Jamaican Style 'Riddims' now control the 'Soca Music World'!

Rhythms can be found just about anywhere... But we are concerned with the rhythms created in music here. A basic rhythm is made up of sounds and silences and has a steady beat... Just add some tempo (speed of the music) and you may just have the recipe for what we call a riddim... the new beat of Soca music. What we need to keep in mind is that the term 'Riddim' is a Jamaican term. This is very important because at one point in our history Jamaican music ruled Trinidad. It is back, but not in the same way, a derivative is here to stay and it was born out of the original dancehall   music movement (see wikipedia information below).

"Riddim" is the Jamaican Patois pronunciation of the English word "rhythm" but in dancehall / reggae parlance it refers to the instrumental accompaniment to a song. Check this link for more information: Wikipedia/Riddim."

No one can doubt that Soca has replaced Calypso as the music of Carnival (just listen to the music played on radio and used by masqueraders on Carnival Monday and Tuesday). Now while that may be true in many respects up and down the chain of Caribbean islands, in Trinidad and Tobago, the calypsonians (distinct from the Soca singers) create the music that is played by the 'steelbands' during the carnival season. If you are a traditionalist then you would agree that we cannot do without the Calypsonians; however, the youth tend to move and groove to the sound of Soca today. The tendency is to latch on to the latest riddim and mix and match amongst the singers to create some really crazy dance sessions. So what is this new craze and why is it so popular?

Well let's not get ahead of ourselves now. We must consider the fact that there are Soca songs that stand alone and Soca songs based on 'riddims'. Did you get that? Yes, if you have not been paying attention there are now two categories of Soca music. The first is Soca songs (that started it all and they stand alone with a very distinctive beat) and Soca Riddims where you have several artists using one beat (one riddim) for their song. Lord Kitchener's Old school soca song Sugar Bum Bum is just that - a Soca song that no one else has copied in terms of the beat. There may have been several covers of the song but the beat is that of one song - Sugar Bum Bum.

Now let's take a look at the use of a 'Riddim'. As an example, I will use the 'Charlie Sheen Riddim' that grabbed the spotlight this year 2011. This 'riddim' is set to deliver hits for the 2012 Carnival season. The beat is the same but let's take a look at the various artistes and songs attached to this 'riddim'. Some of the songs on this list have individual posts on this blog. 

Charlie Sheen Riddim - 2011 
01-Machel Montano - Doh Fraid
02-Zan - Feel It
03-Swappi - Nuff Wine
04-Super Jigga Tc - Winning
05-Farmer Nappy - Risky
06-Patrice Roberts - Swing It Up
07-Lil Rick - Eh Yo
08-Fantom Dundeal - Summertime
09-Skinny Fabulous - Waist
10-Fadda Fox - Wine It Gal
11-Lil Rick - Jones & Wukup
12-Capone - Gwaan Ah Ways

ARTIST: V.A. | Various Artists
ALBUM: Charlie Sheen Riddim
LABEL: Dwaingerous
PRODUCER: Dwain "Dwaingerous" Antrobus

Some of the songs on this list area really good. However, the riddim used is the same for every track! How creative is that? Boring some may say, but rest assured, this is the future of Soca music. If you don't jump on this "Soca Riddim Train" then you will be left in the dust - just not in the 'Big Yard!"

Oh, and by the the way, do you really think that all the music being labeled Soca today is really Soca? I don't think so. However, that is another discussion and one that will cause the traditional Soca singers blood to  boil with consternation.

Calypso has given way to this new sound of Carnival but where did it all come from and why did it catch on so quickly? The truth is the youth were bored with the older folks Calypso (Calypso is now relegated to 'steelband' music). It was too slow and could not be used in parties as they did with the dancehall music. Ahh, did I say dancehall music? Isn't that where the riddim movement really got started? The youth wanted something different and as a result the producers (young people) jumped on the riddim bandwagon and brought soca riddims to life.

If you like it then it will keep coming in waves as has already been happening for the upcoming 2012 carnival celebrations. If you don't like it then you are in for a rude awakening because this is the music of the future - learn to live with it!

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