News

Monday
Nov242014

Festival à la Ligne 13 : la conscience écolo des rastas


Le Universal Reggae Festival reversera ses bénéfices à des associations sénégalaises militant pour le recyclage des déchets plastique. Avec Tajweekes, Romy K, un sound system…

  Créé en 2011 par l’association Aphrika Beat, le Universal Reggae Festival, après un détour en 2013 par le Cabaret Sauvage à Paris, revient sur ses terres natales, à Saint-Denis. Il se déroulera samedi 22 novembre à la Ligne 13 et les bénéfices de la soirée iront au soutien d’associations sénégalaises militant pour le recyclage des déchets en plastique. « Nous sommes partis là-bas cet été et nous avons tourné un documentaire sur les rastas du Sénégal que nous allons montrer samedi », annonce Romy Kouo, qui précise que le Sénégal fut le premier pays africain à adopter le reggae, dans les années 70 avec Diony Seka. 


« Nous avons vu là-bas les dégâts causés par les déchets, notamment sur la Langue de Barbarie, au sud de Saint-Louis. Elle est devenue aujourd’hui une véritable déchetterie », se lamente-t-il. Voilà pourquoi Aphrika Beat participe activement au projet Rasta et développement durable.

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Monday
Nov242014

Taj Weekes Talks About Real Love, Herb, and Reggae Music

Taj Weekes Talks About Real Love, Herb, and Reggae Music

 
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From the Caribbean island of St. Lucia to the stage at the Funky Biscuit in Boca where he'll be performing this Friday night with his band Adowa, reggae singer Taj Weekes has undergone a long, interesting musical journey.

"We would sing to our parents in the living room," he reminisced about his early crooning days as the youngest of ten children. "We would sing Nat King Cole, Sly & the Family Stone, the Jackson 5, anything we would hear on the radio. My brothers and I then started a cover band, and I had my own radio program where I'd play whatever music I liked at 13."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUrnaTUXhPAyb5mHiJp_tAVA&feature=player_embedded&v=ywsziqdzoes

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Monday
Nov242014

This weekend in live music: Taj Weekes & Andowa, Bruce Springsteen 65th Birthday Tribute & more

Taj Weekes & Adowa
  • Taj Weekes & Adowa
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28
Taj Weekes & Adowa
 In a movement where homophobia and weed-smoking is the standard, St. Lucia reggae maker Taj Weekes stands out as a Rasta musician who isn’t necessarily referring to the ganj when he waxes on herb (“Herb is sustainability and vitality … it’s engaging in a healthy life and it tasting good,” he commented in a recent press statement), and actually promotes the “One love” creed he preaches (“I would rather see two men loving each other than a man beating a woman. That is what One Love means to me. You cannot define love so easily for other people.”). His pan-Caribbean dub and soul-infused sounds are similarly warm while Taj’s vocals are sweet, high-toned pipings. (Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin)

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Monday
Nov242014

Taj Weekes: Here I Stand for Love


Love, love, love. It really is all you need. That’s what Taj Weekes believes. And love doesn’t know boundaries. It’s the heartbeat of life. It doesn’t matter who you love, just as long as you do love. That’s the message behind “Here I Stand” the first single from Taj Weekes & Adowa’s fifth album, Love, Herb & Reggae, coming in early 2015.

“Love is a human rights issue,” Weekes states. “That’s the important thing. We shouldn’t be defining people by their sexuality. Who’s the one to decide what’s ‘normal,’ anyway? What we need is more love in this world, more diversity. The single is me: I’m stating my position and taking my stand.”

Musically, “Here I Stand” comes as a surprise from someone known as a reggae musician. On this outing the reggae influence is very subtle, behind a tango rhythm and blues-y chord changes that frame Weekes’s passionate vocal delivery

“The reggae is still there,” Weekes explains. “It’s just in a different place. The drums and bass add the flavor. We kept it simple to focus attention on the lyrics. We wanted it to be a track everyone would notice.

Born in St. Lucia in the Caribbean and now living in New York, Weeks knows all too well about the fixed way some people can see others.

“At SXSW two years ago a journalist refused to interview me because she said I was ‘a homophobic rasta,’” Weekes recalls.  “She made an assumption and I realized other people make that assumption about all reggae musicians. She did not find out that I do not care who people sleep with. She did not find out that I would rather see two men loving each other than a man beating a woman. You cannot define love so easily for other people.”

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Monday
Nov242014

Here I Stand by Taj Weekes & Adowa

By Angus Taylor on Friday, September 26, 2014 - Comment

Stand by for a new album in 2015.

- See more at: http://unitedreggae.com/news/n1759/092614/here-i-stand-by-taj-weekes-adowa#sthash.Cb5zjPVL.dpuf

St Lucian singer, poet, activist and all round reggae renaissance man Taj Weekes has been working on a fourth studio album with his band Adowa, Love Herb and Reggae.

Originally due in 2014 it is now announced for early next year. In the meantime Taj releases the first single Here I Stand this October.

Musically and lyrically fearless, Here I Stand discusses same sex relationships over a fusion of reggae, blues and tango.

taj

“Love is a human rights issue,” says Weekes in a press release. “That’s the important thing. We shouldn’t be defining people by their sexuality. Who’s the one to decide what’s ‘normal’, anyway? What we need is more love in this world, more diversity. The single is me: I’m stating my position and taking my stand.”

Here I Stand is out on October 28th on Jatta Records.

- See more at: http://unitedreggae.com/news/n1759/092614/here-i-stand-by-taj-weekes-adowa#sthash.Cb5zjPVL.dpuf

Monday
Nov242014


ST. LOUIS — One love. It’s much more than a song. For Rastafarians, it’s a creed. And for reggae musician Taj Weekes it’s the way to live his life.

Weekes and his band Adowa will play Friday Sept. 12 at the Gramophone in St. Louis. The show starts at 9 p.m.

 

Weekes will be performing music from his upcoming album, “Love Herb Reggae,” but for the silver-voiced reggae master from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, it’s about much more than music.

 

“I’ve heard a lot about homophobic rastas,’” Taj Weekes recalled. “I realized other people make that assumption about all reggae musicians. But I would rather see two men loving each other than a man beating a woman. That is what ‘One Love’ means to me. You cannot define love so easily for other people.”

 

At the same time, Weekes challenges popular conceptions about “herb.”

 

“Herb means everything healthy,” Weekes said. “Herb is tea and sage and parsley. Hemp is an herb with no THC. Herb is sustainability and vitality. Herb is not about GMOs or dropping out on drugs. It’s engaging in a healthy life and it tasting good.”

 

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Monday
Nov242014

 

Taj Weekes est une énigme. D’un côté, un homme profondément sérieux et intensément passionné par ses visions du monde et d’un autre côté un homme humble et avenant au sourire facile. Weekes a un talent de «caméléon» pour se fondre dans l’environnement dans lequel il est puisqu’il observe en permanence le monde qui l’entoure, mais dès qu’il monte sur scène, dreadlocks au vent, il révèle l’allure royale d’un puissant lion en élevant sa voix.

 La musique de Taj Weekes est bien plus qu’un simple divertissement. Elle provoque la discussion et pousse les gens à penser par eux-mêmes. Né et élevé sur l’île de Ste Lucie, Weekes est le plus jeune d’une fratrie de dix enfants dans une famille où la musique a toujours été omniprésente. A l ‘âge de cinq ans, Weekes chantait à l’église et dès neuf ans, lui et ses frères ont formé un groupe, jouant sur les scènes locales tout autour de l’île.

Son plus grand frère s’immergea dans le Rastafarisme ce qui provoqua chez Weekes un réveil spirituel et une vison du monde nouveau. A la fi n de son adolescence, Weekes quitte la maison pour poursuivre ses rêves de musicien et atterrit en Amérique du Nord. Après un court passage à Toronto, il s’envole pour New York où il monte son groupe Taj Weekes & Adowa, nom donné en l’honneur de son grand-père Ethiopien après la bataille de 1896 durant laquelle les Ethiopiens résistèrent à la colonisation italienne. En 2005, le groupe a sorti son premier album, Hope & Doubt, qui obtint des critiques dithyrambiques et des diffusions massives en radio. Ce premier album permit à Taj Weekes & Adowa de tourner sur scène, de mieux défendre cet opus et de se créer une base de fans allant de la Nouvelle Angleterre à la Côte Ouest !

Suite à cette tournée, Weekes commence l’écriture de son album suivant. En l’espace d’une année, l’artiste perd ses deux parents et ses nouvelles chansons refl ètent la profonde tristesse propre à cette période. Weekes sort son deuxième album « Deidem » (qui signifi e « All of Us »), une méditation confrontant la fragmentation du monde et la quête de donner à chacun une place dans celui-ci.

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Monday
Nov242014

REGGAE ARTIST TAJ WEEKES ELIMINATES RASTA STEREOTYPES WITH NEW ALBUM

 on October 20, 2014

tajweekes

The social ills so easily disregarded or stitched into the fabric of everyday life in the Caribbean is where reggae artist Taj Weekes draws inspiration from. On his upcoming fourth album “Love Herb and Reggae,” scheduled for release in February 2015, he attempts to shatter long held stereotypes about Rastafarians, like himself, using his voice and lyrics with a strong message.

On the album’s first single–“Here I Stand”–the native St. Lucian uses his talents to endorse same sex relationships. It’s a radical stance given some famous reggae artists strictly oppose that lifestyle and proudly sing their disapproval. While on tour, Weekes was accused of being that homophobic Rasta by an interviewer at the South by SouthWest Music Festival. Weekes says the idea that “everybody with locs” shares the same views is what prompted him to release the uptempo bass-infused tune as the album’s debut song.

“People tend to generalize, I don’t think every Rasta is homophobic or against gay lifestyles. They’re probably afraid to say they aren’t because the islands they live in may accuse them of being gay. I don’t care if people call me gay. In this stage of my life I have to live in my truth,” expresses Weekes.

The reggae artist/poet is using his reluctant LGBT advocacy to enlighten listeners about the “Love Herb and Reggae” album’s meaning and message.

“The ‘Love’ portion of the album is the first single. It leaps off the album by inviting everyone in, no matter who their sexual partner is,” explains Weekes. ” ‘Herb’ is not used in the sense of sensationalizing of marijuana. It’s being used as a sense of healthy lifestyle. Rasta uses all kinds of herbs–parsley, dandelion, thistle. And ‘Reggae’ is to go back to being a town crier’s kind of voice.”

https://soundcloud.com/taj-weekes/here-i-stand 

Weekes says jazz influences is what sets “Love Herb and Reggae” apart from his other albums with his Adowa band, named after an Ethiopian town, but sticks to the roots of reggae.

“We’re stretching it a little bit, but still sticking to the root–we have not ended the bass or quickened it,” assures Weekes.

The Rasta is also enlarging his philanthropic pursuits to combat teacher-to-student disciplinary violence through his They Often Cry Outreach foundation. The foundation, started in 2007, aims to preserve the health and stability of children in St. Lucia.

Last year, Weekes was recognized by UNICEF for his social awareness campaigns addressing high rates of diabetes and domestic violence in the Caribbean and named Champion of Children. Weekes views the honor as a call to action.

“If I’m the champion of children I need to address inequality where I see it.”

Monday
Nov242014

Taj Weekes spreads love on new single off forthcoming album

16406-LHR_20Cover_20ArtSt. Lucian reggae singer and songwriter Taj Weekes has once again teamed up with his band Adowa for another album.

Love, Herb & Reggae drops early next year and the first single off the set – Here I Stand – will be released on October 28.

“Love is a human rights issue. That’s the important thing. We shouldn’t be defining people by their sexuality. Who’s the one to decide what’s ‘normal,’ anyway? What we need is more love in this world, more diversity. The single is me: I’m stating my position and taking my stand,” states Taj Weekes in a press release.

Taj Weekes has always experimented with arrangements and is no stranger to rock and pop. And this is showcased on Here I Stand. The reggae influence is subtle on this one, and the rhythm leans heavily towards tango (!) and blues.

“The reggae is still there, it’s just in a different place. The drums and bass add the flavor. We kept it simple to focus attention on the lyrics. We wanted it to be a track everyone would notice,” explains Taj Weekes, and adds:

“When I started out I just wanted to put a poem over a riddim. Now I’ve found my voice. I want to be true to the art form I’ve chosen, whatever comes from it.”

Monday
Nov242014

Bikes For Tykes: Taj Weekes + Friends Give Back to St. Lucia’s Youth

Words by Natalie Weiner—

tajweekeskids

Taj Weekes and Wilson Jn. Baptiste are both based in New York, but through their charitable efforts they’re working to foster development in their native Saint Lucia. Weekes, recently named the island’s UNICEF Champion for Children, is an internationally successful musician who backs up his humanitarian lyrics by working for the youth of Saint Lucia through his charity TOCO (They Often Cry Outreach). Baptiste is an entrepreneur whose business, The Gems of St. Lucia, aims to bring tourists to the lesser-known parts of the island, encouraging off-season visits and overall growth in Saint Lucia’s tourism industry.

Over the holidays, the two came together to support the island’s most precious resource — its children. With the help of JetBlue, the two organized the shipment of 150 bicycles to Lucia, which were then distributed to children at a local school’s annual Christmas party. Diabetes is as much of an epidemic in the Caribbean as it is in the United States, which is why Weekes is committed to encouraging local youth to maintain active lifestyles—previously he’s donated items like scooters and soccer balls.

In his words, “We are our brother’s keepers. To whom much is given, much is expected. I can help and I will do whatever is in my power to help the children of Saint Lucia. After all, how many more things do I need? I can’t drive 5 cars, I don’t need 5 cars… but I can make a contribution at home.”

bicycles

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