|| Born on Waikiki beach, Curtis Romjue grew up in the Hawaiian & San Juan Islands as well as Bellingham, WA. He moved to Seattle in 2000 and studied Latin American Studies at Seattle Pacific University, traveling in Europe and Central America through study abroad programs. In response to all he’d seen during his visits to places like Nicaragua, Guatemala and Cuba, he started JUBILEE in 2004. Curtis sings lead vocals and plays rhythm guitar.
Why Curtis fights slavery with music || He says, "Music makes our lives better. We hope our music can improve the lives of others. Nothing I have learned about the world disturbs me more than slavery and the forced prostitution of young children. This needs to stop. We're all human, and capable of both brilliant glory and unspeakable evil. The extreme realities of human slavery illustrate the logical and inevitable out-workings of an ill-tended human heart. Music is one of our most powerful tools in the fight to end slavery. What else can claim the ability to raise awareness while lifting the spirit. What besides music helps us ruminate on life as it speaks to the heart - the true source of injustices like slavery."
|| Grace Romjue can’t imagine life without music. That’s why almost any time of the day you’ll find her singing. This is especially helpful for keeping her one-year-old daughter entertained and her husband Curtis supplied with ample harmonies for his melodies. She also plays a variety of keyboard instruments, bangs a tambourine and shakes a pair of tiny maracas. Occasionally, she does these things on stage with the band.
Why Grace fights slavery with music || She says, "If I'm honest, when I hear about a cause to alleviate some type of suffering in the world, I usually try to ignore it. But entering into the suffering of others is the only way to love truly and experience life fully. Engaging with the world's hurt while pouring myself into work that inspires and challenges me creatively is the most fulfilling life I can imagine."
|| If Jonny Akamu Haglund could have his way, guitars would grow on trees and there would always be a surf break within skateboarding distance. In reality, he’s stoked to find himself happily married and either teaching or performing music most nights of the week. Jonny spent a year studying Flamenco guitar in Seville, Spain, and also plays ukulele, slide guitar, bass, and almost anything else with strings.
Why Jonny fights slavery with music || He says, "Music = Good. Slavery = Bad. Music > Slavery."
|| Peter Ortblad's life began when a rocket blast from the Holy Spirit kicked his then ungrateful ass into recognizing that life was not, in fact, all about him. Since those formative days of eternal revelation, Pete has been on a journey to honor God with his life. Though a bumpy road across 4 continents and 7 countries, including the great nation of Hawai'i, Jesus has been faithful to remind Pete that "it's better to give than receive." In this journey of life so far, three eternal truths come to mind, God is good, music is fun, and cheese, while delicious, has latent effects on Steven's gastrointestinal systems to the detriment of the rhythm section.
Why Pete fights slavery with music || He says, “As a follower of Jesus, I desire to honor the heart of God in all circumstances. Blessed with this amazing opportunity to partner with the rest of the band, I love seeing God's kingdom advanced in our day to glorify His name through doing the work He desires. (Isaiah 1:17).”
|| Steven Wilbur is an in-orbit-Seattlite math-teaching poet and drummer from the Bay Area by way of Texas. Steven’s first chapbook, "born in a bullet proof vest" can be found at www.stevenwilbur.com.
Why Steven fights slavery with music || "Sex sells everything. It screams at us from billboards, calling us to buy our goods in bed. It is the lamb everyone wants to pet, but most of us don’t know the wild dog in waiting underneath. If the industry will continue to dress itself with sheep’s wool, I will beat these drums so at least some see the wolf."
Portrait Photos by Andi Dean