The King of Soca has amazed his fans by turning to… calypso.
Machel Montano’s latest release, Soul of Calypso, takes its title from the origins of the name ‘soca’, coined by Lord Shorty in 1973/74. With classic calypso rhythm driven by trumpet, trombone, sax, clarinet, bass, African drum, electric guitar and cuatro – the track was produced by Machel and Michael ‘Tano’ Montano.
In true kaiso style, it’s the clever, funny, well-crafted lyrics that are wowing listeners. Machel takes us through the birth of Soca to “a mother named Calypso” in around 1974 – the year of his own birth, as he reminds us later in the song.
Taking us through the soca songs of the past – Moving to the Left, Palance, Soca Baptist – Machel concludes, “Soca is a spiritual bacchanal, just like Calypso.”
The message is clear: “Calypso is Soca and Soca is Calypso, sister Chutney and brother Ragga, born right here in Trinbago.”
Reaction has been close to ecstatic: @MsSherls wrote on the song’s YouTube page: “I had the biggest smile on my face throughout this entire song. Thank you Machel for bringing us this amazing calypso that we didn’t know we needed.” @oyainspires133 enthused: “Tying soca into Calypso is genius and works so well because it resonates. Oh this is one tune I can get behind, I love it so much,” while @zandraforsyth1699 wrote: “Verse after verse, I honestly did not want the song to end.”
Machel will be taking a step back from Carnival this year because he’s focusing on completing a Master of Arts in Carnival Studies. The University of Trinidad and Tobago course includes the history and evolution of Carnival music and instrumentation, prompting @Saint_MUFC to comment, “The man submit he assignment for we to grade!”
You can decide by listening to Soul of Calypso whether it is a D- or an A+.
The following video shows Machel performing at Divas Cabaret International, where he was judged for inclusion in this year’s Calypso Monarch semi-finals in Skinner Park.