Words by Kimberly Burgess—
If you’re ready for Carnival, but can’t revel in the bacchanal of Trinidad & Tobago’s second-to none annual street party (the best street party in the world, in our opinion) today and tomorrow, these videos are sure to make you feel as if you touched di road! Watch some of the best (and worst) Trini soca clips released during the run-up to this week’s Carnival, from Machel Montano, the Roy Cape All-Stars & Blaxx and more. (And, for even more soca madness, download LargeUp’s Fog Up D Place mixtape from Major Lazer’s Jillionaire).
Machel Montano says he’s hoping “Float” becomes the Road March anthem for 2013. Most bets seem to be on this one since his “Pump Yuh Flag” landed the title last year. Director Damian Marcano captures the spirit of Carnival via the imagination of schoolchildren. Machel might be the artist, but the flag-pumping kids in this video are definitely the stars.
Five-time International Power Soca Monarch winner Superblue, 56, reclaimed his seat on the throne last Friday, even though he has to share the crown with his pupil, Machel Montano, who tied him for first place in the competition. The footage in this video commemorates the man who showed many soca artists the way, a fact acknowledged by Machel. Credited with originating the jump-and-wave signature of most soca artists today, Superblue (who also happens to be the father of soca star Fay-Ann Lyons) is just as iconic as the conch shell sounded in the opening montage.
Patrice Roberts, “A Little Wine”
Patrice Roberts has had enough of a jealous boyfriend’s nagging rants in “A Little Wine.” Though her bonafide hates that she’s made a habit of tiefin’ a wine every time she goes out, her response is less than consoling: “I’m an entertainer…Let me do my job!” When conversations go left like this, as I am sure they often do for the soca sirens of the world, here’s Patrice’s solution: Wine anyway! While she may come up short on the wining skills to match all her boasy talk, you’ve got to give Patrice credit for taking a stand against this party pooper.
Roy Cape All-Stars & Blaxx, “Leh Go”
Some people just don’t know how to let go. If you fall in this category, Squid, the star of this WizzKydd-directed video, will show you how. It’s as easy as raising your hands and dropping everything. Never has a prank-loving, geeky guy seen so much fun!
From picking the most flamboyant Mas Camp to leaving your conscience behind, Destra sums up the many lead-ins to the season’s festivities in “Carry On”:
What is mas without a little powder? Once again, Damian Marcano directs the camera right into the core of the world’s original rave, and Machel, the multiple-category monarch champ, vocalizes the soul of the culture that enchants Trinidad’s Carnival.
Machel Montano and Kerwin Dubois feat. Ladysmith Black Mambazo, “Possessed”
While just about every Caribbean sound of course has its roots in Africa, artists from the mother continent have also been incorporating Caribbean sounds for some time. This collaboration between soca stars Machel Montano and Kerwin DuBois and South African male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo show how the two cultural expressions naturally crisscross sound and history. The Cowin Dori Thorpe and Machel Montano-directed video draws on the sonic adventure, as well as the scenic.
Lil Bitts, “Raise de Dust”
Lil Bitts’ “Raise de Dust” video surely kicked up a storm. Her finalist status in the Soca Monarch contest was deemed controversial, partly because the mummy-themed video for her season song was such a flop. Within hours of its debut, it was cast off as the worst soca video, ever, inspiring a #ThingsBetterThanLilBittsVideo thread on Twitter. Untarnished by the coments, the embattled soca artist, who’s been at it since she was nine, assures her fans that a re-do for the maligned video is underway. In the meantime, see what the fuss is about here: