The start
Last year we lost Byron Lee, Jamaica's Soca ambassador (RIP) and this question has been something I have been asking myself for some time. Who will lead the Soca Train in Jamaica?

My introduction
Soca music became a part of my life as a teenager when I move to the United States. I grew up in rural St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. The South West corner of the Island. I get the usual " I never knew Jamaicans like Soca". This statement has some validity to it. The best example of this is the CD man at Sandy's on Liberty ave who tried to sell me a Reggae CD because of my accent and I say no pass me that CD with the latest Soca. (disclaimer: love my reggae and dancehall)

Byron Lee was my first exposure but Iwer, Machel, Bunji, Destra, Edwin and Krosfyah nurtured my appetite for Soca. I embraced Soca music because of the vibes. Just as much as I embraced my Beres, Bob, Carlton Levingston, and many more. I have had the wonderful opportunity of parring with many from other Islands and visited quite a few. This was the catalyst for me to explore the roots of Soca music. I learned about Kaiso and the different sounds coming out of St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad, Montserrat. I quickly learned that Mento and Kaiso had similar roots. I often wonder how many artiste may take the time to study music history. I wonder how may artiste take the time to understand that some of us celebrate Jonkonnu and others Carnival. Different paths at times but nevertheless, the same celebration of freedom.

Who will lead

In recent years there has been more Soca releases from Jamaican artistes. I am convince the daggering tunes borrowed a great deal from Soca. It appears that Mr Vegas and Beenie man authentically like Soca. This is evident by their actions over the years with putting out Soca songs.

The big picture

There are 40 million people in the Caribbean and even more in the diaspora. One could clearly understand how an artiste can create their very own following in their back yard. It is also important for artiste to be well versed in the musical genres of the Caribbean. The benefits are great. This is why Beenie Man and Machel is as popular as they are. Clearly, they are open and engaged with different types of music.

The Artiste
I recently heard new Soca tunes from Leftside, Esco, Mr Vegas, Beenie Man, Daville, Exile. I certainly think that Mr Vegas and Beenie man can be ambassadors for Soca in Jamaica. I recently wrote about opportunities you can have when you do not follow the masses. Those people are the trail blazers, they create something new out of fusion. They create because it is music. It is Caribbean music. I am not sure who will lead the Soca train in Jamaica. There are some prospects as I mentioned. I just wanted to quickly point out that Jamaica continues to keep its annual Carnival and Jamaicans continue to innovate ideas around their love for Soca music.



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