ST. LUCIAN REGGAE ARTIST TAJ WEEKES AND HIS BAND ADOWA WILL RELEASE THEIR SOPHOMORE ALBUM DEIDEM THIS SPRING IN ADVANCE OF THEIR MUCH ANTICIPATED NATIONAL TOUR
New York, NY ? May 7, 2008 - - Reggae recording artist Taj Weekes is set to shake up the musical landscape once again with his much anticipated sophomore album, DEIDEM (All of Us), set for release through Weekes? independent label, Jatta Records this spring. Jatta Records will distribute the album nationally through the Independent Distributors Collective and Homegrown Music Network. Jatta has also secured a licensing deal with Spectra Records to release the album to major distribution chains throughout the U.S. and Canada. Overseas, Jatta will release DEIDEM in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Switzerland in conjunction with Afrikool/Culture Taxi Records. On the home front, DEIDEM will be released in St. Lucia late summer. In addition to international distribution, DEIDEM will be available online through iTunes, eMusic and other online music distributors.
Following on the heels of their critically acclaimed debut release, Hope & Doubt, Taj Weekes and his band, Adowa introduce audiences to DEIDEM - a classic roots reggae album filled with melodies that are deliberate and focused. Weekes' songwriting is stellar and in the words of veteran reggae music journalist Dermott Hussey of XM Satellite Radio, ?raises the level of songwriting within the idiom of reggae music.? DEIDEM discusses global and humanitarian issues such as global warming, the effects of Hurricane Katrina, and the crisis in Darfur. Though the topics are insightful and serious, the grooves, melodies and rhythms are the familiar backbeats that reggae fans know and love. Tracks like ?Orphans Cry,? with its lilting and classic reggae feel, depicts the suffering and isolation of lost children, making it vivid and real, no longer an abstraction on the television set or newspaper. ?Since Cain,? with its Biblical reference to the first act of violence, laments the endless cycle of brutality while asking what it will take for it to end.The timely track, ?Dark Clouds? warns of the cost of the degradation of the environment. The music matches the lyrics in intensity, painting an aural portrait of a world that is burning. Finding truth among the lies that we are fed by the media is the driving force behind the track, Propaganda War, and in the final track, Louisiana, Taj?s haunting falsetto accompanied by a lamenting piano encompasses the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and its equally tragic aftermath of neglect and complete indifference.
Weekes? commitment to humanitarian issues is further demonstrated by his work as Goodwill Ambassador to the Caribbean and as founder of his charity, They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO), which is dedicated to improving the lives of underprivileged, at-risk and orphaned children around the world. All of the proceeds from the song ?Orphans Cry? will be donated to TOCO to bring awareness to the issues that affect the Caribbean such as HIV/AIDS, global warming and poverty. For more information on TOCO, please visit www.theyoftencryoutreach.org.
Taj Weekes & Adowa will support the release of DEIDEM The band will also perform at major club venues such as Wild Hare in Chicago, Ashkenaz in Berkeley, CA and venues in Los Angeles, Seattle, Boise, St. Louis, Kansas City and New York to name a few with the launch of a multi-city national tour in June which includes major festivals such as the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in California, Taos Solar Music festival in New Mexico, Musikfest in Pennsylvania and the South Bend Reggae Festival in Indiana..
For more information on where to purchase DEIDEM and on tour dates, please visit www.tajandadowa.com and www.myspace.com/tajweekesadowa
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Taj Weekes? music is more than just entertainment. The roots reggae artist?s music stirs thought, provokes discussion and inspires people to think for themselves, free from the constraints of the corporate media. On his beautiful new album DE I DEM
, released on his own independent label, Jatta Records, Weekes sings assuredly and soulfully for the voiceless and the oppressed, taking his music to a new level of commitment and universal appeal.
Born and raised on the island of St. Lucia, Weekes grew up the youngest of ten children in a family where music was always present. The radio was a source of untold treasures, playing everything from rock, country, R&B, soul, jazz and more, and Weekes grew up blissfully unaware of category or genre - to him, great music was (and is) great music no matter what the style. By age five, Taj was singing in church and by eleven he was composing his own calypso music. His older brother?s immersion in Rastafari provided Taj with a spiritual awakening and a context for his burgeoning worldview.
In his late teens, Taj left home for North America to fulfill his musical ambitions. After a stint in Toronto, Weekes came to New York and formed Taj Weekes & Adowa. In 2005, they released their first album, Hope & Doubt
, winning extensive radio play, rave reviews in the press and provided Taj with a platform to begin touring from, through which he began building extensive followings in New England and on the West Coast.
After completing touring behind Hope & Doubt
, Weekes began to write for his next album. During that time, within the span of a year, both of his parents died and the new songs were reflecting the sorrow of the time. ?I was wallowing in my grief,? Weekes explains, ?and I wrote a song called ?Clay Dust To Dust,? which was incredibly depressing. But it was then I realized that it?s not about me. Sure, I lost two people, but there are millions of people dying every day. So right then I scrapped all the songs I had and wrote 12 new ones. I wrote about the world instead of myself.?
Working quickly and with the confidence that came from his recording and performing experience, Weekes has now emerged with DEIDEM
(meaning ?All Of Us?) a meditation on confronting the fragmentation of the world and the search to give everyone a voice in it. Weekes exclaims, ?Whether it?s Darfur, the Middle East, global warming?there?s something going on in every part of the world and we?re trying to bring it all together on one album. No one is talking to each other; the album is designed to create conversation where people can come together.?
Tracks like ?Orphans Cry,? with its lilting and classic reggae feel, depicts the suffering and isolation of lost children, making it vivid and real, no longer an abstraction on the television set or newspaper. ?Since Cain,? with its Biblical reference to the first act of violence, laments the endless cycle of brutality while asking what it will take for it to end (?Is there anyone with sense to put an end to this violence/I kill you, you kill me we got an empty country/and so the cycle goes around/it goes up and comes down/and soon your smile becomes a frown/when karma visits your town?). ?Dark Clouds? warns with an almost Biblical sense of foreboding of the cost of the degradation of the environment: ?Spring comes early/autumn?s late/unwelcome winter procrastinates/see the seas have taken over the land/there?s a fleet of ships resting on the sand/dark clouds don?t always bring rain/but smoke is a sign of fire.? The music matches the lyrics in intensity, painting an aural portrait of a world that is burning.
With a distribution deal in Europe through Sony/Afrikool and touring in the works, Taj will be making his impact felt beginning in 2008. And from every corner of the planet via the Internet, people are responding to the authenticity of Taj Weekes? spirit, heart and commitment to a world where people can communicate with one another to solve issues non-violently. (Taj?s commitment to such a world is backed up his non-profit organization, They Often Cry Outreach, dedicated to improve the lives of disadvantaged children around the world, via music, soccer programs and more.)
For those that have been disadvantaged, abandoned or just alienated by a power structure that values profit over people and fear over hope, Taj Weekes and his new album DE I DEM speaks for them in its refusal to forget those left out of the new ?global economy? and in his continued belief in what is possible through authentic music and real communication.
After the breakthrough of his debut album ?Hope & Doubt?, Taj Weekes was no longer the best kept secret on the indie reggae scene. How could he be when the effort was lauded by critics and fans alike as perhaps the first step reggae had taken since the artistic atrophy of Steel Pulse.
With his sophomore release ?De I Dem?, Weekes draws from his sonic cauldron a music that is as revolutionary as it is evolutionary. His gift for melody and lyrics and the rhythmic propulsion so evident in his first release is here heightened to a new level. He is the rare artist who manages to ask the big questions to an infectious and soulful downbeat, with sounds that move the feet and lyrics that jolt the mind.
This time out, with the stylized use of horns and innovative use of backing vocals, Taj has added to the mix and broadened his aural palette. The play of horns whether somber and majestic as on ?Angry Language or ?Propaganda War?(a chant-down of the first order) or lilting and fleet as with ?Little Fire,? add gravity and punch to the blend. The layered backing vocals counter with subtle contrasts (?Stand' and the catchy-as ? they-come ?Hollow Display are brought to mind) that seem to offer up infinite melodic possibilities. Then there is the fluid guitar work of ?Adoni Xavier, which drips sumptuously throughout, except where it turns rangy and edgy as on the aforementioned Stand!
The closing track ?Louisiana?, which recalls the Katrina tragedy, serves as a stark coda. A sparse arrangement accompanies Weekes slightly estranged vocals, lending a rare power to the piece.
While working on this latest offering Taj Weekes was no doubt confronted with a near impossible task: improve on the artistic success of his first album. As he continues his bold experiment of marrying the traditional with all that is new and exploratory, it is clear, that with ?De I Dem? he has achieved a victory.
They don't want to see us unite! - Top Rankin'