How big is the Soca Kingdom?*
It’s Machel Monday, and a trending topic is The King of Soca, Machel Montano’s bold declaration that Soca is the “music of the Caribbean.”
We are not aiming to get into a disagreement with our Jamaican breathren and sistren – we just ask them to take The Monk’s word for it. How can you argue with that when the song mashing up parties and fetes in T&T this carnival season, Run Wid It, is sung by a Grenadian?
Or that Machel’s own creation, “Falamay” (laylaylay etc), has been co-opted by cast members of the Netflix show, Orange is the New Black, with video of them jumping up, on set after filming, to Famalay. The video was posted online, and Machel said his friend and collab partner, Bunji Garlin, sent it to him.
“This amazing. This is Soca to the universe”, gushed Monk on CNC3’s Morning Brew.
“(There was a moment) when The Clash, The Police, Rolling Stones and everybody was flying down to Jamaica to find out what reggae was from Bob Marley… this is the moment when Soca was hitting people all across the world.”
“The first day we released this song, we had video from it from a party in Australia, going crazy. We had video from it from everywhere, going crazy.”
Machel raised eyebrows and launched a thousand radio talk shows when he said that, in addition to the fact that Soca has gone abroad big time, that “it no longer belongs to us.”
He pointed to how big it is in Barbados, led by the likes of Alison Hinds; and to the huge popularity of Grenadian acts like Mr Killa and Natty and Thunder.
“Are we not grateful that the Bajans making Soca and Skinny Fabulous writing songs like Famalay?”, Monk asked.
“It does not belong to us alone… it belongs to all of us in the islands.”
That Machel Monday is now firmly a part of the carnival is testament to the huge place that Monk occupies in T&T culture. He says he had been looking for an alternative concept to “something like Brass Festival.” He went through a couple of concepts, but eventually, with the help of a suggestion from his mother, Machel Monday was born.
If you went to the show, us how it was for you.
**See what we did there?