Soca from Way Back When

By Desi Brown

I was recently asked to do choreography for an Opening Number for Rex Nettleford Hall (UWI, Mona) Uber Fashion show dubbed ‘Retro Caribbean’. The song that was selected was Faluma by Alison Hinds. I had an immediate Soca rush! I felt that one all through my veins and I thought “WOW! Some Soca songs just never get old”. So, I thought, why not share my favourite old school Soca songs and help to jump start your weekend? Add them to your playlist. I promise you’ll thank me later.

  1. Burning Flames – Workey Workey
  2. Square One – Aye Aye Aye
  3. Krosfyah – Pump Me Up
  4. Kevin Little ft Alison Hinds- Turn Me On
  5. Xtatik- Footsteps
  6. Super P – Curry
  7. Alison Hinds – Faluma
  8. Rupee – Tempted To Touch
  9. Destra – Bonnie & Clyde
  10. Byron Lee & The Drangonaires – Dollar Wine
  11. Destra – It’s Carnival
  12. Arrow – Hot Hot Hot
  13. Krosfyah – Sweatin (She Body In Control)
  14. WCK – Balance Batty
  15. Atlantik – All Aboard
  16. Byron Lee & The Dragonaires – Walk & Wine (Congo Line)
  17. Machel Montano – Big Truck
  18. Rupee – What Happens In De Party
  19. Square One featuring Alison Hinds – Iron Barzodee
  20. Shurwayne Winchester – Dead or Alive
  21. Claudette Peters – Something Got A Hold On Me
  22. Square One – Turn It Around
  23. Byron Lee & The Dragonaires – Tiney Winey
  24. Arrow – Long Time
  25. Crazy – Nani Wine (1989)
  26. Osha – The Stamp
  27. Byron Lee – Swinging Engine
  28. Super P – Everybody Peepin
  29. TC – Who The Hell Is Kim
  30. Burning Flames – If Yuh Get What Yuh Want

This list can go on and on! Don’t see your favourite? Tell me what’s your favourite old school Soca songs! Love Soca? Share with your friends!

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3 Easy Steps To Supporting The Miss World 2015 Caribbean Delegates

By Desi Brown

They say that pageantry is one of the greatest forms to promote an island and display some aspects of its cultural space. It’s not a myth. It is fact. The Miss World 2015 pageant will be the 65th edition when it opens the curtains at Crown of Beauty Theatre in Sanya, China PR on December 19th 2015 for the 121 contestants that have been confirmed. As the promotional videos circulate ahead of the month long intensive preparations the delegates will collectively experience on their journey to the crown, we’re all eyes and ears for our Caribbean beauties. Nothing excites me more than an opportunity to share our explosive and diverse cultural heritage on the world stage.

Here are the three easy steps you can follow to show your support for our Miss World Caribbean Queens.

  1. Know the Miss World 2015 Caribbean Ambassadors competing. Each Country’s link will take you to the Miss World 2015 contestant’s page where you will find a Biography and answers to personal questions.
  1. Follow their journey on their respective Facebook & Twitter pages.
  2. Finally, cast your vote on Beauties Concepts. You may vote up to five times per day. Let’s rally behind our girls as they so bravely represent our region while they vie for this most prestigious title.

Only nine Caribbean delegates managed to cop the Miss World title but many have gotten as far as the Top 15.

Past Caribbean Miss World Winners

Bermuda: 

1979 – Gina Swaison

Dominican Republic:

1982 – Mariasela Alvarez

Grenada: 

1970 – Jennifer Hosten

Jamaica: 

1963 – Carole Joan Crawford

1973 – Patsy Yuen

1976  – Cindy Breakspeare

1993 – Lisa Hanna

Puerto Rico:

1975 – Wilnelia Merced

Trinidad & Tobago: 

1986 – Giselle Laronde

New International Soca Monarch is a Recipe of Cultural Disaster 

by Desi Brown

Recently, Soca lovers have been disgruntled by new major decisions made by the International Soca Monarch organisers, decisions that many believe make up a recipe of cultural disaster. I share very similar feelings being an avid Soca lover myself and can’t help but speculate what the real problems may be.

In an official publication by 96.1 WEFM it was revealed that:

  1. Power Soca Monarch and Groovy Soca Monarch are no longer two separate categories in the 2016 International Soca Monarch (ISM),
  2. The competition will no longer be televised LIVE as in previous years.
  3. Results will be released on Saturday night, (following the Fantastic Friday show) when a television package will be aired. Subsequently, the sealed results will be announced by auditors.

In the same order, here’s what I think:

  1.  TTRN, Director of the International Soca Monarch, Mr. Peter Scoon told 96.1 WEFM:

“The Power Soca Monarch has always been viewed as the Father of the Groovy Soca but today, Groovy has come of age having developed enormously throughout the years. He believes the separation has negatively affected the show in an effort to package it as a television product, adding there were too many gaps and that did not resound well with the pay-per view broadcast.”

Maybe someone should explain, exactly how does the explosion of a subset of the same genre equate to a merger? We are talking about directly intervening in what may have become a cultural norm for Caribbean people. Soca isn’t just Soca. Soca is Power Soca and Groovy Soca just as our minds and hearts don’t agree with this decision, our waistlines won’t either. Removing these labels also create a  problem with judging as you can’t possibly judge subsets of the same genre the same way. Groovy Soca’s criteria has an emphasis on its musical components whereas Power Soca’s criteria places a direct emphasis on performance. They obviously both require different presentation strategies. It is really a matter of preference, not just by the patrons but by the Soca Artistes themselves. So tell us, how do you intend on separating the better musicians from the extraordinary performers? Perhaps devising a plan to improve the production of this show may actually assist in reducing these gaps towards bolstering confidence in our small islands’ capabilities. 

  1. So you are telling us that you are fixing a problem for TV or rather pay-per view broadcasts but decide never to air it LIVE? We are not clear on something here. Mr Scoon may want to address this concern, especially considering that “The wider vision of the Foundation is to develop a template for Pay-Per–View on a global scale and merchandising the International Soca Monarch Competition.” Please let us know if this vision has since changed because this decision may very well suggest that you are taking a few steps back in promoting Soca music on the world stage. This cannot be good for our recent achievements in the region. Also, why can’t I share in the experience at the same time as my Soca warriors? We can’t all make it to Trinidad now, come on!
  1. We already think that most of the previous decisions taken are very fishy. Do you really want to give Caribbean people an opportunity to say that you have cheated? Perhaps postponing the results until the show is aired may not be a very good idea either. 

The major questions query the willingness to promote and preserve Caribbean culture and creative arts on and for the world stage. Removing LIVE television broadcasts naturally reduces the exposure of the show and our culture at large while, merging the Power and Groovy Soca competitions presents a problem in maintaining interests both from the artistes and patrons. The latter also shatters any possible curiosity into the historical significance of the genre’s subsets and evolution. International Soca Monarch may very well be setting a very bad example for other participating countries to follow. Thankfully, we can still vote for two finalists to participate in The Soca Monarch competition. All is not lost!