Music for the mas

The new music that is reflecting the region right now

Chucky. Photograph by Sancho Francisco (Iconic Image)Farmer Nappy. Photograph by Laura FerreiraShurwayne Winchester. Photograph by www.foto-melange.com

Soca singers are hardly putting out albums for Carnival – have you noticed? Instead they are churning out singles, via either radio release or downloads on the Internet. Since the latter part of last year, Carnival singles have been coming fast and furious. By the time this issue of Caribbean Beat is published, a slew of new music will have hit the airwaves, but here’s a look at some of the early releases from some big names.

Shurwayne Winchester rides the contagious Rich Boy riddim with “Wine on It”. He’s always experimenting with different genres, and this dancehall formula is a good fit for the lanky Tobago-born artist and former Road March winner, who seems quite at home in this setting.

Former Junior Calypso Monarch and 2011 soca newcomer Meagan Waldron seems to have settled well into the arena. On her single “Push Back”, the young Waldron’s airy and nasal singing voice is almost unrecognisable. Try not to hold the song’s nonsensical lyrics against her. The song, by the way, was produced by G Master.

Singing DJ Shal Marshall is at it again, this time with the single titled “Trouble”, a song about an out-of-control party girl. You are excused if you think you’re listening to Machel Montano at first, such is the similarity of Marshall’s singing voice to Montano’s on this single. But Marshall is hardly a copycat, and has a style of his own. “Trouble” is on the Ska Riddim rhythm and was written by Marshall and GBM.

Speaking of Montano, the current Road March winner has really brought melody back to the soca dance with “Gyal Wuk”, better known as “Whistle and Wine”. Even if you’re not a Machel fan you’ll be whistling that tune long after the track is over.

The lyrics to “Gyal Wuk” follow the unofficial how-to-make-a-soca-song script of endless wining and bouncing of bumpers. But the sweetness of that whistle throughout the song makes all the difference. Credit Kevin “Bubbles” Marshall and Darian Bailey for producing this ditty, bound to be just one of Machel’s hits for the season.

Farmer Nappy, from Machel’s band HD, has long been criticised for blowing hot and cold musically. File his latest single, “Surrender”, under the hot list. The track was produced by Barbados-based hit-makers De Red Boyz and written by the singer and Jason Shaft Bishop.The bouyon-infused track empowers Nappy’s voice, which is sometimes lost in some of his soca outings. This one ought to gain him some new fans.

If you’re into humorous soca, try “Tracking for Size”, by Chucky. The beat is simple and the topic is well understood by many a Caribbean man, and woman too. Listen to Chucky’s smooth-talking lyrics, and his shout-outs to different women he wants to track (“pursue”, for readers from outside the Caribbean), including some female soca artistes.