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Jamaica Loves Soca. Here’s Nigel’s Jam Down Carnival Recap.

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Soca music is definitely loved and appreciated by many people in Jamaica and the events of Jamaica Carnival this past weekend showed and proved this is true beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Thousands of Jamaican nationals joined tourists from across the region and outside of it and participated in numerous Carnival and Soca-themed events over the past two weekends in the land that’s renowned for reggae and dancehall music.


Kes The Band’s live concert hosted by SunNation at Sabina Park last Thursday and the first-ever “WI Fete” at the same venue last Saturday night attracted thousands of willing and eager participants, even as Trinidad staple events such as Private Ryan’s “Soca Brainwash”, Scorch’s “Duck Work” and Caesar’s Army’s “A.M. Bush” J’ouvert also drew massive crowds to different locations in and around the capital city of Kingston.


Creative Carnival decor, themes, customs, aesthetics and soundscapes prevailed throughout the festivities with sprinkes of dancehall and reggae for good measure, similar to the mix experienced during Trinidad Carnival. Soca superstar, Machel Montano made note of the evolution of the carnival music dynamic during his first performance with a full band on the island in many years, on Saturday night.

BUNJI GARLIN RECALLS BEING DISSED IN JA

Meanwhile, T&T Road March champion, Bunji Garlin also shared a story of a time when Soca artistes were not so readily accepted on the island.  “The year is 2023,” he related after applauding the massive crowd for singing his hit song, “Differentology” word for word. “The last time I set foot inside here it was 2000. I didnt understand Jamaica dem times and ah come here with muh arrogant self and feel ah coulda do wha ah want. Delano from Rennaissance gimme de microphone and ah say gimme that dancehall riddim and ah woman in de crowd say ‘come offa dat, who is you’ and boo me straight off de stage. Ah fly back home to Trinidad that night and ah say ah never coming back to Jamaica again…”

Buni Garlin during his performance.

Ding Dong Ravers with Jules Sobion

Nailah Blackman with Jadel

The definition of Soca Squad.

Garlin freestyled the second half of the story in time with his hit song and the crowd’s response was tremendous. Performing with his live band, the ragga soca artiste showed masterful crowd control, stage presence and potent delivery, alongside his trademarked free-styling skills.


Nailah Blackman and Skinny Fabulous also enjoyed their time on stage, as did three-time Soca Monarch, Aaron “Voice” St. Louis when he appeared during Montano’s closing set. Jeffrey “Agent Sasco” Campbell who sings on the new Caribbean Airlines theme song “Welcome Home,” and rising star, Raheem “Valiant” Bowes were among the few Jamaican, non-Soca performers on the night and both were greeted warmly by the audience, but the Soca stars were definitely the highlight and main attraction at Wi Fete.

T&T EVENT COORDINATOR TALKS CULTURAL INTEGRATION

Similarly, at Kes’ concert two days prior, recent collaborator, reggae and dancehall star, Busy Signal was welcomed and enjoyed by the masses assembled, but it was Iwer George’s 2020 collaboration, “Stage Gone Bad” that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Event Coordinator, Damian Archie has been producing events with Caesar’s Army and others at Jamaica Carnival for over a decade and says the cultural integration is still a work in progress. “The Jamaicans have their own way of doing things generally, but over the years, they have observed us and taken stock of how we do things and so now they’re more willing to collaborate and trust us more to handle certain aspects, and there are still things that can be improved on all sides, but the music is there – Soca is at a level now where we have two and three different generations of talent who are professionals and have hits and catalogue and varying degrees of stage experience, so there are about two generations who have grown up loving them and loving Soca music as much as they love any other genre.”

Archie admitted that Jamaica’s Carnival is not on the level of Trinidad and Tobago’s in terms of size, organization and logistics just yet. He noted that Jamaicas are a very expressive and confident people, adding that their parade of bands is on a different level all by itsel, at the same time.

Journalist : Nigel Telesford

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Around the World

Marley Magic. Stephen Remixes Old Soul.

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Stephen Marley, the acclaimed 8x GRAMMY® Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer, announces the release of a new remix of his single “Old Soul,” the title track of his latest critically- acclaimed album by DJ Delano of Renaissance Disco titled (DJ Delano Renaissance Santa Barbara Mix).


The remix also features a sample of the classic ‘Santa Barbara’ riddim created by the legendary Grammy Award-winning Jamaican drummer, Sly Dunbar (Sly & Robbie).

The new “Old Soul” remix release coincides with the resumption of the second leg pf Stephen’s Old Soul Tour (Unplugged) dates starting this Saturday, May 25th at the Cali Roots Festival in Monterey, California with his brother Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley.  Both the remix and tour are a continuation of Stephen Marley’s support of his landmark album Old Soul that was released last fall. 


“I was invited to play at Stephen Marley’s daughter’s wedding reception and wanted to play ‘Old Soul,’ my favorite song from the album, while people were dancing.  I decided to drop a riddim on the spot to create a remix doing it live.  They loved the mix and vibe from ‘the remix king” and this how the remix came about.” shared DJ Delano of Renaissance Disco.

ABOUT STEPHEN MARLEY

Stephen Marley is an acclaimed singer and producer. He has worked closely with his brother Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley on the massive crossover hit Welcome To Jamrock. In addition, he continues to champion charitable endeavors centered in Jamaica as a co-founder of the Ghetto Youths Foundation, along with his brothers Damian and Julian Marley.

In 2017, Stephen established Kaya Fest, the annual music festival, which features special guests and rare family performances, all with the larger purpose of raising awareness around the benefits of cannabis, guided by the mantra “Education Before Recreation.” This summer, Stephen embarked on his annual, hugely successful Babylon By Bus Tour, and this week, he commences his Old Soul Tour Unplugged across the US.

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Caribbean Buzz

Sizzla Kalonji Is Ready to Take The Stage, At Redemption 9. Promoters Conscious of Social Responsibility.

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Organisers, Tropix Entertainment, Java Nation and Johnny Q Limited, have made a major commitment to presenting the people of T&T with an elevated level of entertainment, the likes of which will see Steel Pulse, Collie Buddz, Christopher Martin, SuperCat, Jamelody and Mr. King, hit the stage, alongside Kalonji. 

SuperCat is ready to deliver.

This year’s concert follows a 2023 show, which was headlined by Buju Banton. “Reggae music is powerful and resolute in its affirmations of positivity,” said Java Nation’s Ian Pantin. The team’s unwavering effort to bring Trinidad and Tobago back to a place of peace, comes from a place of personal compassion for country. “There is no denying the fact that society’s moral compass has shifted somewhat and we see this in the news headlines daily. As partners in the entertainment business, we believe it is our social responsibility to direct our people onto a more positive path,” said Pantin. 

Each year, the tone for the show is depicted in the artistes chosen. Over the years, Tarrus Riley, Anthony B, Jah Cure, Sanchez, Luciano, Glen Washington, Beres Hammond, Morgan Heritage and countless others, have brought a variation of sweet reggae music. It is anticipated that this year, the addition of Super Cat will add some momentum – the artiste well known for hit dancehall tracks like, ‘Dolly My Baby’, ‘GirlsTown,’ ‘Cry Fuh De Youth,’ ‘My Girl Josephine’ and many others. 

Collie Buddz

Patrons, confident in the Redemption brand, have already expressed excitement for ‘The Way Forward,’ indicating their loyal support for the concert that has certainly stood the test of time. “We are truly pleased and humbled by the support shown to Redemption over the years- by both patrons and sponsors who we consider partners. Executing a show of this magnitude annually, is no easy or simple feat. We work dedicatedly behind the scenes, trying our best to accommodate every partner, while presenting live entertainment that is purposeful and enjoyable. It’s never easy,” said Pantin. 

Together with the team, Pantin says each year, patrons’ views are taken into consideration and efforts made to return one year later, with a show that is better than previously experienced. This year, one lucky patron will be the winner of a signature, gold and ruby encrusted, Redemption pendant, worth approximately $20,000TTD. 

Christopher Martin will be there.

For further details, persons can follow Redemption the Concert on Facebook and Instagram or call 780-SHOW (7469). 

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FROM THE CARIBBEAN

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