House of Shem and Carl Perkins

House of Shem are one of the most popular reggae acts in Aotearoa and were the first roots reggae group to have an album debut at No.1. The band was formed by Carl Perkins, who was already well-known for his work in Herbs and Mana. Eventually his sons Te Omeka and Isaiah became integral group members, which has meant that House of Shem has been able to continue on beyond Carl Perkins’ death in 2018.

Perkins’ musical career could easily fill an article on its own, but let’s start by going through some of the key moments that led up to him forming House of Shem.

Isaiah and Te Omeka, 2022.
UB40 - Message Of Love feat. House Of Shem (2021)
House of Shem - Thinking About You (2009)
Herbs documentary poster with Carl Perkins at bottom centre.
House of Shem from the Harmony album cover shoot.
Herbs on the cover of Rip It Up, Carl Perkins at bottom left.
Carl Perkins in the studio with Errol Brown, 2010.
Carl Perkins and Julian Marley, 2010.
Mana with lead vocalist Carl Perkins and Spencer Fusimalohi at MountainRock III
Photo credit: Photo by Paul Moss
Roy Ventataraman.
House of Shem - Anything You Ask For (2017)
Reggae on the River, California, 2016.
Photo credit: Tom Searcy
House of Shem: Carl, Isaiah, Te Omeka Perkins.
House of Shem - Sweet Love (2011, live on Fresh TV)
Toni Fonoti (centre) with members of House Of Shem and family and friends, Brisbane, 2012. Fonoti’s replacement in Herbs and House Of Shem leader Carl Perkins is middle row, extreme right. Fonoti’s sons Yacob (left) and Noah are front, extreme right. 
Photo credit: Photo by David Walker
House of Shem - Let It Be (2014)
Isaiah, Carl Perkins, Te Omeka - House of Shem on tour in New Mexico, 2015.
House of Shem - Take You There (2013)
House of Shem - Keep Rising (2010)

The House of Shem song ‘Island Vibration’ features steel guitar playing by legendary local musician, Ben Tawhiti.

In 2013, House of Shem recorded the song ‘Back In My Life’ with Awa (Nesian Mystik) for his second solo EP and appeared on the ‘Sensitive to A Smile’ charity single which reached No.2 on the charts, raising money to combat family violence.

In 2014, Carl’s parents Te Omeka “Peter” Perkins and Mary Perkins sang with his aunt Ailsa Matoe as “We Three” on the TV talent show, Homai Te Pakipaki and made it to the grand final.

House of Shem contributed the track ‘So Much Trouble in the World’ to the Stir It Up: Aotearoa's Tribute to Bob Marley (2016) compilation and their production team worked on the David Grace track that appears on the album.

John “Dready Dan” Henare, who played keyboards for Mana and House of Shem passed away in 2019.


Isaac Music

House of Shem



Te Omeka Perkins - vocals, producer

Isaiah Perkins - vocals, producer

Carl Perkins - vocals, producer

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