“I remember when we would sit in the garage and play music at 8 in the morning and the neighbors called the cops to tell us to shut it off,” Grant said. “We never had a clue that we were going to form this band and call it Patwa and these places were going to call us and ask us to play. If there is someone who is greater than us and loves us... he will make sure it comes true for us. God is good I must say.”
Grant, originally from Jamaica, has spent the last four years writing and performing original reggae music with the four other members that make up Patwa, a Park City-based band. Spelled Patois, the term means Jamaican slang, or a combination of dialects that make up a language. Grant said the name suited the band, with members from the United States, Jamaica, and England.
The band was formed on a fateful night at the Star Bar in Park City. A group of men were playing music on the stage, but no one was singing. Grant took the opportunity to jump on stage, grab the microphone, and “start doing his thing.”
“I’ve been writing music for 30 years, but I didn’t play. My cousin was the one that gave me the influence to get involved with music,” said Grant. “He would play his guitar and we would beat on the concrete. It was a way to express ourselves and not think about the life we were living. It was our way to get away from the poverty.”
Grant writes most of the songs Patwa performs, although the band plays homage to their reggae influences, such as Michael Proffit, Bob Marley, and Toots Hibbert, to name a few. Although the members come from diverse musical backgrounds, they mostly stick to reggae music in their performances and try to make it upbeat and fun.
“Sometimes it is good to do different music. I have so much in me, and the band can’t get around to playing it all the time. It’s a different style of playing,” Grant said. “I want to do a little bit of dance hall, a little hip hop with reggae and just be on every fence of the reggae feel.”
For the past few summers, Patwa has played on almost every stage that has an outdoor festival that celebrates live bands and reggae music, including such places as Desert Rocks, Ogden, St. George, Canyons Resort in Park City, and Deer Valley. They are often recommended to be the opening band at Park City Live when larger acts come to town, according to Grant.
“Deer Valley is by far the biggest stage we’ve played at so far. I never thought we would be standing on a stage as big as that playing for thousands of people all dancing to our music. It’s a blessing,” he said.
The band has yet to put out an album because of other job commitments, which keeps their exposure small. But Grant says they record many of their live performances and are on track to make a studio album very soon.
“As a local band with no CD, we have so many fans. We must be good,” Grant said. “It’s hard to find a place to record us, but we are working on it as soon as we can.”
This will be the fourth time Patwa has played at World Famous Woody’s Tavern, and Grant said they love coming to Moab.
“The fans are great in Moab. It’s a blessing to know you can leave homebase and play for fans who adore us and want us back,” said Grant. “They always come out to support us, and it’s a great feeling. We love all of them and thank them for supporting us.”
The Patwa Reggae Band can be seen this Friday and Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, at World Famous Woody’s Tavern beginning at 9 p.m. There will be a $4 door cover each night. For more information on the band or to hear their music, visit www.thepatwareggaeband.com.