Taj Weekes and Adowa
Taj Weekes is dreadlocked Rastafarian musician, bred in St. Lucia, but shaped by intercontinental life experience. An unwavering, energetic humanitarian, his dedication extends beyond his socially conscious lyrics into activism. He is a UNICEF Champion for Children and founder of his children’s charity, They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO). Aside from brains, heart, and a great smile, Weekes is a creative, poetic singer-songwriter who fronts a dynamic reggae band named Adowa, a disciplined team of talented musicians from differing cultures and with broad musical influences. The name salutes the battle of Adowa in 1896, which ensured sovereignty for Ethiopia and proved crucial in the advancement of African independence and pride. Adowa’s specific line-up alternates from time to time, but at a typical gig you might see a bassist from Dominica, a keyboardist with roots in Barbados, a St. Lucian on drums, a Trinidadian guitarist, and backup singers who infuse elements of jazz, R&B and soul. What’s consistent is that the eclectic styles and tastes of its members ensure a freshness and inventiveness to Adowa’s arrangements. The faces may change, but the excellent musicianship, and the vibe, remain.
Taj Weekes & Adowa have released five critically acclaimed albums of musically adventurous reggae – Love, Herb & Reggae (2016), Pariah in Transit (2014), A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen (2010), DEIDEM (2008), Hope & Doubt (2005) – all of which showcase Taj’s unblinking and sophisticated view of the world. This balance between seeing what is and seeking what should be clearly powers his social activism. It also imbues his songs with a pragmatic, non-judgmental optimism that is not merely unusual in reggae, but almost unique. So what makes Taj Weekes special can be summarized in three words: MUSICIAN. POET. HUMANITARIAN.