New York, USA — From the Caribbean to New York, Canada, Europe and even Japan, there’s a heavy stir that’s all about the soca music genre. Now a recognized genre on Apple iTunes, many are confident that the only direction for Trinidad and Tobago’s spirited music, is upward. With that, two teams, made up of passionate Trinbagonians and other West Indians are bent on doing what they can to promote the genre and certainly the Caribbean carnival spirit that adds to its appeal. Soca Is Yours and Frontline Radio UK are gearing up to take over Notting Hill Carnival in 2014 and at the core of their effort is Soca music.
Quite a few ‘firsts’ are expected to be established this year, chief among them, a massive collaborative effort by Soca Is Yours and UK based, Frontline Radio UK- a prominent brand on the international Caribbean radio circuit. According to Soca Is Yours’ George Luke, the partnership will see all new soca music being filtered into the market during the promotion of Notting Hill Carnival, which culminates on the weekend of August 24th and August 25th. “What we’re pushing for is a thrust for artistes and producers to deliver all new music, much like they do for Barbados’ Crop Over, for Notting Hill carnival,” said Luke, adding, “riddims created by the best producers on the Caribbean soca market and featuring a lot of the top billing soca acts, will be released during this particular carnival. We feel this is something that will encourage the artistes themselves, to create more music and fill the market with the sweet sound of soca,” an enthused Luke said.
Among the producers already taking advantage of the opportunity are T&T’s Precision Productions and StarBlu Entertainment – the entity responsible for Benjai’s ‘Fetter’, Denise Belfon’s ‘Wining Queen’ and Olatunji’s ‘Taliban’. Precision Productions has been responsible for producing the winning Soca Monarch anthems, delivered by Machel Montano for the past three years. Kasey Phillip, the man at the helm of the production powerhouse, recognizing the need to deliver more to the European market, said, “It is a burgeoning market, especially with the increase in the number of carnivals across Europe and the interest shown for soca music by the people there, the market is one we look forward to continue exploring.”
Additionally, Brooklyn, New York based production house, Imperial Lyon Roar Productions has taken on the challenge, already delivering one song on their Swanky Riddim- that single, ‘Drink Ah Juice’ sung by St. Vincent’s reigning Ragga Soca Queen Fya Empress. Production work can also be expected from Play Evolution out of Barbados, Miami’s Irontraxx and Advokit who produced 5 Star Akil’s hit single, ‘To Meh Heart’ in 2014. “What we’re doing is giving Notting Hill carnival its very own music, much like it’s done in T&T and Barbados,” said Luke.
Apart from this initiative, the two teams will join forces to execute a J’ouvert section on the Carnival Sunday morning- something they are certain will leave a lasting impression on the carnival. In addition to that, another first being organized by the collaborative entity is an event being called the UK Soca Breakfast Fete, which is the first of its kind in some 50 years of carnival celebrations in Notting Hill. Already the breakfast event is being touted as a must attend on the Notting Hill carnival calendar!
The collaboration is viewed as a great one by many and with the aim clear, the transparency of the effort aids in garnering tremendous support across both the USA and the United Kingdom. Frontline Radio’s Cleon Lord, known for his involvement in the organization of events and carnivals in various cities, is happy that this initiative will aid the careers of many undiscovered soca artistes. He said artistes like Wildfire, Mista David and Mysta Lyon, among others will benefit tremendously from the partnership. A DJ turned production company owner and artiste manager, the radio station boss understands the rigors of earning a space among the popular faces.
The entities are hoping that the rest of the Caribbean will throw support behind them. “We need strength in numbers and only then will we see our Caribbean culture receiving the true acknowledgement it deserves. We’re only two teams. We want the whole Caribbean army behind us every step of the way,” said Luke.