|This dlargeeptember 2013 needs additional citations for verification. (October 2013)|
|Stylistic origins||Kaiso, Calypso, Cadence-lypso, Funk, Soul music|
|Cultural origins||Early 1970s, Trinidad and Tobago|
|Typical instruments||Bass - drums - guitar - vocals - trumpet - trombone - drum machine - synthesizer - sampler|
|Derivative forms||Chutney music|
|Chutney soca - Rapso - Reggaeton - Kuduro - Bouyon soca - Punta rock - Groovy soca - Ragga soca - Parang soca - Liquid funk|
|Music of Trinidad and Tobago - TEMPO Networks - Flagz Radio|
|Music of West Indies/Caribbean|
|Portal: Music of Trinidad and Tobago|
|Media and performance|
|Nationalistic and patriotic songs|
|National anthem||Forged from the Love of Liberty|
Soca developed as an offshoot of Kaiso/calypso, with influences from Cadence-lypso, Soul, Funk and Indian musical instruments. The presence of a large Indian population in Trinidad blended traditional Indian musical instruments—particularly the dholak, tabla and dhantal—into a style called chutney music.
Soca has evolved in the last 20 years primarily by musicians from various Anglophone Caribbean countries including Trinidad, Guyana, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, United States Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, Belize and Panama.
The Godfather of Soca was a Trinidadian man named Garfield Blackman who rose to fame as Lord Shorty with his 1963 hit "Cloak and Dagger" and took on the name Ras Shorty. He started out writing songs and performing in the calypso genre.
A prolific musician, composer and innovator, Shorty experimented with fusing calypso and elements of Indo-Caribbean music for nearly a decade before unleashing "the soul of calypso,"...soca music. Shorty added Indian instruments, including the dholak, tabla and dhantal.
In the 1970s, he began experimenting with calypso by blending it with other genres, as evident in his smash hit "Sweet Music" the forerunner to Soca music.
Cadence influence on soca
Shorty was the first to really define his music and with "Indrani" in 1973 and "Endless Vibration" (not just the song but the entire album) in 1975, calypso music really took off in another direction. Later in 1975 Shorty visited his good friend Maestro in Dominica where he stayed (at Maestro's house) for a month while they visited and worked with local cadence artists. You had Maestro experimenting with calypso and cadence ("cadence-lypso"). Sadly a year later Maestro would die in an accident in Dominica and his loss was palpably felt by Shorty, who penned "Higher World" as a tribute.
In Dominica, Shorty had attended an Exile One performance of cadence-lypso, and collaborated with Dominica's 1969 Calypso King, Lord Tokyo and two calypso lyricists, Chris Seraphine and Pat Aaron in the early 1970s, who wrote him some creole lyrics. Soon after Shorty released a song, "Ou Petit", with words like "Ou dee moin ou petit Shorty" (meaning "you told me you are small Shorty"), a combination of calypso, cadence and kwéyòl. Shorty's 1974 Endless Vibrations and Soul of Calypso brought soca to its peak of international fame
Soca developed in the late 1960s and grew in popularity in the early 1970s. Soca’s development as a musical genre included its fusion with calypso, cadence, and Indian musical instruments—particularly the dholak, tabla and dhantal—as demonstrated in Lord Shorty's classic compositions "Ïndrani" and "Shanti Om".
Traditionally, Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is associated with calypso music; however, recently soca has replaced calypso as the most celebrated type of music. Soca reached its modern form by the early 1970s under the influence of American soul, disco and funk music, which reached Trinidadian artists when they began recording in New York City; by this time, most of the Indian-derived elements had been removed from the genre. Soca uses heavy bass and electric guitar to blend African American soul music with Trinidadian rhythms.
During the 80's, the fast tempo zouk style popularized by the French Antilles band Kassav' had a major influence on the development of soca music. Unlike the traditional calypso which had revolutionary lyrics which contained social commentary, soca music's message can be found in its rhythms, the fast paced beats allow the young people to escape from the words, which they see as the empty promises of the older generations.
Soca has grown since its inception to incorporate elements of disco, rap, reggae, zouk, and dance music genres, and continues to blend in contemporary music styles and trends. Soca has also been experimented with in Bollywood films, Bhangra, in new Punjabi pop, and in disco music in the United States.
Soca simply means the 'Soul of Calypso' , but the name has NOTHING much to do with the fusion of Soul music and Calypso, although Soul music left a little influence in Soca. Soca's history is as multi-faceted as the music is infectious. Regarding its name, Lord Shorty initially referred to his musical hybrid as "sokah", stating in an 1979 interview with Carnival Magazine that "I came up with the name soca. I invented soca. And I never spelt it s-o-c-a. It was s-o-k-a-h to reflect the East Indian influence." Many[who?] say the name represents the true "soul of calypso", later changed to "soca" by a music journalist[who?], and suggest that the name "soca" was a combination of the first two letters of "SOul" and "CAlypso".
Soca music has evolved like all other music over the years, with calypsonians experimenting with other Caribbean rhythms.
Some examples are the following:
Chutney soca: Original soca performed with a more chutney styled form; mainly performed by chutney musicians.
Ragga soca: A fusion of Jamaican ragga and soca. It replaced chutney music with dancehall music so it is dancehall and contemporary calypso, which is an uptempo beat with moderate bass and electronic instruments. A Barbadian form of performing dancehall and reggae.
Steelband-soca: Steel pans are types of a drum often used in soca and calypso music; it became so popular that it became its own musical genre. The Steel pan originated in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Steel pans are handmade, bowl-like metal drums crafted so that different drum sections produce different notes when struck. Steelbands are groups of musicians who play songs entirely on steel drums. There are many types of steel pans, each with its own set of pitches.
Bouyon soca:, sometimes referred to as Jump up soca, is a fusion-genre that typically blends old bouyon rhythms from the '90s and soca music. Bouyon soca, is a term coined by non-Dominican producers and musicians who wish to attribute the current suucess of bouyon music to other islands. In its native Dominica, the concept of bouyon soca is pretty much unheard of. Bouyon is a very specific and original genre and is very much distinguishable from its "colleague" Soca.
While there may have been the occasional fusion, Bouyon has always maintained a very clear, recognisable and obviously different style from soca. This style of bouyon music was originated in Dominica, but is also very popular in Saint Lucia, Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Groovy soca: Created by Robin Imamshah with his composition "Frenchman", this growing style focuses on melody in soca, partly because of criticism of soca's ubiquitous 'jump and wave'-only lyrical and musical content. It features sensual vocals over mid-tempo soca rhythms, and very often elements of zouk and ragga soca.
Rockso: A futuristic-sounding, North American/Anglo-caribbean 'mutant' style of calypso, focusing on a wide range of subject matter and 'flows' (delivery), song arrangements, innovative, bass-laden drum patterns, quirky sound effects, elements of 'extempo' (freestyle lyricism), and an urban music sensibility. It differs from groovy soca and rapso, in that it rarely, if ever, incorporates ragga soca or a reggae personality. It is characterized instead as a more modern update to calypso and highlights the disparate personalities of the performers. Unlike soca, it is not seasonally focused, but is geared for year-round play. Its vernacular reveals its Trinidadian and North American soil.
Soca music is based on a strong rhythmic section that is often recorded using synthesized drum sounds and then sequenced inside computers; however, for live shows, the live human drummer emulates the recorded version, often using electronic drums to trigger drum samples. The drum and percussion are often loud in this genre of music and are sometimes the only instruments to back up the vocal. Soca is indeed defined by its loud, fast percussion beats. Synthesizers are used often in modern soca and have replaced the once typical horn section at 'smaller' shows. Electric and bass guitars are found very often and are always found in a live soca band. A horn section is found occasionally in live soca bands mostly for the 'bigger' shows. It usually consist of two trumpets and a trombone, with saxophones being part of the section from time to time. Invariably other metal instruments may include cowbell or automobile break rotor.
While the Trinidad-born steel drum is known as the official instrument of the Caribbean, its waning presence in soca music, along with its coopting by other nations, has many soca and calypso purists concerned. It has since enjoyed a slow resurgence, appearing more in soca music, as well as in the slowed-down, melodic Groovy Soca and production-focused Rockso genres.