With the rising influence of Grenadian Jab Jab and Vincy ‘pace’ in regional soca music, it may seem that Barbados is losing its superstar status in the genre.
In the 1990s, Barbadian soca artistes were the key to sold-out fetes in carnivals and diaspora celebrations the world over. Leading the charge were Alison Hinds and Square One, Rupee and the Coalishun band as well as Krosfyah, fronted by Edwin Yearwood. However, musical interests have shifted, with Jamaican-influenced riddims and Trinidadian performers dominating the airwaves.
Although Bajan soca artists may not be ‘invading’ regional markets as much as they did in the past, some artistes believe the beat still lives on.
“Edwin Yearwood is still someone that I really watch… [and] Krosfyah was a band I looked up to for years going back to when I was a member of Xtatik…” Farmer Nappy told Bajan Vibes. He was speaking after his performance at this year’s Soca on De Hill, held last Sunday at Farley Hill National Park.
The Hooking Meh singer believed that Barbados was at the core of his music, since he has worked closely with producers De Red Boyz for several years. “… My music is a particular kind of music and it was created with De Red Boyz. There is a chemistry between me and De Red Boyz… I call [what they have] the KFC recipe… because no one else has it. De Red Boyz has the seasoning for Farmer Nappy.”
Singer/songwriter Nadia Batson believed that Barbados was still a “relevant” player in soca music, but also asserted that the genre has been breaking national barriers. “Before, it was Bajan soca, Trini soca, Vincy soca. Look at this year, and how Skinny [Fabulous] won the road march in Trinidad (alongside Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin). Those barriers keep breaking down,” she said after her performance at Soca on De Hill.
“I keep telling everyone that the powers that be don’t understand any other language than numbers. So even though we may have a different sound in each of the islands, we cannot look at it as [there are] Bajan artists and Trini artistes. Plus, the fans are one step ahead of us because they just look at all of us as stars.” (BT)