Taken From Carbondale Rocks
By Leah Williams
The summer sets on another Sunset when Taj Weekes and Adowa bring socially conscious reggae Thursday, July 27 to the Shryock Auditorium steps.
Growing up in the Caribbean, Weekes recalled entertaining at a young age.
“We would all line up in the living room and entertain and sing for my dad,” Weekes told Nightlife. “I sang in school and at church…. I think you are very much the product of the music you grew up with.”
A professional singer since he was ten, Weekes now fronts Adowa, which includes Burt “Rads” Desiree on bass, Wayne “Adoni” Xavier on lead guitar, Jafe Paulino on guitar, John Hewitt and Ayo Kato on keyboards, and Baldwin Brown on drums. Valerie Kelley and Jennifer Schultheis supply background vocals.
Weekes and Adowa released a fifth studio album, Love, Herb, and Reggae, in 2015, a record that featured a mellow assortment of reggae tunes that touch on the humanitarian roots of the genre, yet never seem cliché.
A poet and a social activist, Weekes extends his harmonious humanitarian efforts beyond his song lyrics. He works with the United Nations as a UNICEF Champion for Children and started a children’s charity, They Often Cry Outreach.
Weekes and Adowa started their current, twenty-nine city tour in June. Weekes plans to release a new album this January, and has incorporated many of the new songs into the band’s soundcheck and set list.
Much of the material for the new record, Weekes said, was inspired after seeing the efforts at the Standing Rock Indian Tribe Reservation and the ongoing protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“The level of love that I saw at Standing Rock kind of overwhelmed me,” Weekes said. “I understand people standing up for family and for friends, but for land that isn’t yours and for people you don’t know, it was incredible.”
Weekes has earned accolades for his smart, socially sentient writing style, maintaining a self-described “unblinking and sophisticated view of the world,” as his press bio states. Weekes explained that the balance between seeing what is and seeking what should be can be mutually understood if humanity is taken into consideration.
“I think love was the kind of influence for the album— love for humans, and lack of love for those who think it’s their right to take it away,” he said.
Weekes said he hopes that the melodic message behind the music will resonate with the audience and help listeners realize the power in united fronts. He quotes one of his lyrics— “You and I have no war, except the war we’re given”— as a universal truth.
“We hope to put out positive vibes,” he said. “Within our shows could be one little spark that could start a fire in one possible place. Not a destructive kind of fire, but if we can look past the bullshit and really see what’s going on, that’s the kind of fire we want to start.”
For more information, check out <https://www.TajWeekes.com>.
who: Taj Weekes and Adowa
what: Sunset Concert Series (reggae)
where: Steps of Shryock Auditorium
when: Thursday, July 27