exudes a high voltage, positive energy. Unfettered without setting limitations is precisely the attitude and energy that has propelled Edmonton's Souljah Fyah to become Canada’s top reggae band."
SEE MAGAZINE, DECEMBER, 2008:
"If anyone can attest to the primacy of the live gig over the recording, its the band that's packed more regular Sunday night gigs (yes Sundays. In minus-40-degree winters. When busses don't run on regular schedules) than anyone else in Edmonton for years."
"TRUTH WILL REVEAL" EDMONTON JOURNAL REVIEW, MARCH 2008
"Four stars. Cynics, paid or otherwise, love to rag on reggae. "It all sounds the same," they complain. I dare them to say so after listening to Souljah Fyah's second effort, Truth Will Reveal. Fronted by a powerful -- yet graceful -- and charismatic woman, the local musicians offer the usual spliff-rolling, party grooves and social-activist lyrics, but they also add enough tantalizing ear candy to keep listeners captivated -- whether it be horns (Rwanda), ringing telephones (Fully Charged), trip-hoppish atmospherics (African Lyric) or a heartwarming conversation between singer/bassist Janaya Ellis and her daughter (Praylude). With her soft, tender vocals, Ellis (also known as Sista J) provides Souljah Fyah's greatest gift to reggae -- elevating it from an "I-shot-the-sheriff/No-woman-no-cry" cliche to an intensely personal and touching genre." --Sandra Sperounes, Edmonton Journal, March 2008
PERFORMANCE REVIEW, SEE MAGAZINE
"Souljah Fyah showed up in top form, inspirational leader Janaya Ellis setting the room on fire with her heartfelt presence and constant call for positive action. . . . Ellis' tiny frame practically raised from the ground, glowing as her wild, dreadlocked mane spiraled around her head, following the beat.
As the night went on, and sweat poured from every pore, Souljah Fyah solidified their reputation as one of the most dedicated and beloved local acts around . . . the supreme leaders of Edmonton's reggae scene."
-Francois Marchand, SEE Magazine, January 2006
Souljah Fyah played some of Canada's most presigious festivals in 2009, including Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, the Grey Cup festivities in Montreal, and the Canmore Folk Music Festival, and sharing the stage with legends like The Wailers and Arrested Development. The band will play the Grey Cup festivities in Calgary at the end of November, 2009.
The following is are letters from members of the Edmonton Folk Festival audience:
"I had a chance to see you at the Edmonton Folk fest and Loved your show. The energy and the message was incredible. I had a good spot at near the front to catch your show on the last day. I was lovin the vibe, then I turned around to see the view you were enjoying and I almost fell over. There were so many people groovin and loovin it. You really rocked the hill! I have been going to the EFMF for about 15yrs and that moment watching Souljah Fyah is on my top 5. I loved it!" - Lynn H.
“WOW! I took in the show on the session stage on Sunday, then again at the volunteer party. You are without question the BEST act of the whole festival. You rocked the show, and then brought the house down at the party. I can’t wait to see your next show and have become an instant diehard!! I am very proud that a city as modest as Edmonton could help to produce a band that can really touch the soul. Please, continue to do what you do so well.
Where can I find your new single? I woke up my entire building belting it out when I got home around 5ish this morning and thought that they might enjoy it more if was sung by the sweet sound of Janaya’s soulful voice. Thank you kindly.”
SJF rocked the house in Montreal at the Grey Cup festivities in 2008, made an alumni appearance at the 2008 Calgary International Reggae Festival, headlined the Friday night of South Country Fair, the Central Music Festival, and packed the house at many more venues in their summer 2008 tours.
They headlined at the 2nd annual Winnipeg Soca and Reggae Festival July 2007, making stops to open for Buju Banton in Calgary, and at hot spots in Saskatchewan along the way. SJF opened for Morgan Heritage in March 2007, and opened for Mikey Dread in 2005 and 2006.
Souljah Fyah performed to critical acclaim at the Calgary International Reggae Festival in 2005. They have been showcased at Cariwest in Edmonton, AB, Carifest in Calgary, AB, and receive generous airplay on campus and community radio stations across Canada as well as on CBC radio.
They have performed hundreds of shows from Toronto to Sooke! Their live performance is always fully charged so be ready for it when Sista J and Souljah Fyah hit the stage!