>> Tuesday, October 27, 2009
"...In this moment of history
Tell it in every community
Our nation is born
Colonialism is gone..."
~ Vibrating Scakes
Thirty years ago today, St. Vincent and the Grenadines became an independent nation. For the thousands who travelled home to mark the occasion, those overseas taking time out to celebrate, and the thousands more on those beautiful islands dressed head to toe in their national colours....I salute you.
This blog is about music, soca music to be exact. If you're reading this, then you probably already know the kind of impact St. Vincent has made to the art form. None the less, I would be amiss not to educate you on just how much St. Vincent has done for this music called soca.
Our musical heritage is fierce and proud. I think of writers and arrangers like Frankie McIntosh whose work behind the scenes can be heard on endless soca classics...not just Vincy hits, innah. Songs like Lorraine by Explainer, Thunder by The Mighty Duke, Tension by Shadow, and the list goes on and on.
Then there's Granville Straker, another Vincentian who was responsible for most of the 12 inch records in your parent/grandparents collection. Brooklyn's Straker Records brought Calypso and Soca to the ears of thousands internationally, by actually recording, producing and distributing Caribbean music on wax. This is Vincy heritage...but it's general soca heritage too. I mean what would soca be if we never had recordings of Black Stalin's "Ah Feel To Party" or Shadow's "Bassman"? Those are just examples, but the legacy continues.
As Jamaican dub began to take hold of the entire Caribbean at the end of the 1980's, St. Vincent was first to utilize dub chanting in soca songs to give it a youthful, heart pounding swagger. We continued to pump out downtempo riddims for the road, and called it Ragga Soca. The Vincy contribution to soca music is certainly international, right up to the modern day. We salute a new generation of artistes for waving their flag proudly as international music contracts made Kevin Lyttle and Jamesy P into household names the world over.
We think of the veterans like Poorsah and Beckett whose countless songs tell the history of our nation with unabashed honesty, and even criticism. We remember the bands such as Touch, Asterisks, and X-A-Dus whose innovative music is responsible for what we know as the signature Vincy sound.
Thirty years later, as Sweet Vincy continues to make its humble mark on the region and the world, let us continue to work together, achieve and celebrate a bright future together.
For some reason, many people who listen to me on the radio and read my blog seem to think I'm from some place else. And even though I was born in Canada (a proud of this country as well), St. Vincent and the Grenadines is home. I am a proud Vincentian through and through. Today, I finally get to show off my pride!
To mark the occasion, I dug up a special video by one of our most talented Calypsonians, Kenneth "Vibrating Scakes" Alleyne. When's the last time you saw this one?
In view of the recent violence and tragedies going on in St. Vincent these days, I couldn't think of a better song to remind us that unity is our key to a prosperous future. Happy 30th Anniversary of Independence St. Vincent and the Grenadines!
Love and Liberty,