Good news for reggae music and St. Lucian reggae performer Taj Weekes and his band, Adowa. Weekes' “Pariah in Transit” album has made the preliminary list of nominations for the Best Reggae Album category in the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, according to the musician’s record label, Jatta Records.
Five nominees for the Best Reggae Album category will be announced by the National Academy of Recordings, Arts and Sciences — the Grammy organizers — on Dec. 6 at a Los Angeles concert. The 56th Annual Grammy Awards will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 26, 2014, and will be broadcast on CBS at 8 p.m.
TAJ WEEKES DELIVERS REGGAE ACTIVISM AT BOLL THEATRE
By C.C. Hutten
The University of Dayton and Cityfolk partnership is merging entertainment and education with World Rhythms Conert: Reggae Activist Taj Weekes on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m., at the Boll Theater in Kennedy Union Student Center on UD’s campus.
Weekes said he sees himself as a musician and an ambassador for the Caribbean. “I try to be a modern-day town crier,” he said. The music surely is reggae, but more so a “rhythm to a poor man’s cry.”
Weekes uses soul and reggae to tell stories of today, and believes that people can be reflections of the music they grow up with. He said that he grew up with positive music and with an incredibly generous mother who always made efforts to be charitable. His childhood experiences influence his efforts to send a positive message to the world through service.
“It’s in my music,” Weekes said. I’m not fragmented. It’s one mindset. When I sit down to write a song, I do not write a socially conscious song – a socially conscious song comes out. I am who I am.”
Weekes is currently touring and performing shows in Europe, after a short period in New York City working on music in a “bittersweet” documentary surrounding diabetes awareness. After his concert at UD, he will perform at the Miami Book Festival and then plans to travel back to his home in St. Lucia.
Eileen Carr, the Arts Series cCoordinator at UD, said that a mixed crowd is expected at the event – students, community members, Yellow Springs residents, Cityfolk supporters, reggae fans – and that they all can benefit from his messages.
Weekes said he doesn’t normally have expectations of audiences when it comes to performing. “I come to play music,” he said. “When you travel with expectations, they are always shattered. It’s better to go with open mind, and let it be what it is and accept it for what it is.”
As the throngs of Taj Weekes & Adowa fans know, roots and culture ooze through every vocal and instrumentation on each and every one of the band’s tracks, creating telluric currents that flow through the music, forever changing the listener. A major factor in the band’s musical magnetism is the alluring vocals of lead singer, Taj Weekes, whose peculiar tone captures the listeners’ attention, transporting them to a transic state of musical bliss. The internationally renowned and critically acclaimed roots and reggae band has been trodding the globe in support of its latest effort Pariah in Transit, but before the project’s launch, we were fortunate enough to connect with the group’s front man, Taj Weekes.
WBM: Who is Taj Weekes?
TAJ: Describing who you are means listing your accomplishments so people can fit you into a category to see how best to deal with you. I’d just like to think of Taj Weekes as me.
WBM: When did you realise music was something you wanted to pursue in life?
TAJ: It was an organic process it just kinda happened. We were doing what we loved and lived and it became a profession.
How would you describe your sound, and how has growing up on St. Lucia shaped it?
TAJ: I would leave it up to other people to describe my sound but my sound is me. My growing up, my growing in, my growing out. The places I’ve lived, the people I’ve met. So yes St. Lucia has shaped it, but so has every place else.
WBM: You performed at the world renowned St. Lucia Jazz in 2011. Can you recall the feeling of performing in front of an international audience in your island home?
TAJ: No, not really. Performing is what we do, so there is no greater feeling in front of one audience or the other, but it was nice playing at home for the first time.
WBM: You have released three critically acclaimed albums, and are about to release your fourth album, Pariah in Transit, can you tell us about it?
TAJ: Pariah in Transit is the band captured “live.” The first three albums were studio albums, so that’s the difference.
Taken from Sirius's Satellite Radio's THE JOINT
Thurs 8/15 7:00 pm ETReggae has always rep’d aspirations of building a world community, speaking for the less fortunate, and love songs. Let’s get to know beautiful St. Lucia’s most progressive and well-known musician, Taj Weekes, who is also an accomplished poet, committed humanitarian, and much more! He founded and runs the foundation, "They Often Cry Outreach: (TOCO), establishing a successful Caribbean-grown product line, ‘the good seed’ with part proceeds targeting needs of children and youth. He’s also got a new album 'Pariah In Transit’ (TOCO/Jatta Records)! There’s much to learn about his music and his devoted contribution to the planet. Listen in on our conversation with this uplifting and warm spirit currently touring and just stopping by to brighten up The Joint.
A man of great musical talents, Taj Weekes is also a man of great character. His work bringing aid to children in the Caribbean is one of the many ways that he gives back to the world. As an internationally renowned performer Taj takes the stage as a brilliant musician and also as a voice for the people. His lyrics tell stories of pressing world issues past and present and hit at the core of our human condition, urging you to listen not only to the incredible musicality but also to the messages he has so thoughtfully sewn within. His band Taj Weekes and Adowa have traveled the world, and are been met with adoring audiences and vibrant reviews. This great success hasn't swayed Taj from focusing on his roots, but instead it has grounded him in his work for the people of the Caribbean and strengthened his dream for a better world.
In 2007 Taj founded They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO) which is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit based out of the US that aims to “to help the youth of the Caribbean through sports, health, and enrichment programs. TOCO’s projects range from after school soccer programs, a diabetes awareness campaign, poverty initiatives and music & arts programs”. TOCO was inspired by Taj's experiences growing up in St. Lucia and he began this work helping Caribbean communities before officially founding TOCO.