Soca Music History

When discussing soca music history, mention must be made of the Father of Soca, Lord Shorty. He was born Garfield Blackman on October 6, 1941 in Lengua, Trinidad and is widely accepted as the creator of soca music.


Calypso was said to be dying and reggae was the in thing. This prompted Lord Shorty to experiment with calypso rhythms in an effort to create a different type of music. He combined Indian musical instruments like the dholak, tabla, and dhantal with traditional calypso music and it resulted in a new, energetic hybrid called soca. The music was first called solka by Lord Shorty, later changed to soca by a music journalist.

The word "soca" is derived from the first two letters of "soul" and "calypso" respectively.

Lord Shorty introduced soca music to the world in 1973 with his hit song, Indrani. He released an album called Endless Vibrations in 1974 prompting many artists and musicians to gravitate to the new soca style.

As far as soca music history is concerned there is a big misconception that soca music was created by the blending of calypso and soul music. People have been misled into this belief because of the fact that Lord Shorty called soca "soul calypso". In actuality, Lord Shorty did not mean that soca music was a blend of soul music and calypso music but that soca music was "the soul of calypso". Soca is certainly not a blend of the two genres.

One of the biggest songs in the history of soca music, dating back to 1983 is Montserrat singer Arrow's "Hot Hot Hot". This song did much to popularize soca internationally. Other popular soca songs include Sugar Bum Bum - Lord Kitchener (1978), Soca Baptist - Super Blue (1980), Tiny Winey - Byron Lee & The Dragonaires (1985), Nani Wine - Crazy (1989), Teaser - Becket (1990), and Dollar Wine - Collin Lucas (1991).

Throughout the years many soca offshoots have come into being including ragga soca and chutney soca. Today, the most popular versions of the music are groovy soca which is a slower version of soca and power soca which is faster paced. Soca has grown into a massive industry, taking over Carnival celebrations in Caribbean communities around the world.

Further reading:

Soca Music, An Introduction

History of Calypso music.

History of Soca Music

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