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Down memory lane with Andy Weekes


Down memory lane with Andy Weekes

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ANDY WEEKES REALLY enjoyed performing with the Sandpebbles last Saturday night. Affable and easy-going, the drummer and singer of the band which began performing back in the mid-1960s was glad to be back with bandmates John and Roger Gibbs and Norman Barrow for Barbados’ 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations.

It was the first time in 41 years that they were on stage as a band.

Sitting down for a chat with EASY magazine after the performance at Timeless, held at Lucky Horseshoe in Bagatelle, Weekes spoke about the show and what he’s been up to since leaving the island in 1980.

“Tonight was super. I like it. It was really cool. The crowd was very responsive and some of them knew the songs that we did, the over-40 age group, you know. Some of them don’t know us playing live, only when the songs are played on the radio.

“Some know the name Sandpebbles but not knowing who the Sandpebbles are. Many people know me but they don’t know that I sing the song I Am A Barbadian. They have never seen me come out on stage and sing. It was cool. I enjoyed it,” he said

The fans clearly enjoyed having Sandpebbles together again. Not only did they sing along with the songs during the set but they danced, cheered and hollered when the band struck up the chords for their favourites, some of which were hits way before this writer was even a thought.

Tunes such as Jump To The Bimshire Beat, Another Dream, Eres Tu (Touch The Wind), Welcome The Morning Sun, De Keys, Wuh Yuh Got To Gimme Fuh Christmas with Sach Moore and then hearing Andy sing I Am A Barbadian was pure nostalgia.

Andy said that when the Sandpebbles broke up he played with a couple of bands before heading in 1980 to Germany, where he went to sing with Charles Lewis and John Norville. Since then he has been in the European country playing music all the time.

Now he has his own band, AndiDred & DiBaba, which plays mainly reggae and lovers rock. You can check them out on YouTube.

After migrating he did not continue with spouge because there was no niche for it.

“In Germany we don’t have the outlet for spouge and we decided, because I was playing in a trio, that we were doing kizomba (a dance and music originating in Angola in the 1970s) and zouk. One of the members, he was from Mozambique and we were doing reggae and soca.

“You don’t have the musicians over there with the knowledge to play spouge. It’s different as compared to a Bajan who would know what spouge is. I did a couple low budget recordings of my own – three or four spouge songs – but here it is okay.”

Why did the son of cricket legend Sir Everton Weekes who had some success as a youth cricketer never continue in the sport?

“I always loved cricket and football but music was one of my first loves. I wanted to play music and I know that maybe I might have been cool with cricket but with music I had the opportunity to really do something with music. For me it was okay.

“Moving overseas did help with my music. Yes, it did because I started playing music from at school at Foundation. I was playing music at school at the end-of-term concerts. We built our own drums from the woodwork [class]. Ricky Aimey, Nos Taylor, a lot of us from Foundation were doing a little thing at the end-of-term.

“We used to tell our parents we were going to school and we used to meet by Derrick, a friend of ours and practice. We would put on our uniforms from at home, go by Derrick until 3:30 [p.m.] . . . . We used to leave our clothes and change by him and come back home in our uniforms. I don’t know if our parents knew [but later] we were honest to say ‘Mum, we were by Derrick Joseph’. It was cool.”

As for being home for the 50th Independence celebrations Andy said, “it was cool” and he did not want to dwell on the negatives.

“I’ve seen some positives and some negatives . . . like the roads I don’t like. The drivers on the streets are crazy, the drainage . . . but I don’t want to go into that negative thing, I love the island and I think you should build the island up . . . ,” he added.

He confessed that he has not really heard modern Barbadian music.

“I heard it now in November and December and maybe after that it is finished, but I don’t know. I don’t hear when I go on YouTube and check the music, its 1950s to 1970s music from Barbados but normally I don’t hear anything.”

This was his third trip back home since leaving but he could be back for Crop Over next year as he has never been back for the annual festival.

“ . . . . I don’t usually come for Crop Over. Maybe I will have to come next year,” he said with a smile. (GBM)