Trinidad & Tobago Dispatch 3: A World of Soca and Calypso

3canalMy time spent here so far has been anything, but quiet and uneventful. Over the past two days my ears have taken in so much Soca, Calypso, Soca-Chutney, Rapso, and various other forms of the two main genres. With two more weeks remaining on this trip it is guaranteed I’ll know every single song by heart. My first real dive into an unknown was an evening spent at the Little Carib Theatre for the Vibes It Up show featuring popular Rapso group 3canal. Rapso is the mixture of island Calypso in its slower and traditional form with today’s urban up tempo Rap music. Fueled by personal experiences and political issues in Trinidad & Tobago the group accompanied by their band, the comical Jamettes and a handful of other artists kept the night moving despite the blaring music seeping into the venue from a fete next door. As an outsider looking in, I felt the show was interesting and filled with a range of talented artists, but prefer regular Calypso’s over Rapso. (For a perspective other than my own and from someone who seems to follow their music regularly I suggest visiting this Francomenz site.)

3canal was only the start of my eclectic music packed weekend. The next item on the menu was MachalAC4 Montano & Xtatik’s Alternative Concept 4 concert which was hyped to no end. Machal is one of the best Soca artists around helping to take Soca to the distance and convince the world that Trinidad is indeed a cosmopolitan place. After some full-scale liming earlier that day in St. James and at Crobar I headed back to the hills of Cascade for a brief snooze to prepare for this Global Village I would later encounter. Getting some shut eye was tough due to the level excitement flowing in my veins. I laid down, got up and laid down again. Music from one of the neighbor’s place made it into the apartment. I got up again and looked at the clock. One and a half hours before my friend would pick me up and they were running late. Make that two. At this point I lost hope in sleeping and opted to play some Bob while I waited and walked the apartment.  Finally my friends showed and the night became alive again – off to see Montano!

When we showed at the Queen’s Park Savannah hordes of people had already arrived. Many were hanging out front waiting for friends while a few headed in to snag the closest spots to the front possible. While there were still several other events taking place around the island I believe at least 20,000 showed up to AC4. Several folks who came being hard-core Montano fan’s only wished to see Montano and the rest of us were drooling for all. Wyclef, Mr. Vegas, Maximus Dan, Allison Hinds, KMC, Bunji Garlin, Patrice Roberts, Minimi and a load of folks were on deck to ignite the crowd. The show went for what seems like forever. I admit my legs started getting just a tad shaky and I kept wishing I had gotten that nap in beforehand. Too late now. Jump, wave your rag, wine, and please don’t let another person stomp on my foot. In short the party didn’t stop until 5 AM, I enjoyed myself tremendously and in terms of pre-Carnival prep – I’m guessing I haven’t seen nothin’ yet.