Soca Music - An Introduction, Part 3

Leading artists in soca music

Some big names in the soca industry are Alison Hinds, Atlantik, Machel Montano, Destra Garcia, KMC, Shurwayne Winchester, Denise Belfon, Bunji Garlin, Iwer George, Bomani, Kevin Lyttle, Alpha, Ninja Dan, Tizzy, Claudette Peters, Burning Flames, Nicole David, Maximus Dan, Mr Killa, Mantius Cazaubon, Fireman Hooper, Jamesy P, Tallpree, Ricky T, Qpid, and Krosfyah. Of course, there are many more soca artists that can be added to this list, but these are the ones which come to mind at present. 

The biggest producers of soca are Trinidad, Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent, Grenada and Antigua. In my view, there needs to be more cooperation between the various islands of the Caribbean if soca is to advance. Trinidad and Barbados music has made the biggest impact in the Caribbean but the other islands are slowly becoming a force to reckon with.

What is the history of soca music? How did this genre come about? Let's flash back for a moment. Ras Shorty I, born

Garfield Blackman is widely accepted as the creator of soca. It was widely felt that calypso was dying and that reggae was taking over, and this prompted Ras Shorty (known as Lord Shorty at the time) to experiment with the calypso genre in an attempt to create something new. He fused Indian rhythm instruments such as the dholak, tabla and dhantal, with traditional calypso music, and a new energetic musical hybrid called soca was born. The new hybrid was initially called solka and later changed to soca. Lord Shorty introduced soca to the world in 1973, with his hit song, Indrani. He adopted the name Ras Shorty I after being converted to Rastafarianism.

Soca offshoots include groovy soca, ragga soca, and chutney soca. We've already looked at groovy soca. Ragga soca, pioneered by Kenny Phillips from Trinidad, has a very strong reggae/dancehall influence. There is more rapping/chanting than singing in this type of song. Soca artists, Bunji Garlin and Maximus Dan from Trinidad are leaders in the ragga field. Chutney soca incorporates soca elements and Hindi-English lyrics. It makes use of Indian instruments like the dholak and dhantal. This form of music is indigenous to the southern Caribbean, primarily Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname.

Soca Music, An Introduction, Part One
Soca Introduction, Part Two
Soca Introduction, Part Three

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