“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.”
At 15, he left his home island for Canada before fulfilling his lifelong dream of living in New York. “I was playing at restaurants when I heard about this show at this club, SOB’s, that was called ‘Future of Reggae.’ I hired some musicians to play the show with me and most of them stayed with me for over ten years now.”
The band known as Adowa, named after a famous triumphant Ethiopian battle, has completed a new album Love Herb Reggae that they plan to release next February. “The Love came from an interviewer at South by Southwest who didn’t want to talk to me because she said I’m homophobic. So I wrote the song ‘Here I Stand’ which is my take on who am I to judge who people should love as long as they love. Herb isn’t just about marijuana. Herb is also sage and parsley. We use all kinds of herb for a healthy lifestyle, and reggae is about bringing this album back to our roots.”
Those roots of Weekes are still planted in his home of St. Lucia where he is actively involved in the organization They Often Cry Outreach which strives to help underprivileged children in the Caribbean. “St. Lucia has the highest rate of diabetes in kids in the world. We have to do something about it.” Proceeds for their last live album,Pariah in Transit went to the charity and Weekes encourages people wishing to contribute to check out the website theyoftencryoutreach.org.
As for Friday night at the Funky Biscuit, Weekes says you can expect “a roots reggae revival party. We come in, gather ourselves, get on the stage, and do our thing.”
Taj Weekes & Adowa with Spred The Dub, 9 p.m., September 26, at the Funky Biscuit, 303 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton. Tickets cost between $15 and $30. Call 561-395-2929, or visit funkybiscuit.com.