Trinis happy to see soca’s growth in Jamaica

April 21, 2023
Nailah Blackman performing at Wi Fete at the National Stadium last Saturday.
Nailah Blackman performing at Wi Fete at the National Stadium last Saturday.
 Bunji Garlin
Bunji Garlin
Carnival revellers move along Hope Road last Sunday.
Carnival revellers move along Hope Road last Sunday.

Following the conclusion of Jamaica's 2023 Carnival, Trinidadians who journeyed to the land of wood and water are raving about the international soca takeover on the island.

Praising his colleagues' ability to pivot the genre during the months of lockdown, Trinidadian soca star Bunji Garlin told THE WEEKEND STAR, "I just have to give thanks what I and others can do, I guess because it's not always easy to do."

He continued, "I was never worried about it at all. I think because soca went to a place that no one could've imagined. For years it has always been a live interactive music and when the pandemic hit, all of us had to rethink ways of how to present this in a non-interactive format, in a non-touch format. So what do you do in a time where the world is contact-less?"

Jamaica's soca season started as early as last November with the costume band launches and came to a culmination on Sunday with simultaneous road marches from Bacchanal-Xodus, Yard Mas and GenXS.

Among the jumpers was Nathaniel Kallicharan, a Trinidadian student at The University of the West Indies, Mona. He not only shared his elation at the growth of soca, but he is enamored with soca star Nailah Blackman.

"Nailah you sweet bad!" Kallicharan shouted from the VIP section of the Wi Fete show as Blackman delivered an energetic performance the night before the Road March.

"First of all she's from Trinidad and Tobago, so she's already a 10 out of 10. The body? Perfection! Face? Perfection! And at the end of the day, the girl sing a song, she have a watermelon and if I don't get a piece, wah the whole thing," he said. "It's very good to see that she bringing soca on an international and a regional level. I'm very proud as a Trinidadian to see soca reaching where it is."

Speaking on the evolution of Carnival in Jamaica, New York-born Trinidadian promotor Giselle 'The Wassi One' Blanche told THE WEEKEND STAR, "Well it's amazing because like I said, I've been here for such a long time. I've been coming for such a long time and to see the growth and development of Jamaica carnival is so amazing. You have give [kudos to] the people who contribute every single band, every single person who love soca, all of the people who love soca. You have to give them kudos because they're doing an amazing job."

She continued, "I believe in soca. I tell you, I am soca and I believe in myself. There's no other way for us to go but up. Soca music is happy, it's music that makes people feel good. It doesn't matter what, creed, colour, race or class you are. Once you hear that infectious rhythm, you must move something."

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