Written by: Lesandra Scott
Now that the merry Monarch has wined his way through the Caribbean leaving many in his wake with happy memories and some carrying ‘Carnival Babies’ LOL, let us review the songs that heated up the roads of the different islands and had masqueraders and revelers unapologetically jumping and dancing themselves into a frenzy.
Trinidad and Tobago
In Trinidad and Tobago, the chant of “I not going no small fete, let me extend my apology. Only big fete with big flag, going overhead like canopy.” was heard more than others on February 20-21. Masqueraders and onlookers alike witnessed the way ‘Hard Fete’ by Bunji Garlin commanded the reactions of the listeners; throwing their hands in the air and jumping to the high heavens.
Boldly grabbing the title for Road March in the Nature Isle is Mighty D. His energetic ensemble “Talking Dogs” was a favorite from the season which was reflected in the judging! Dominica’s carnival ran from February 20th to the 21st and this year made a return since the pandemic.
US Virgin Islands
Fun fact: Carnival in the US Virgin Islands occurs at different times throughout the year. On the island of St. Thomas, their carnival is celebrated in April/May; on the island of St. John it is celebrated in June/July and in December the island of St. Croix has its celebration! This year, St. Thomas’ Carnival Road March Song was crowned by Karnage with “Shake Up”.
St. Vincent & the Grenadines
St. Vincent & the Grenadines celebrated their carnival from June 30th to July 11th and Fireman Hooper’s Madness had a direct hand in the pot of enjoyment. Undoubtedly he made the road experience tons better and was voted Road March Champion of 2023! This infectious and catchy music ensemble was the reason for women bending over and men as well as women gyrating on each AND every available bumpa.
Imran Nerdy, in Saint Lucia, orchestrated a mass Clock Out from work, kickstarting the carnival festivities that spanned from July 1st to the 19th. The Road March champion of Clock Out seamlessly fused classic soca elements with what John-public would like which ultimately proved to be the winning formula!
Then there was Quan De Artistes’ contribution to Crop Over, with his hit Waistline. High-energy and infectious it dominated the Barbados soca scene. Waistline proved to be a feel-good story with a catchy beat. On the PTP Riddim, this song from Quan De Artiste has racked up more than 334K views on the artiste’s YouTube channel and it’s not hard to see why.
Antigua and Barbuda
According to Ricardo Drue, “In Antigua, we party different” which he explained in his song Last One Standing. Undoubtedly a whirlwind of energy it is on the Funny Riddim and it made dancing and getting on to the song as automatic as breathing. Easily distinguished by its upbeat rhythm, it became the Road March. Antigua and Barbuda Carnival was celebrated from Thursday 27th July to Tuesday 8th August 2023.
Over on the Spice island of Grenada, they had a tie for first place! Grabbing and keeping the hearts of Greandians and visitors were Rabulous with his song ‘Farmer’ and Temptress with her song ‘Toot Toot’. These songs’ popularity was measured by their ability to put you in a chokehold with their ability to create an atmosphere that was happy, euphoric even. Both songs were a staple at shows, parties, and events throughout the carnival season which started as early as July 6th all through August 15th!
These winners embody the essence that is soca music, each done so with their distinctive style. Their songs are poised and some, more than others, have become anthems, a profound mark left on audiences. In 2023 so far, it can be said that a great year of soca music was had and we at Caribbean Entertainment Hub can’t wait to see what will be in store in 2024.
If you’re new to some of these hits, you can get a taste in the playlist below and if you’ve been a lover of the song, tap in for the nostalgia!
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