By Miriam Rieck
A local band that plays at Northgate, The Village Café, and Revolution Café & Bar, Raspa members say their favorite spot to play is Downtown Bryan. Joseph Legett is lead vocalist and plays guitar. Mark Oakland, on trumpet, and Kelly Erwin, on saxophone, are the “older end” of the group, bringing age and soul to the horn section. Chris Alejandro is on drums, and Rick Tobias is percussion. Rounding out Raspa’s sound are Will Sinclair on bass and Justin Desoba on lead guitar; these two stand out as the “clean cut boys” of the group. Matt Henry is the quiet one who plays a mean keyboard.
All the musicians come together to complement one another.
At a Raspa concert at the Grand Stafford Theater in December, even before the first song was over, the crowd was already moving to the beat. A truly original sound, Raspa is a little reggae and a little rock with all original music and lyrics. The nine band members are a compilation of old friendships and musicians who responded to a Craig’s List posting. This band truly has no apples-to-apples comparison. The current roster of musicians has been together two years. While everyone has a “day job,” all the musicians have been playing for years, and as Rick Tobias puts it, “Raspa…well, it grooves.”
The name Raspa is simply a name they liked and thought was fun. Raspa has just released a five-track EP called Electric Poncho. The tracks on the EP are: “How It Used to Be”, Emily Ann,” “Free Music,” “La Raspa Lady” and “Cincinnati Gold.” The EP begins with two tunes (“How It Used to Be” and “Emily Ann”) that are clever, upbeat, and geared to get you up and dancing. “Free Music” and “La Raspa Lady” are slower but just as smooth. The EP ends with “Cincinnati Gold,” a tune designed to get you back into toe-tapping mode. The album contains all original works with everything on the EP from artwork, arrangement, and recording done by members of the band.
This young-member band has an old-reggae sound somewhat reminiscent of Bob Marley. Check out Raspa’s upcoming schedule online and watch them live or visit the Raspa YouTube channel. You can buy the EP on Spotify and iTunes, as well as in the Android and Google Store.