Soul Sherpa is a Nu-Soul/Funk musical collective ranging from 5-10 members. Nu-Soul is a genre that began in the East Coast and is now sweeping across the nation. Like the movement of Nu-Jazz, Nu-Soul is a blend of styles that is deeply rooted in Soul instead of Jazz. This bass driven style uses elements of Funk, R&B, Pop, and Hip-Hop to form a unique sound that is not only pleasing to the ear, but also the soul. Some popular Nu-Soul artists include Anderson Paak, Allen Stone, Alicia Keys, Bilal, The Roots, and many more emerging artists. Soul Sherpa is the midwest’s premiere Nu-Soul band. From the groove pumping rhythm section, to a four-piece sizzling horn section, Soul Sherpa combines genres, creating an unforgettable musical experience.
Each member of Soul Sherpa is anaccomplished musician in their own right. The collective ideas and love for music from each musician opens the doors to wicked solos across all instruments, guest collaboration with amazing local artists, and impossible amounts of on-stage energy. Soul Sherpa makes each show an unique and exciting experience.
Soul Sherpa is an obvious choice for venues. Their music hooks a wide variety of audiences thanks to the fusion of modern and vintage music. With recognizable covers and catchy originals, Soul Sherpa captures the attention of any crowd. Small venues need not to worry; the flexibility of musicianship allows for Soul Sherpa to fit as little as 5 members on stage while maintaining a tight, high-impact, danceable show.
Growin up in his father's record store, Ian had a very open music experience. Picking up the electric and upright bass at age of 10, Ian knew very early on that music would forever be a part of his life. In high school Ian had the opportunity to perform for national conventions including Carnegie Hall and Iowa Bandmasters Association. In college Ian was selected to perform, organize, and direct the instrumental Jazz combo groups and the Vocal Jazz group. These opportunities led Ian to receive multiple soloist awards. Wanting to continue playing outside of college Ian created the legendary group known as "Soul Sherpa".
Inga Ruth Aleckson has been singing professionally since she was a small child. Her parents, both professionals as well, encouraged and inspired her to go into music. While she has sang almost all genres, her heart belongs to soul, funk, and R&B. Inga (affectionately called Ingy) graduated from Luther College with a Bachelors of Arts in Dance where she participated in many small groups and passion projects. She loves all arts and uses that love to connect with her community. When Inga isn’t on stage she is brewing some beautiful coffee, making new art, or dancing. She aspires to one day teach others to follow their own artistic passions. While being the newest addition to Soul Sherpa, she has admired the work of them both as individuals and as a group for years. Inga is truly a unique soul and is eager to unite the creativity of her newest community.
Lukas Jack is the son of Tim Jack, a local drummer in the Cedar Rapids area. Lukas began playing drums by banging pots and pans together and eventually took his skill to the next level. Since then he has been involved in many local ensembles, most notably Kirkwood Jazz Band. Besides drumming, Lukas has an intense passion for driving and being punctual. Taking inspiration from bands like Vulfpeck and Tiny Tim, Lukas has an impressive bredth of genre.
Shawn is the youngest musician in Soul Sherpa. Born and raised in Cedar Rapids, IA he was originally introduced to music through his father's record collection. Subsequently Shawn developed a depp spiritual connection to music. He is influenced by Donny Hathaway, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder. As the main lyricists to the band, Shawn draws from various poets, preachers, and rappers. Shawn loves all music and holds playing with Soul Sherpa as one of the most important parts of his life.
Nico's musical journey began at the ripe age of 16. His blues playing uncle inspired and nurtured his guitar playing. Since then, he has expanded his repertoire to different genres and instruments including guitar, drums, harmonica, and occasionally singing. Nico has played guitar and drums in several local bands before joining Soul Sherpa. Nico is always up for some bowling with his cousin.
Benjamin Drury is a respected performer, clinician, educator, and salesman in the Eastern-Iowa area. He has been playing with Soul Sherpa for two years and is a soloist in their debut EP "Invest In This" and their LP "Same Wave Train". His musical path included earning a masters in trumpet performance from the University of Iowa. He is also a U.S. military combat veteran. While deployed to Afghanistan was allowed to select his own callsign. He insisted on "Five Pounds of Gummy Bears". This caused the forward operating base to ban personalized callsigns.
Casey started classical piano lessons at age 7. He then started saxophone and cello at the age of 9. He took lessons under the direction of Marty Crandall, a popular player in his early years in Kansas City during the big-band era. When Marty suddenly passed away, Casey devoted himself to Jazz, and began teaching himself the art. He still plays Marty's saxophone. Casey completed his bachelors in saxophone performance with an emphasis in Jazz at Luther College. He played in and toured with the Luther College Jazz Orchestra and multiple small combo groups. After college he continued playing professionally in the Eastern Iowa area. Demanding an audition 3 years ago with Soul Sherpa, Casey (The mad scientist) brings energy and a flair of weird to the group.
Representing Coe College is Duroje Gwamna otherwise known as "Dr. D". He has a music composition background and continues to use that in Soul Sherpa. He played in the Coe College Jazz and Marching bands. This is the first small local band he's played in and is excited by this venutre. Duroje digs the pioneers of jazz fusion and likes everything from Miles Davis to TV On The Radio. Dr. D loves working on arrangements both professionally and as a hobby. He also loves cooking up some Soul Food for the masses.
Hank Welter is a real good saxophone player in Soul Sherpa. His glasses allow him to see into the future which is why he owns so many "soon to be cool" hats. Hank is also a gifted children's author. He has published "Why Does My Life Matter?", "Jesus Was A Jew (and you can too)", and "Barnie is Illuminati" among many others.
ShadowWolf Evans is a Cedar Rapids Native and auxiliary percussionist for Soul Sherpa. He's been bonging bangos and belling cows since he came out of his mother's womb. Shadow has a great beard as well.