Tuesday, April 8, 2008

WE MUSIC - Dr Jay De Soca Prince asks.....


For as long as I care to recall, I have been flying to Trinidad, the land of Oil and Music, for Carnival each year and for the last thirteen years, I have come back home to host my annual RETURN FETE in Toronto. One of the goals of RETURN FETE is to get the new Soca music to you, the local Toronto Soca lovers. To top that off, this year we presented a live band with two prolific singers performing a full set with two additional guest artistes. Bringing the music to the people, right? Now I don't know about you, but when I hear the songs from this year's Trinidad Carnival, I am transported back to Carnival Tuesday with the blazing sun beating down. I imagine a drink in hand and that I'm surrounded by friends out on de road once again. Soca music can do that - it takes us to another place.

Now this year, I am wondering if other people are noticing what I am noticing? Is it just me or is Toronto lagging in the recognition of the newest Soca selections out there? Allow me let you in on a little something. From where I stand, I can see you. Yes. You. You standing 40 people deep into the crowd. I can see when you sing out and also when you stand with your arms crossed. You to the side of the stage. I can read your lips and I can also tell when you know the dances or when you are just watching the saucy ting beside you and mimicking her moves.
My post-Carnival reflection edition of my Prescription Picks that were overlooked are as follows:
- "Rollin" by Patrice Roberts & Machel Montano...every time these two collaborate on a track, there's a internet buzz that it is supposed to be the next "Band Of The Year", and every time it doesn't live up to the hype (does anyone still play "Light It Up"?)...however, that changed in 2008..."Rollin" is the sleeper hit for the Carnival...if it was only released a few weeks earlier, the whole of Trinidad would have been doing the Rollin dance on Carnival Tuesday.
- "Saddle" by Destra...maybe this one wasn't really overlooked, but it definitely wasn't as big as I find it should be...seeing this song performed live with the dancers made me like it even more...even Destra wine like ah never see she wine before...the best line in the song is, "if yuh cyan do de wuk, yuh betta leave de job site"...ladies, is time to take control!
- "Bumper (Headlights)" by Pelf...some songs grow on you visually, but I personally didn't see this Brooklyn-based entertainer perform this song in Trinidad...however, yuh see when we played this song on Carnival Monday and Tuesday? Geez an ages....just recalling the vision of all dem sexy bumpers shakin' on de road is making me put this big chune by Pelf on de list.
- "Abyss" by Chucky & Choko...okay, so what if I didn't hear this song played once during the Carnival season? This chune has that certain intangibility that stays with you long after it stopped playing...I can still hear the "oooooh gooosh" in my head!
- "Carnival Clap" by KMC...I like this song and I'm not sure if its due to the video or that I don't want my truck keyed (oops, that was a bad joke)...but seriously, there's something about the melody that makes you want to clap along with Ken Marlon Charles.
(all tracks can be heard in the MUSIC section of www.toronto-lime.com)

Naturally there is an adjustment period with new music. Some people hate a song when it first comes out, but certain tunes grow on you - which comes with time. But seeing as a good number of us have gone to sweet sweet T&T and returned to tell the tales (yes, plural) why are we acting like we are unfamiliar? Based on the feedback and requests I receive during my weekly radio show, I know that our city is knowledgeable with the music from this year so what I want to know is this: what does it take for you to feel "familiar" with a hot soca track?

What are your thoughts on the offerings from our islands for the 2008 Soca selections? Do you love it or hate it? And more importantly - do you "free it up" on the dance floor like Destra and Sean Paul when you hear them played at a fete?

Now THAT is... The Question.

Dr Jay De Soca Prince welcomes your feedback on this issue at drjay@wemagonline.com. (His weekly radio show and your injection of sweet Soca music, can be heard each and every Sunday on FLOW 93.5FM from 6 pm to 9 pm.)

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