The influence of Afrobeats on soca is becoming more and more pronounced. And, while soca is perhaps best described as a coalescence of the sounds of the diverse and expansive Caribbean to produce a sound completely unique to the region, just as chutney soca music has become a sub-genre of its own, the recent slate of collaborations between stars from both genres appears to be leading towards something just as powerful.
Just last year, we saw the the King of Soca (and budding film star) Machel Montano join forces with one of Nigeria’s most prominent performers on a remix of Timaya’s “Bam Bam” that met with overwhelmingly positive acclaim. And a year prior to that, Montano, along with Kerwin Du Bois, tapped South African male choral group LadySmith Black Mambazo for the 2013 soca favorite “Possessed,” a collaboration that sounded like absolutely nothing else at the time.
References to African sounds and culture have consistently appeared in soca music, but. And with other artists from Olatunji to Denise “Saucy Wow” Belfon, Benjai and Destra all releasing African-inspired soca tracks of their own, it seems that Afro Soca, as some are calling the fusion, may play a major role in the swiftly-approaching 2016 carnival season.
Three-time Trinidad Carnival Road March winner Fay Ann Lyons is the latest soca act to delve into African sounds, with “Block the Road,” a collaboration with Ghana’s Stonebwoy. Her lyrics, characteristically laced with feminist undertones, sexual liberty and praise for the female form, couple seamlessly with the uptempo rhythm and Stonebwoy’s vocals for a track bound to resonate with both male and female listeners. This not only spells a successful start to the season for Lyons, but also cements her reputation as one of soca’s more formidable and valuable artists.
Listen to “Block the Road” below, and keep it locked on LargeUp for more 2016 soca.