Thursday, August 30, 2007
WE MUSIC - Dr Jay de Soca Prince asks… “THE QUESTION”
With Soca Summer in full swing, the city of Toronto has been experiencing some sweet fetes this season. With the hugely successful K.O.S. WHITEOUT fete that recently took place, along with other signature events such as SOCA OR DIE, THE BUZZ, BIG PEOPLE MIDNIGHT BOAT RIDE, LUCKY 7, SOCA UNPLUGGED, FOAM FETE, and WEAKNESS FOR SWEETNESS among others, I am feeling grateful for all the support that our city shows the local Soca scene. While we love a great performance based show, we can also come out and party for hours on end - K.O.S. WHITEOUT on July 21st went from 10pm till 6:30 am - with just the 3 DJ’s from the Kingdom of Soca to entertain you. This support is welcomed, but are we still yearning for more?
A while back there was talk that Soca music would finally get “mainstream” recognition. Remember the rumour that there was going to be a category in the Annual Grammy Awards? But that never materialized. Does that mean that the music we love is not worth as much as we think?
Do you remember the song by General Grant back in the 90’s that said, “We gonna take Soca music straight to the billboard charts”? Is that necessary to make you respect the music even more?
What about the talk years ago that Machel Montano was going to do a crossover album aimed at the North American masses? Kevin Lyttle, Rupee, KMC as well as Alison Hinds have all attempted this breakthrough with “Turn Me On”, “Tempted To Touch”, “Soul On Fire” and “Roll It Gal” respectively; and while they have all garnered much admiration from a wider audience, some people would say they have done damage and lost credibility from the hardcore Soca fans.
What is behind the ambition for mainstream recognition? Is it derived from a desire to see our music embraced by those outside it in order to show people the beauty of our culture? Do we simply wish a larger audience for the artists we love? Are we craving this validation from North America or would we simply accept it if it came to us?
The vast majority of Soca artists in the Caribbean brings out music seasonally for their Carnival season and then tours the world going from Carnival to Carnival, for the remainder of the year. Do you define this as a ‘success’ or do we need more?
On the flip side, there are those who prefer to keep Soca to themselves. They complain that the music is getting “too commercial”. They don’t want it to become diluted. They don’t welcome the change in the art form. They would prefer if Soca stayed the exact same way it was “back-in-the-day”. What do you think though?
Do you feel that Soca music needs mainstream recognition in order to “tell dem we reach”?
Now that is THE QUESTION.
Dr Jay de Soca Prince welcomes your feedback on this topic at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Results will be published in the next issue of “WE”