March 19, 2012

Ragga Soca | Who put Ragga in the Soca?

Here is a question for you to answer: What is Ragga Soca? Now before we get into the demise of the Trinidad and Tobago's Ragga Soca Competition be very careful and think before you answer the question.

I guess you may know what is Soca and then if you have an understanding of the term Ragga as in Raggamufin then maybe you can put the two together and come up with a definition regarding the musical sub genre called Ragga Soca. Is it that easy? Well the answer is yes and no? Does that make any sense? Well you see if all depends on the territory you come from. In St.Vincent and the Grenadines Ragga Soca is completely different from the music that carries the same name in Trinidad and Tobago. So what gives?

Well before we get into the discussion and people start bringing up music from the different decades to make their case let's look up the words Ragamuffin to get an understanding of the term Ragga and Soca. Then we will marry the words and then you, the listening public, will have to do your homework by listening to the music and then make a determination as to what is and is not Ragga Soca. The music never lies... the truth will be easily discerned. 

Ragamuffin according to the Urban dictionary is: "A style of dancehall reggae music that started in the 80's which blends a DJ half-singing and half-rapping rhythm into a hip hop flavor". 
Ragga from the same dictionary is: "A type of drum and bass music characterized by extremely fast drum programming, rolling and pitch-changing snares, reggae and various Rastafarian/ ganja smoking samples, excessive use of the "Amen Snare", and absolutely soul-crushing bass lines." 

Soca music originally named Sokah by the creator of the foundation music Lord Shorty originally was a combination of Calypso and Indian rhythms. Lord Shorty realized that the youth were moving away from calypso and wanted a change that would not only bring back the youth but also unite the major races.  This was just a dream but out of that dream came a unique sound that was modified by many artists including the great Maestro, Lord Kitchener, Calypso Rose Shadow, Arrow, Beckett and great musical arrangers like Ed Watson and others in Trinidad & Tobago and the Caribbean region. St. Vincent, Barbados, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and many other areas in the region added their own vibe to the music and today the music that carries the name Soca may sound a little different in each island. The music continues to change but the name Soca remains the same. 

So how did Ragga Soca start and what is the tra la la with St. Vincent and Trinidad Ragga Soca? Well some people are also confused with the fusion of Reggae music and Soca and are calling that Ragga Soca... that is not so. Now if you remember that Ragga is a form of Jamaican dancehall music with the DJ rapping/singing to the music then what should follow for music labeled Ragga Soca is a style of music that is similar in style to the Jamaican style of Dancehall music. If the Ragga Soca is done with the singer using a lyrical style similar to the Jamaican dancehall music with a Soca rhythm then we have a close encounter of the Ragga Soca type.

Do you think that the music called Groovy Soca (Trinidad) can be given the name Ragga Soca? Hell no... how can that be? There is no Ragga (Jamaican patois style lyrical vocals) in  the sub-genre called Groovy Soca. That is a slower paced style of Soca music than the Power Soca offering meant for dancing not jump and wave music. So can you or anyone reading this article tell me why is it that the Groovy Soca music of St. Vincent and the Grenadines called Ragga Soca?
That is the name of the Soca competition in St. Vincent that was started in 2001 with MaddZart wining the very first competition. The now defunct Ragga Soca Competition out of Trinidad started in 1999 with the last show staged in 2001. Iwer George won the competition in 1999 followed by Bunji Garlin in 2000 and 2001. The show was cancelled because of a lack of sponsorship. 

Ragga Soca in Trinidad and Tobago is done in a style similar to the Dancehall music of Jamaica. Dancehall music was and still is very big in Trinidad. If you listen to the music of Bunji Garlin you will hear a similar style done with a Soca rhythm but with a lyrical style similar to the Jamaican dancehall singers. As I said before listen to the music. Listen to the music of Bunji Garlin from Trinidad and the music of Bomani of St. Vincent and determine which one is similar to Jamaican Dancehall Music... right there is your answer; remember the music never lies!

In Trinidad we love our Ragga Soca Champion Bunji Garlin and I will, once again, post this song for your listening pleasure. Here, once again, is the undisputed champion of Ragga Soca!

Please be advised that the music is presented here for your listening pleasure and for promotional purposes only ("Fair Use" Musical Content Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976). Lend me your ears... Enjoy!
♫ Please press the play button to listen (small triangle below).
iRagga - Bunji Garlin (latest album 2012)



0 Responses to " Ragga Soca | Who put Ragga in the Soca? "

Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Revolution Two Church theme by Brian Gardner | Blogger template converted & enhanced by eBlog Templates