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.

Herbs documentary poster with Carl Perkins at bottom centre.
Carl Perkins in the studio with Errol Brown, 2010.
UB40 - Message Of Love feat. House Of Shem (2021)
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
Herbs on the cover of Rip It Up, Carl Perkins at bottom left.
Mana - Ain't Gonna Stop (1987)
House of Shem: Carl, Isaiah, Te Omeka Perkins.
Roy Ventataraman.
House of Shem - Take You There (2013)
House of Shem - Sweet Love (2011, live on Fresh TV)
Carl Perkins and Julian Marley, 2010.
Isaiah and Te Omeka, 2022.
Reggae on the River, California, 2016.
Photo credit: Tom Searcy
House of Shem - Thinking About You (2009)
Isaiah, Carl Perkins, Te Omeka - House of Shem on tour in New Mexico, 2015.
House of Shem - Keep Rising (2010)
House of Shem - Let It Be (2014)
House of Shem from the Harmony album cover shoot.
House of Shem - Anything You Ask For (2017)
Mana with lead vocalist Carl Perkins and Spencer Fusimalohi at MountainRock III
Photo credit: Photo by Paul Moss

Isaac Music

House of Shem



Te Omeka Perkins - vocals, producer

Isaiah Perkins - vocals, producer

Carl Perkins - vocals, producer


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.

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