|This dlargeeptember 2013 needs additional citations for verification. (October 2013)|
|Stylistic origins||Calypso - Soul - Cadence - Indo-Caribbean music|
|Cultural origins||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Typical instruments||Bass - drums - guitar - vocals - trumpet - trombone - drum machine - dholak - tabla - dhantal|
|Derivative forms||Chutney music|
|Chutney soca - Rapso - Reggaeton - Kuduro|
|Music of Trinidad and Tobago - TEMPO Networks - Flagz Radio|
|Music of West Indies/Caribbean|
|Portal: Music of Trinidad and Tobago|
|Media and performance|
|Nationalistic and patriotic songs|
|National anthem||Forged from the Love of Liberty (national anthem)|
Soca simply means the 'Soul of Calypso' and is NOT a fusion of Soul and Calypso as many believe but a fusion of the Afro and Indo Caribbean musical influences originating out of Trinidad. The presence of a large Indian population in Trinidad blended traditional western jazz instruments and Indian musical instruments—particularly the dholak, tabla and dhantal—as demonstrated in Shorty's classic compositions "Ïndrani" and "Shanti Om". The influence of Spanish music from Venezuela also crept into the art form
Every region that Africans were sent to developed a form of Calypso, blending West African Highlife music with new beats. Eastern Caribbean and Belizean beats tended to be much faster than the slower "chip chip" music of Trinidad. Soca changed the bass line from a free flowing bass to a syncopated stuttering bass. Ras Shorty I is credited with this innovation.
Soca has evolved in the last 20 years primarily by musicians from various Anglophone Caribbean countries including Trinidad, Guyana, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, United States Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, Belize and Panama. The speed is now indistinguishable across the region. Many variations exist including groovy soca, party soca, rapso, chutney and a host of others.
The Godfather of Soca was a Trinidadian man named Garfield Blackman who rose to fame as Lord Shorty with his 1963 hit "Cloak and Dagger" and took on the name Ras Shorty. He started out writing songs and performing in the calypso genre. A prolific musician, composer and innovator, Shorty experimented with fusing calypso and elements of Indo-Caribbean music for nearly a decade before unleashing "the soul of calypso,"...soca music.
In the 1970s, he began experimenting with calypso by blending it with American "soul music" and local chutney rhythm, as evident in his smash hit "Sweet Music" the forerunner to Soca. Shorty added Indian instruments, including the dholak, tabla and dhantal.
Shorty was the first to really define his music and with "Indrani" in 1973 and "Endless Vibration" (not just the song but the entire album) in 1975, calypso music really took off in another direction. Later in 1975 Shorty visited his good friend Maestro in Dominica where he stayed (at Maestro's house) for a month while they visited and worked with local cadence artists. You had Maestro experimenting with Calypso and Cadence ("Cadence-lypso"). Sadly a year later Maestro would die in an accident in Dominica and his loss was palpably felt by Shorty, who penned "Higher World" as a tribute.
Shorty had been in Dominica during an Exile One performance of cadence-lypso, and collaborated with Dominica's 1969 Calypso King, Lord Tokyo and two calypso lyricists, Chris Seraphine and Pat Aaron in the early 1970s, who wrote him some creole lyrics. Soon after Shorty released a song, "Ou Petit", with words like "Ou dee moin ou petit Shorty" (meaning "you told me you are small Shorty"), a combination of calypso, cadence and kwéyòl. Shorty's 1974 Endless Vibrations and Soul of Calypso brought soca to its peak of international fame.
Soca's history is as multi-faceted as the music is infectious. Regarding its name, Lord Shorty initially referred to his musical hybrid as "sokah", stating in an 1979 interview with Carnival Magazine that "I came up with the name soca. I invented soca. And I never spelt it s-o-c-a. It was s-o-k-a-h to reflect the East Indian influence."1 Manywho? say the name represents the true "soul of calypso", later changed to "soca" by a music journalistwho?, and suggest that the name "soca" was a combination of the first two letters of "SOul" and "CAlypso". Soca's development includes its fusion of calypso, soul, cadence, and Indian musical instruments—particularly the dholak, tabla and dhantal—as demonstrated in Shorty's classic compositions "Ïndrani" and "Shanti Om".
Soca remains a vibrant style, often coopted by other musical genres and artists. It has grown since its inception to incorporate elements of disco, rap, reggae, house music, zouk, and dance music genres, and continues to blend in contemporary music styles and trends.
Soca music has evolved like all other music over the years, with calypsonians experimenting with other Caribbean rhythms.
Some examples are the following:
- Rapso: Eastern Caribbean dialect hip-hop with Soca and Calypso melody and bold lyrics.
- Chutney soca: Original soca performed with a more chutney styled form; mainly performed by chutney musicians
- Ragga soca: A fusion of Jamaican ragga and soca (chutney music replaced with dancehall music) so it is dancehall and contemporary calypso, which is an uptempo calypso beat with moderate bass and electronic instruments. A Trinidadian form of performing dancehall reggae.
- Parang soca: A combination of calypso, soca, and Latin music, Parang originated in Trinidad and is most often sung in Spanish.
- Steelband-soca: Steel pans are types of a drum often used in soca and calypso music; it became so popular that it became its own musical genre. The Steel pan originated in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Steel pans are handmade, bowl-like metal drums crafted so that different drum sections produce different notes when struck. Steelbands are groups of musicians who play songs entirely on steel drums. There are many types of steel pans, each with its own set of pitches.
- Bouyon soca:, sometimes referred to as Jump up soca, is a fusion-genre that typically blends old bouyon rhythms from the 90s' and soca music. This style of bouyon music was originated in Dominica, but is also very popular in St. Lucia, Guadeloupe and Martinique.
- Groovy soca: Created by Robin Imamshah with his composition "Frenchman", this growing style focuses on melody in soca, partly because of criticism of soca's ubiquitous 'jump and wave'-only lyrical and musical content. It features sensual vocals over mid-tempo soca rhythms, and very often elements of zouk and ragga soca.
- Rockso: A futuristic-sounding, North American/Anglo-caribbean 'mutant' style of calypso, focusing on a wide range of subject matter and 'flows' (delivery), song arrangements, innovative, bass-laden drum patterns, quirky sound effects, elements of 'extempo' (freestyle lyricism), and an urban music sensibility. It differs from groovy soca and rapso, in that it rarely, if ever, incorporates ragga soca or a reggae personality. It is characterized instead as a more modern update to calypso and highlights the disparate personalities of the performers. Unlike soca, it is not seasonally focused, but is geared for year-round play. Its vernacular reveals its Trinidadian and North American soil.
Soca music is based on a strong rhythmic section that is often recorded using synthesized drum sounds and then sequenced inside computers; however, for live shows, the live human drummer emulates the recorded version, often using electronic drums to trigger drum samples. The drum and percussion are often loud in this genre of music and are sometimes the only instruments to back up the vocal. Soca is indeed defined by its loud, fast percussion beats. Synthesizers are used often in modern soca and have replaced the once typical horn section at 'smaller' shows. Electric and bass guitars are found very often and are always found in a live soca band. A horn section is found occasionally in live soca bands mostly for the 'bigger' shows. It usually consist of two trumpets and a trombone, with saxophones being part of the section from time to time. Invariably other metal instruments may include cowbell or automobile break rotor.
While the Trinidad-born steel drum is known as the official instrument of the Caribbean, its waning presence in soca music, along with its coopting by other nations, has many soca and calypso purists concerned. It has since enjoyed a slow resurgence, appearing more in soca music, as well as in the slowed-down, melodic Groovy Soca and production-focused Rockso genres.
- "Sweet Soca Song (La La La Ti Ti Ti)" - Robin Imamshah (first soca song on Billboard top 200)
- "Clapping Soca"-Robin Imamshah used in the movie "The World According to Garp"
- "Doggie" - Anslem Douglas (later covered by Baha Men)
- "Hot Hot Hot" - Arrow
- "Who Let the Dogs Out?" - Baha Men (originally recorded by Anslem Douglas)
- "Raggamuffin" - Square One
- "DJ Ride" - Square One
- "Turn Me On" - Kevin Lyttle
- "Tempted to Touch" - Rupee
- "Soca Dance" - Charles D. Lewis
- "Island Girl" - Burning Flames, used in the 90s movie Weekend at Bernie's
- "Game Of Love and Unity" - Shaggy/Rupee/Fay-Ann Lyons, official ICC cricket 2007 West Indies World Cup anthem
- "Defense (The Anthem Remix)" - Machel Montano, Pitbull and Lil Jon
- "Come Dig It" - Machel Montano
- "Expose" - Tizzy
- "Ragga Ragga" - Red Plastic Bag
- "Nookie" - Jamesy P
- "Differentology" - Bunji Garlin
- Tony Tempo (Atlanta, ga; New York, NY)
- Dr. Jay (Toronto, Canada)
- DJ Spice (Brooklyn, New York)
- DJ Alex Jordan (Bridgetown, Barbados)
- D'Enforcas (Toronto, Canada)
- Soca Twins (Berlin, Germany)
- Television - Soca music videos are played on a several television channels including CaribVision, Centric, Synergy TV, and Tempo TV
- Radio Stations dedicated to Soca Music - Flagz Radio
- Caribbean music bands
- Caribbean Carnival
- Carnival Road March
- Music of Trinidad and Tobago
- Jocelyne Guilbault. "The Politics of Labelling Popular Musics in English Caribbean" Trans 3, 1997
- Soca music at the Open Directory Project
- Soca and Calypso music history - the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago
- Soca music last.fm