Soca music has been an integral part of Caribbean culture since it began to sprout from the roots of calypso centuries ago. From its mid-70s incarnation in Trinidad, soca has spread from island to island, soaking up all that is good in the region, and more. It feels as though this genre of music has been around since the beginning of time and, in a certain way, it has; living through each influence that has come together to create what is now alive in Saint Lucia. No longer is soca only Trinidad’s music genre, but more of a uniform that cloaks the Caribbean. And now, soca’s events are starting to follow the melodies, as the Soca International Awards (ISA) comes to Saint Lucia for the first time since its inception in New York City in 2003.
Colin Jackman, CEO of Soca International Awards, says that this is a record-breaking year for the ISA as it had over two million votes from the public to choose the award winners. This could very well be indicative of soca’s international growth over the years as the soca community has found its way into sub-cultures and communities in the Caribbean and, specifically, Saint Lucia. With events such as Carnival’s ‘Colour Me Red’, ‘ESCAPE’ and ‘Transcend’, soca is expanding and developing faster and further than ever before. According to the King of it all, Saint Lucia now has a crucial role in the development.
“I think soca music is now going to become the sound of the Caribbean,” says King of Soca, Machel Montano. “And I say that each island is playing its part to further develop soca music or further develop the sound of the Caribbean.” Montano cites a specific initiative that he recognizes as a big improvement to cultivate the soca industry in the country. “In most recent times, in Dennery Segment, I see it coming out of Saint Lucia,” he says.
The Soca Kingdom press conference on Monday at Harbor Club kicked off a three-day soca stint for Saint Lucians. On Tuesday night at Sandals Grande (see coverage on page 13 of this issue), the ISA held its 15th annual award ceremony.
The following night Montano performed at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground to open up a series of shows around the Caribbean that are a part of the Soca Kingdom tour. A few local performers took home some awards, further instating Saint Lucia into the top ranks of fostering the art of soca.
Pim Pim Riddim by Team Foxx won Soca Compilation Rhythm of the Year, DJ Levi Chin won International Soca DJ of the Year and Mighty and Subance won Soca Music Video of the Year (male) for their controversial Bad in Bum Bum song.
According to Montano, this falls in line with what he thinks this week is all about. “Now it’s more about paying tribute to the works that the Lucians have been doing, playing their role and their part in taking soca music further,” says Montano.