Words by LargeUp Crew
Photo by Wayne Lawrence
The days when soca was strictly seasonal music for jumping and waving at Carnival are long gone. In 2017, soca music continues to strike out in new and broader directions, making its presence felt year-round, across the Caribbean and worldwide. This year, we saw the continued rise of the small islands, particularly St. Lucia, which gave us the Dennery Segment, a Kreyol-inflected fusion of soca and Angolan kuduro that took over the feting scene after years underground. Barbados continued to deliver the goods, led by Marz Ville, who took the groovy route this year after taking soca to the bashment in 2016. And Grenada and St. Vincent, long-time soca powerhouses, gave us indelible 2017 soca hits from old standbys and new names.
Much of the best soca, however, still comes from its birthplace and mecca, Trinidad & Tobago. There, the dynamic trio of Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin and Kes retained their hold on the Carnival massive, MX Prime made a comeback as part of the new crew Ultimate Rejects, the young upstart Voice retained his International Soca Monarch title, and new stars were launched in the form of Nailah Blackman, Uncle Ellis and Orlando Octave.
With the energy of Carnival 2018 already building, here’s one last look at the soca anthems that ruled the 2017 season from Port-of-Spain to Castries.