Nostalgia appears to control the airwaves as many of the soca songs released for the 2020 season seem to have a hint of years past.
Swappi’s remake of Baron’s 1983 hit Feelin It and Ravi B’s collaboration with Superblue on Omalay, itself a remake of Blueboy’s 1982 hit, are the flag bearers for the flood of revisited records this season.
The appetite for nostalgia has only been fed further by appearances by Lord Nelson with Patrice Roberts and Calypso Rose with Destra and Nailah Blackman) while Iwer George has simply recycled his 90s hit Yes Iwer, as he did with Road March Bacchanal last year. Countless other songs feature instruments more closely associated with past eras.
In Precision Production’s synopsis for the Skinner Park Riddim, they acknowledged that following the announcement of the renovation of the facility, memories of events held at the venue inspired the work. The instrumental samples the 1978 track from Ed Watson and The Brass Circle’s, Controversy, another homage in itself to the past.
But soca artistes say while remakes may be more prevalent now, it isn’t a new trend.
“I guess for 2019, approaching 2020 it’s a little more. The artist has taken a little more notice where that is concerned to bridge the gap between the old and the new because of the classics, the classical instruments, the classic feel,” said Marvin Davis, better known as Swappi.
“Bunji did, Machel did it, Ghetto Flex, he did it you know, so it has been done. But doing it is one thing but you know you always have to remember to do the right thing, to do it the correct way,” he said.
“If you touching a classic, if you looking to dabble into a classic piece of art, two things must happen. It must be bigger and it must complement or enhance that classical piece because a classical piece is very fragile to the public for someone to come and interfere with. People pay very close attention to classical pieces, so if it is done it has to be done properly.”
According to the reigning Groovy Soca Monarch, the Feelin’ It remake was a childhood dream fulfilled.
“With respect to the Baron, that was in the making ever since I was small. I was a tune that I always love, a tune that I always liked and I just keep telling myself I would like to touch on this and do a remake and you know the opportunity finally presented itself last year when I saw Uncle Baron at Estate 101,” he said.
Swappi said the remake was not immediately discussed then but hat meeting sparked the relationship that allowed it to be done.
Bunji Garlin is no stranger to remaking classics, having re-introduced Lorraine to modern audiences alongside Explainer in 2005, while his hits Fiery, Hold Ah Burn and Savage among others have all been reinterpretations of soca classics.
He welcomes the increase in the number of remakes, as he believes it has helped bridge a gap that developed between age groups.
He recalled that despite interest from younger artistes during his earlier years, they had often found difficulty getting the approval from the established acts of yesteryear.
n Continues on Page B2
“It was kind of a new scenario for everybody, for the people who own the original music and the people who want to tap into the music, so the people who own the original music too would have kind of been sceptical too because they would not have always understand. Well why you want to use my music, I build my thing, I fight hard.
“But it not really that you were trying to take advantage of or looking for a free ride but sometimes those things so special it just go together with it and if it presented properly both sides of the table stand to benefit from it. That’s my take on it,” said Garlin, who credited MX Prime’s (Maximus Dan) Soca Train in 2004 for breaking the barrier.
“That is where people really paid attention that if you remix these classics in a sensible way, or the perfect way, it will have a real impact for both the old version of the song and new version of the song,” he said.
Leston Paul, the producer of Feeling It , welcomed the mixing of old with new, as he saw the benefits for both sides.
“What it does really too it gives those songs a fresh new approach and generates a type of awareness of the music back in those times. and particularly to the young listeners and artists also that wasn’t around when those songs came out so it sounds like something new and something fresh,” said Paul, who drew reference to hip hop music, noting that as that genre grew in popularity, younger artistes sampled older hip hop tracks as well.
“And the positive things about that the writers of those songs and the producers they have an opportunity again to make money off of the royalties,” he said., “I think it’s a positive thing. Some people may find that when a song is that good, nobody should really touch it to do any remakes but I guess with the technology and everybody still searching for things musically it’s like going back to come forward. Nothing is really wrong with that.”