The Music of Barbados: A LargeUp Series

Words by Jesse Serwer
Photo by Martei Korley

Visitors from around the world flock to Barbados throughout the year, lured by picture-perfect beaches and crystal-blue waters, dynamic resorts, and Oistins Fish Fry. In the summer months, there’s a whole other reason to visit the Caribbean’s Easternmost island, and it might be the best draw of all: Crop Over, the “Sweetest Summer Festival.”

Beginning in June and climaxing on Kadooment Day, August 1st, Barbados’ carnival season is a time of celebration and jubilation across the island — a legacy of the country’s past as a major sugar producer, when workers would celebrate the culmination of another successful cane harvest with a bit of bacchanal.

Fueling Crop Over is the sound of soca music. From the sweet style of Edwin Yearwood and Krosfyah to the bashment vibes of Lil Rick, Barbados has become a hotbed of great music over the last few decades. Yet there’s a sense among many locally that the local music scene is just now beginning to reach its potential. The world got a taste of Bajan soca — whether it knows it or not — last summer, when the island’s most famous daughter Rihanna had the world glued to Instagram as she posted videos of herself wukking up on the Zulu band’s truck to the sounds of Stiffy’s “Squat and Go Down.” Yet, for all of the notice and attention Ms. Fenty brings when she returns home for Crop Over every summer — and the love she shows local artists and DJs — the depth, diversity and quality of Barbados’ music remains something of a well-kept secret.

We felt it was time to let the world in on, so we caught a flight to Bridgetown, went to see the island’s most essential, and let our cameras roll. Over the next few weeks, as we head on down D Road towards Kadooment Day, we’ll be dropping webisodes featuring Alison Hinds, Peter Ram, Lil Rick and Leadpipe & Saddis, and introducing you to the next generation of Bajan soca stars.

Dive in to Crop Over with this sneak peek, and check back here next week for Episode 1 of The Music of Barbados with Alison Hinds.

The-Music-of-Barbados-Series-Alison-Hinds

Series Produced by Jesse Serwer and Paul Parris
Directed by Martei Korley
Associate Producer: Tashida Cox
Shot by Martei Korley, Kwesi Trotman and Ross Lavine
Edited by Ravi Lloyd
Intro Music: Zika Riddim by Bass Ink Productions
Assistance Provided by: Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.