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Soca Needs More Unity. New Music Released, Bitts Pushes Preservation and Evolution.

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Even as she pushes for a better understanding and appreciation of Trinidad and Tobago’s cultural legacy, its traditions in mas and culture and all else, female soca artist, Lil Bitts says change is the only constant.

She unleashed new music recently and appeared on RED 96.7FM in Trinidad on Wednesday morning. Her latest release is called ‘Sweetest Mas’ and Bitts told listeners that the experience in bringing her vision of the ‘sweetest mas’ experience to the screen, via the song’s video, was a spiritual one.

She recalled dressing in blue paint to deliver the Jambolasse carnival character, telling listeners that prayer was a part of the delivery, since the character, which resembles that of a devil, would ultimately consume her, something she had never quite experienced before. “People do not understand how spiritual our Carnival really is,” she commented, explaining that after the ritual of prayer and becoming one with the character she was able to touch the fire without being burnt.

Lil Bitts in character, during filming of her new video for ‘Sweetest Mas.’

These elements of Trinidad and Tobago’s traditional carnival experience, while still seen in some quarters, have dwindled in others. This, Bitts says she wishes could be maintained and passed on to future generations. “J’ouvert long time was old clothes and characters and whatever was the current affairs issue of the time, people would play that. Carnival is so much more. It would be awesome if we could teach our kids these things,” she said. Bitts said her 7-year-old neice who was a part of her video for ‘Sweetest Mas,’ did not know half of the carnival characters displayed, so it became a teachable moment for her.

The artist who also works in theatre, explained that it’s all about finding a balance between preservation of the culture and embracing evolution. “I have nothing against ‘BBF’ – Bikini, Beads and Feathers,” she said, noting that she plays mas like everyone else in the modern carnival wear. “I understand that everything evolves, so we can’t shut down the BBF because everything evolves. Does soca sound the same way from 10-15 years ago? No. The only thing constant is change,” she reiterated.

On the issue of Soca music and the local fraternity’s desire to see international audiences gravitate even more towards it, Bitts said, “It will catch. I just feel like people just need to do them. What I think needs to happen is that we need to come together more. That’s what the African artistes are doing. It’s not just one African artist – it’s multiple, altogether and then everything became ‘Afro,’ she highlighted.

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Around the World

Buju Banton Celebrates 51st Birthday Following Sold Out Weekend Shows in New York.

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He’s booked to return to New York in November but before that, renowned reggae artiste, Buju Banton will make 13 stops across the US. The Overcome Tour kicks off on August 23rd in Fort Lauderdale. The tour announcement came on the artiste’s birthday, earlier today.

Buju’s weekend double showcase at The UBS Arena has been the talk of the internet- photos and videos showing a sold out arena on both Saturday and Sunday. On stage on Saturday night, Buju – one of Jamaica’s most beloved entertainers, said God had bigger plans for him, despite being written off for a US return, by some. “They said, “you will never come back to the United States of America…” And I said to them, “let’s see what God will do.””

Buju Banton performs at UBS arena on July 13th


Online, some fans have described Buju’s performance in New York as spiritual, one person saying, “When you were ordained to do this, nobody can take it away.”
Buju returned to the US on May 2nd after six years. Prior to the weekend showcase, he had not performed in the States, in 15 years.

A media release by Destine Media confirmed a crowd of 36,000 filled the Long Island arena on the weekend. Noting the success of both shows, it was announced that Buju will now go on a multi-city tour accompanied by the Shiloh band. “The Overcomer tour will feature Billboard chart-topping special guest artiste, Fridayy,” it explained. “Known for his exceptional musical abilities, Fridayy, a Haitian American singer, songwriter, and record producer, has made waves in the music industry with his “When It Comes To You”, Stand By Me”, “Without You” and his triple Grammy nominated song “God Did” by Dj Khaled featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and John Legend.”

In a statement regarding the milestone, Buju’s manager, represented by Joesph Budafuco, expressed great pride in the entertainer’s accomplishments. Budafuco highlighted the significance of Buju returning to tour in the US after a 15-year hiatus, emphasizing the anticipation and excitement surrounding the upcoming tour.

An artiste known for his conscious expressions, both on stage and off, Buju celebrates his 51st year of life today. He certainly has a lot to celebrate.

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Ebuzz News

Christmas in July Gets Boost with Latin Fusion Music Festival.

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In Trinidad and Tobago, efforts to sustain the soca parang industry have seen the rise of mid-year, Christmas celebrations. Dubbed ‘Christmas in July,’ the new age dynamic has taken off, with radio stations and television networks capitalizing on the energy that many across the country, gleefully entertain. Already, the excitement is on and what better time to host a Latin Fusion Music festival, than the present.

Alicia Jaggassar

Well known, loved and respected parang vocalist, Alicia Jaggasar takes the stage this weekend at Estate 101 in Maraval, for the first ever Latin Fusion Music Festival. The event will also feature Mario Wallerson, Shauntel Skeete, Sonja Chase, Amrika Mutro and EFX The Band, under the musical direction of Emile Fortune.

A media release issued explains that Jaggasar, the 11 time reigning Parang Queen of T&T, is the brainchild of La Casa de Fusión (The House of Fusion). Latin Fusion Music Festival will be a part of La Casa de Fusión’s annual fundraiser, which aims to raise funds to create the first Parang Training Institute in Trinidad and Tobago. Through that initiative, Jaggasar and her supporting team hope to assist youth, and enforce community development.

Saturday’s show will start at 7pm, and will feature a guest performance by the incredible, Baron.

El Alma de Parranda- the name of the institute being formed, will be the formalization of 30 years of work done with the nation’s youth. Jaggasar has produced several concerts, tutored and established parang groups, as well as young calypsonians. She has worked with schools across the country and says the institute will provide knowledge and training on the Parang art-form, using parang music as a medium to teach the Spanish language.

The festival also includes a dance competition, “Bailando” and invites dance schools, dancers and enthusiasts to enter for an opportunity to win cash prizes of between $2,0000 and $5,0000.

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