Written by: Toni Nicholas
A St. Lucian is one step closer to becoming the first to represent his country at the prestigious Grammy Awards. Reggae recording artiste Taj Weekes and his band Adowa with their sophomore album DEIDEM has made it to the preliminary selection of albums being considered for “Best Reggae Album.” The 51st Annual Grammy Awards will be held on February 8, 2009, however the nominations announcement will be done during a prime time television special on CBS December 3rd.
DEIDEM was received with warm reviews when it was released earlier this year with Billboard magazine stating that “DEIDEM is one of six albums that herald the roots rock resurgence.” Veteran music journalist and XM Satellite Radio Program Director Dermot Hussey described DEIDEM as “raising the level of songwriting within the idiom of reggae music.”
According to Taj Weekes, his musical journey has been one with many ups and downs and crossroads but the hard work put into DEIDEM and the acceptance of the music has been all worth it. Weekes’ commitment to humanitarian issues is demonstrated by his work as Goodwill Ambassador to the Caribbean in cooperation with the International Consortium of Caribbean Professionals (ICCP) and as founder of his charity, They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO), which is dedicated to improving the lives of underprivileged, at-risk and orphaned children in the Caribbean and beyond. A portion of the proceeds from the song “Orphans Cry” will be donated to TOCO to bring awareness to the issues that affect the Caribbean such as global warming, poverty and HIV/AIDS.
Taj Weekes was born and raised in St. Lucia where he listened to a broad range of eclectic music making him impartial to certain genres and simply appreciative of all good music despite genre. It was not until his arrival in New York that he formed the group Taj Weekes & Adowa and released their 2005 debut album HOPE & DOUBT. After losing his parents within the span of one year, Taj Weekes began writing about his sorrows, but later decided to focus on more universal sorrows. Weekes’ concentration on universal experience, rather than personal is further seen by the album title, DEIDEM, meaning “All of Us.”