|This dlargeeptember 2013 needs additional citations for verification. (October 2013)|
|Stylistic origins||Calypso - Soul - Cadence - Indo-Caribbean music|
|Cultural origins||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Typical instruments||Bass - drums - guitar - vocals - trumpet - trombone - drum machine - dholak - tabla - dhantal|
|Derivative forms||Chutney music|
|Chutney soca - Rapso - Reggaeton - Kuduro|
|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 (national anthem)|
The presence of a large Indian population in Trinidad blended traditional western jazz instruments and Indian musical instruments—particularly the dholak, tabla and dhantal—a style call chutney music. The influence of Spanish music from Venezuela also crept into the art form
Every region that Africans were sent to developed a form of Calypso, blending West African Highlife music with new beats. Eastern Caribbean and Belizean punta beats tended to be much faster than the slower "chip chip" music of Trinidad. Soca changed the bass line from a free flowing bass to a syncopated stuttering bass. Ras Shorty I is credited with this innovation.
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.
In the 1970s, he began experimenting with calypso by blending it with American "soul music" and local chutney rhythm, as evident in his smash hit "Sweet Music" the forerunner to Soca. Shorty added Indian instruments, including the dholak, tabla and dhantal.
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.
Shorty had been in Dominica during 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 remains a vibrant style, often coopted by other musical genres and artists. It has grown since its inception to incorporate elements of disco, rap, reggae, house music, zouk, and dance music genres, and continues to blend in contemporary music styles and trends.
Soca simply means the 'Soul of Calypso' and is NOT a fusion of Soul and Calypso as many believe but a fusion of the Afro and Indo Caribbean musical influences originating out of Trinidad. 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:
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.