A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen Reviews
"Taj’s lyrics tell tales of struggling for freedom and respect, while the bass and drums drive a tight groove. The band plays smooth and enchanting reggae, which both educates and chills out the audience.
Taj Weekes blends his roots style with folk and soul music, making for a blend that is both danceable and very, very smooth. His voice is strong as he speaks to what he is passionate about: peace, love and understanding."
"The soul-stirring, conscientious lyrics, and reggae-swagger of St. Lucia's Taj Weekes and his Adowa Band bring to life an amazing set of songs with a bit of roots-rock, folk, and loads of island tempos... The classic beats and breezy vocals are not to be missed. Every track is catchy and infused with the intoxicating essence of island love. Fans of Australian folk, Caribbean folk, and good music will not be disappointed with Taj's third release."
"Taj Weekes doesn't possess a typical 'reggae' voice, but that's okay, because he doesn't make 'typical' reggae. Weekes' voice is reedy, almost androgynous, and on A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen, his latest release, he puts his unique timbre on display over classic reggae sounds augmented by nods to calypso, folk, blues, and singer/songwriter embellishments.
Weekes worked as a radio DJ, and the sounds of the record reflect the varied music he played over the airwaves: "Janjaweed" has the lilt of urban soul, "You Ain't Ready for the Heavy" stomps with a funk edge, and "Drill" could almost work placed in a rock opera. The fusion is sure to earn Weekes and Adowa, his backing band, the attention of reggae fans, but also has the potential to cross over to fans of broader world-influenced pop music like Jack Johnson, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Ozomatli."
"A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen is a soul moving work of conscious art... Infused with this unique sound, the soothing lyrics of Taj Weekes are written and sung with intent. Stimulating your mind, warming your heart, and making you care about the world around you. Relaxing melodies, positive vibrations, and get up on your dancing feet grooves… all can be found within."
"Reggae man Taj Weekes and his band Adowa lace their island rhythms with subtle hints of saxophone, harmonica and acoustic guitars, with the combined effect being a more rootsy sound than many bass-bombing modern-reggae cats. His latest album, A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen, is an homage to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina via a stylistic hodge-podge of sounds that would do the Big Easy proud.
A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen in Global Village Top 30 for May 2011. "Reggae-inspired new music with a social conscience from St. Lucia."
"The funky groovin’ rootsy vibe of Adowa with the conscious lyrics and unmistakable vocals of Taj Weekes arouses the mind and soul on the third release from this New York based group. The Melodies of both music and vocals intertwine beautifully throughout the album and can be noted especially on "Janjaweed." A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen is a roller coaster of urgency and calm collectiveness that takes a wild turn with each song and will leave the rider in deep thought and feeling good."
"For those who might not have known Taj Weekes before the massive Austin Reggae Festival, he has become a local hero. He closed the show... to a crowd estimated at nearly 30,000 people. Taj was the ideal artist to tie his conscious messages to a festival focused on reducing starvation.
As Goodwill Ambassador for the Caribbean, Taj projected the sensibilities that reggae music brings to the hearts of those who need hope and faith. Taj delivered with pure excellence..."
"Award-winning St. Lucian artist Taj Weekes and his band Adowa unite a vibrant diversity of sound with sturdy roots rhythms and lush, thoughtful arrangements... Though long hailed by reggae fans, Weekes defies simple genre formulas in search of a purity of sound that appeals to a diverse and enthusiastic audience."
"Weekes and his band Adowa bring passion into their acoustic roots-rock rhythm, which has a tinge of African folk in the mix... Be prepared for some soul-inspiring, expressive music that will get you swaggering and maybe even inspire some emotions of your own."
"Taj Weekes’ music mirrors an intense passion for social conscience in worldviews balanced by a calming sense of humility... His music flows in the vein of poetry. His unique lyrics are laced through rhythms that combine roots style reggae, afro-folk, rock and jazz."
"Hailing from the lush Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Taj and Adowa delivered an outstanding performance evidenced by the sea of fans held in a lyrical and musical trance. Taj Weekes is much more than a singer. Taj, in his humble unassuming manner, implored a universal consciousness while delivering a unique blend of bluesy reggae.
He is a poet with rare vision, lacing songs with poignant moments partnered to catastrophic events. His writing eloquence reduces complex issues to simplistic evidence. Featuring many songs from his most recent cd, 'A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen', on Jatta Records, Taj stokes the intellectual furnace while providing a soothing medium to safely process thoughts into inspiration.
His musical presentations are a compelling form of activism calling to those who have lost faith in the power of the music. His lyrics call to those who recognize the power is still within the people."
"Rightly one of the most acclaimed reggae artists to emerge in recent years, St. Lucia’s Taj Weekes returns with a third release that’s more than simply a worthy successor to the first two. It’s everything a reggae release ought to be: conscious, topical, heartfelt, thoughtful, optimistic despite an often-dark outlook and rooted while embracing some measure of sounds outside the reggae realm.
Under 39 minutes in length but without so much as a second wasted, A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen has so many great moments that it’s hard to know where to begin or end. Listen, immerse and enjoy."
"There is a certain style of roots reggae pioneered and popularized by the late Bob Marley, where many latter-day cultural singers rightly fear to tread. Its swung rhythms, bouncy clavinet, Scratch Perry-inspired, curiously-phrased vocals and rebel stance can easily sound hackneyed in the wrong hands.
Yet once again, the NYC-based St. Lucian singer Taj Weekes and his band Adowa (named for the Ethiopian victory over the Italians in 1896) have stepped up to the plate with the confidence that sires success. Just like 2008's predecessor Deidem, third album A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen indicates the kind of special talent who can update this archetypal persona and make it work."
Ted Boothroyd - Music Reviewer
"Contemporary reggae takes many forms, some of them bland or ugly or downright destructive. But some encompass art, art as valid as anything from reggae’s past, as valid as anything I’m hearing from any other present musical genre. This is where Taj Weekes and Adowa’s new album fits in. For me it represents the most appealing and rewarding manifestation of reggae now being created. Musically, lyrically and rhythmically it not only reflects the best from the past, but urges the genre to higher heights.
Yes, remarkable creativity, in large measures and small, has been at work here. Musically vibrant, emotionally challenging and intellectually stimulating, A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen is the kind of reggae, or rather the kind of music – or rather the kind of art – that this world needs."
"If there was ever an intensely different but perfect roots reggae album, this is it. Probably one of the best albums I have heard in a long time, this album just captures every emotion that you could ever want from any album of any music of any genre. The exquisite songwriting and superb musicianship take this album to a Bob Marley par of reggae pureness."
A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen listed as one of "The Top 20 Reggae Albums of 2010"
"The third record from the New York based St. Lucian tightened up his classic soul rebel music and poetic lyrics. Less bleak than 2008’s Deidem yet still emotionally-charged through and through."
A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen listed as one of "Top 15 Best Reggae Albums of 2010"
Janjaweed Single Reviews
"The video is done in a captivating style of animation that turns the story of the Janjaweed into a metaphorical tale about a botanical infestation that sweeps across the land. The depiction of the Janjaweed as a species of cancerous floral cyclops seems like something out of Dr. Seuss’s nightmares, but the fantastical images imbue the song with a semblance of grandeur, as if to say, 'The Janjaweed are more than just criminals, they are a supernatural force of pure malevolence.'"
"This is your Daily 2% – Chilled and Ready to Serve. This new reggae tune came across my desk, at just the right time, because I’ve really been slacking on my island music. The track I’m bringing to you today is called "Janjaweed" and although it sounds like a light-hearted track; it actually carries a bit of seriousness with it.There’s also a video that comes with this new track and although it has heavy content; it’s still a great chilled out vibe. So enjoy. Check out the track and chill…."
"Check out this very cool video from Taj Weekes & Adowa, called ”Janjaweed” from the album “A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen” on Jatta Records."
"Of all the songs on the CD, this one stood out for me as it describes the unimaginable, heart-breaking horror of the south Sudanese people at the hands of the merciless Janjaweed militia."
"Some of my favourite freedom fighters fight through music. Bob Marley was one of them, Peter Tosh was another, Taj Weekes is a third. Take a look at this vid, hold a meds and make it your responsibility everyday to EXERCISE your hard-earned liberty…strength to those still fighting for it."
"This entire album is great and this song is one of the best off the album, enjoy."
"The Melodies of both music and vocals intertwine beautifully throughout the album and can be noted especially on 'Janjaweed.'"
"The second song is one of my favorites, "Janjaweed." It starts off with a beautiful futuristic symphony sound that again transforms into an amazing slow paced catchy roots reggae jam. This song, I don't know if it's because of the horses and what sounds to me like a shuffling 1800's town in the background just makes me feel like a weird nostalgic civil war-ish, old timey feeling every time I hear it?? If this is what Taj was going for he did it with ease and tons of likability. A very enjoyable song that I have listened to over and over just to hear in its fullness of sounds."
Rain Rain Single Reviews
"Songwriter Taj Weekes draws inspiration from poetry: the imagery of the elements in ‘Rain Rain’ and the fine ironies of inaction in the Land Of Dreams since the levees broke." Dermot Hussey
Ted Boothroyde - Music Reviewer
"Rain Rain fits perfectly within the rest of Taj Weekes' oeuvre: a gentle and very appealing musical setting for a poetic, yet very pointed, exposure of uncomfortable truths."
"'Rain Rain' falls sweetly like water, a modern reggae blues in sentiment, a poignant message that Taj Weekes & Adowa deliver with sensitivity and heart. We're in for a treat if 'Rain Rain' heralds the upcoming sound of A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen."
"The album features the debut single Rain Rain: a tough song about Hurricane Katrina and the lack of effective action for the residents of the devasted states in August 2005."
"Taj is certainly Shakespeare reincarnated. The poetry in this selection is a work of genius. Can't wait to get this album!"
"Be it New Orleans... or Haiti... or Afghanistan... this song rings true. One of the qualities of reggae music that I so admire is 'skanking softly and carrying a big stick': the riddim may be soothing, but the words tell you something else, altogether. Love it."
"Once again, the gentle voice of Taj Weekes delivers a powerful musical message. Combined with the peaceful and effortless musical backing of Adowa, a number you just want to slip into..."
"What a beauty of a track... makes me really want to dive ears/heart first into the entire album."
"A beautiful song from St. Lucian Reggae artist Taj Weekes, about the pain brought on when Mother Nature decides to show us who’s boss. Can't wait to hear the entire album."