Artist profiles: Taj Weekes

Taj Weekes

Taj Weekes is a singer-songwriter who tells tales of poverty, oppression hopelessness and rejection, counterweighing them each with a message of Rastafari faith and spirituality. On his debut CD Hope and Doubt Taj sings about life’s struggles.

Born the youngest of ten children, Taj Weekes grew up on the Caribbean island of St Lucia. He became aware of the disparity between the affluent tourists and the striving locals early on. Religion and music were the two main salvations for the Weekes family, St. Lucians of Ethiopian descent and the songs they learned at church often followed them home. “It was like a Caribbean Von Trapp family. Someone was always singing in some corner of the house or entertaining the rest of us,” explains Weekes. While church music played a big role in Taj’s life so did the sounds that emanated from his stereo: everything from The Mighty Sparrow to Paul Simon to Nat King Cole. Taj himself began singing by age five and started composing his own calypso music by the time he was eleven years old.

When his role model and older brother Desmond nicknamed MPLA discovered Rastafarianism Taj quickly had his own spiritual awakening. Yet by his late teens Taj found the island’s 238 square miles too stifling and grew weary of its rigid dichotomies. He headed for the vast opportunity-filled North American mainland to pursue a music career: first to Toronto and then to New York where he found a home.

Taj formed a band and named it Adowa in tribute to his Ethiopian grandfather and to an 1896 battle in which Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II thwarted off Italian invaders, a milestone in Rastafarian history. He has been cultivating a following in New York City ever since singing his stories at venues such as S.O.B.’s, Lion’s Den, the Apollo and Irving Plaza.

Taj Weekes – Photo by TryTing

In 2019, Weekes released 1.5 Is Still Alive featuring Kendel Hippolyte, Linda Chocolate Berthier, Zara McFarlane, Razia Said, Aaron Silk, Bushman, Kenyatta Hill, Jafe Paulino, Sidney Mills

Discography:

Hope & Doubt (AlphaPocket Records/Jatta Records, 2005)
Deidem (Jatta Records, 2008)
A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen (Jatta Records, 2010)
Pariah In Transit live (Jatta Records 2013)
Love Herb & Reggae (Jatta Records, 2016)
1.5 Is Still Alive (Jatta Records, 2019)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.
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