As the throngs of Taj Weekes & Adowa fans know, roots and culture ooze through every vocal and instrumentation on each and every one of the band’s tracks, creating telluric currents that flow through the music, forever changing the listener. A major factor in the band’s musical magnetism is the alluring vocals of lead singer, Taj Weekes, whose peculiar tone captures the listeners’ attention, transporting them to a transic state of musical bliss. The internationally renowned and critically acclaimed roots and reggae band has been trodding the globe in support of its latest effort Pariah in Transit, but before the project’s launch, we were fortunate enough to connect with the group’s front man, Taj Weekes.
WBM: Who is Taj Weekes?
TAJ: Describing who you are means listing your accomplishments so people can fit you into a category to see how best to deal with you. I’d just like to think of Taj Weekes as me.
WBM: When did you realise music was something you wanted to pursue in life?
TAJ: It was an organic process it just kinda happened. We were doing what we loved and lived and it became a profession.
How would you describe your sound, and how has growing up on St. Lucia shaped it?
TAJ: I would leave it up to other people to describe my sound but my sound is me. My growing up, my growing in, my growing out. The places I’ve lived, the people I’ve met. So yes St. Lucia has shaped it, but so has every place else.
WBM: You performed at the world renowned St. Lucia Jazz in 2011. Can you recall the feeling of performing in front of an international audience in your island home?
TAJ: No, not really. Performing is what we do, so there is no greater feeling in front of one audience or the other, but it was nice playing at home for the first time.
WBM: You have released three critically acclaimed albums, and are about to release your fourth album, Pariah in Transit, can you tell us about it?
TAJ: Pariah in Transit is the band captured “live.” The first three albums were studio albums, so that’s the difference.
WBM: How does the tone of Pariah in Transit differ from those of your previous albums?
TAJ: The energy level is different, there’s raw live energy on Pariah. Studio albums have a different kind of controlled vibration; you can do over ‘til it’s right. With “live” you have to lay it down and play it right, ‘cause when it gets printed, it is what it is.
WBM: What was the inspiration behind naming the album Pariah in Transit?
TAJ: It’s kinda how I feel…I feel like and outsider who is just passing through. The ‘in transit’ part signifies movement and the fact that the album is of songs recorded while on tour.
WBM: Will there be a tour in support of this project, and can you give us any tentative venues and dates?
TAJ: Yes, Western Canada (Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Vancouver jazz Festivals), Europe, Amsterdam, Berlin etc….
WBM: As well as being an artiste, I know that you are also an activist. Can you tell us about your non-profit organisation TOCO (They Often Cry Outreach)?
TAJ: It was set up to bring a little light on the plight of the children living in the islands, in the sun, and, more so, for the children in St. Lucia.
WBM: Why does what you do matter?
TAJ: Because I am my brother’s keeper.
WBM: Define success
TAJ: Being happy with what you do.
WBM: Biggest Accomplishment to date?
TAJ: Being a father is most definitely my biggest accomplishment to date.
WBM: What’s one thing that many don’t know about you?
TAJ: I don’t know what people know and don’t about me, and I’m fine with it being that way. I think it’s important that people not know everything about you, gotta keep a little something to oneself.
WBM: If you could sing only one of your songs for the remainder of your musical career, which one would it be and why?
TAJ: Can’t properly answer that question because there is no one all-encompassing song that defines me or the message we are trying to bring forward. There’s also not one song that resonates with everyone. Songs are written for different reasons about different situations or things. There is no one subject matter that stands head and shoulders above the rest, no situation that greater than the other in my songs. So to answer your question, there would not be only one song.
WBM: Any advice for those looking to pursue their goals and dreams?
TAJ: Yes. Keep pursuing your goals and dreams. There are never goals or dreams achieved unless challenged by the lion and the ass…so keep on keeping on.