Brooklyn Public Library and Tropicalfete Inc. Present the Soca 50 Conversation Series
More Sokah, Inaugural August 30 Segment, Will Feature Rising Star Nailah Blackman, Granddaughter of Soca’s Creator Ras Shorty I
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Soca, the Trinidad birthed soundtrack to Caribbean carnivals held throughout the world, Brooklyn Public Library and Brooklyn based Caribbean cultural organization Tropicalfete Inc. present the Soca Conversation Series. The series will shine a spotlight on soca and provide a platform where the music’s practitioners can discuss their artistry, live, in front of an audience.
The series commences on Wednesday, August 30 at 6 p.m. with More Sokah: A Conversation with Nailah Blackman at the Dweck Auditorium, Brooklyn Public Library, Grand Army Plaza. Blackman will be in conversation with Tropicalfete Board Member and popular vocalist, event host Keran Deterville and journalist Patricia Meschino, a longstanding contributor to Billboard and other publications.
The dynamic young Trinidadian singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist hails from a large musical family. She is the granddaughter of the late Ras Shorty I (Garfield Blackman) the creator of soca or sokah. The latter is the original spelling of his fusion of the musical expressions of Trinidad’s dominant African and Indian populations, initially heard on his 1973 song “Indrani.”
In 2017 Blackman had her first hit “Work Out”, a collaboration with soca superstar Kees Dieffenthaller (a.k.a. Kes), which catapulted her into the spotlight. She has since become one of soca’s most in demand artists. A lover of many music genres Blackman has recorded with reggae star Tarrus Riley (on the remix to her “Dangerous Boy,”) dancehall princess Shenseea (“Baddish”) and the legendary Calypso Rose (“Baila Mami”). She has written songs in tribute to her grandfather and also performs some of his originals, blending them with contemporary inspirations and bringing his music to a new generation of fans.
In 2018 Blackman was nominated for Best New International Act at the BET Awards; the same year she became the first soca artist to headline a soca party in Sydney, Australia. At Panorama, Trinidad’s 2020 carnival steel band competition, her joyous-retro soca flavored hit “More Sokah” was played by three steel bands including the contest winners, Desperadoes.
Blackman’s popular collaboration with St. Vincent soca sensation Skinny Fabulous “Come Home” placed second in the Trinidad Carnival 2023 Road March contest receiving the most plays as carnival masqueraders cross various judging points on climactic Carnival Tuesday.
Blackman released her initial EP The Reel in 2019 and her debut album Teknique in September 2022. She has performed on such prestigious festivals as Coachella, at the Olympia in Paris and she has received over 100 million views across social media platforms.
The wide-ranging conversation will encompass Soca’s 50th anniversary, Blackman’s career, and her esteemed familial legacy. “The Soca conversation series affords us the opportunity to trace the evolution of the genre, identify the enormous contributions of the pioneers but it will also assist in introducing us to the new faces of Soca, as we watch the passing of the baton, ensuring the genre takes its rightful place as part of the fabric of a people,” says Keran Deterville.
“As an institution dedicated to diverse culture, Brooklyn Public Library is excited to serve as a partner and the stage for dialogue and celebrating Caribbean history and culture. With the Brooklyn carnival season in the backdrop, the launch of the series is timely as we learn more about the transcendent genre Soca and its stars including the talented Nailah Blackman,” says Kerwin Pilgrim, Director of Adult Learning, Brooklyn Public Library.
Tickets to More Sokah: A Conversation with Nailah Blackman are free but you must RSVP at EventBrite Click Here
For further information contact Tropicalfete at 646-504-3383 or email@example.com
Brooklyn Public Library is one of the nation’s largest library systems and among New York City’s most democratic institutions. As a leader in developing modern 21st century libraries, we provide resources to support personal advancement, foster civic literacy, and strengthen the fabric of community among the more than 2.6 million individuals who call Brooklyn home. We provide nearly 65,000 free programs a year with writers, thinkers, artists, and educators—from around the corner and around the world. And we give patrons millions of opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the joy of a good book.
Tropicalfete Inc. was established as a not-for-profit organization in 2011. Our diverse activities highlight Caribbean traditions and artistic expressions while providing culturally enriching events for the youth, the elderly and the entire community. Tropicalfete offers numerous programs in music, voice, dance, masquerade and other artistic disciplines. We’ve curated pop-up carnival events at the Brooklyn Public Library and in Manhattan’s Times Square. We have partnered with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and each June, designated as Caribbean Heritage Month in the US, we present a Caribbean Authors Connecting reading program. Our work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including the New York Daily News, Billboard, New York Times, PBS and NY1.