Soca music is a dynamic mix of Calypso and Indian music. Soca rhythm and beats are hit out on a bunch of different Indian rhythm instruments like the dholak, tabla and dhantal. It is most popular in the Caribbean, but also has fans around the world.
Garfield Blackman, more popularly known as Lord Shorty and Ras Shorty I, was the innovator of Soca music. When Shorty was a kid he always heard Calypso or Indian music being played around him. He created Soca music by combining Calypso and Indian music together– and added lots of beats toit with a bunch of Indian rhythm instruments. Lord Shorty first called this new musical style Solca, representing the true “Soul of Calypso.” Solca became popularly known as Soca. Lord Shorty wanted Soca “to uplift people’s spirits”.
Soca spread around the world like a hurricane after several hits by Soca performer Arrow, including Hot Hot Hot.
Soca numbers by several other performers are also very popular. Soca continues to evolve into new musical forms.
Jamoo is a mix of reggae and gospel, with a modest following . It was pioneered by Lord Shorty after he quit performing Soca. Jamoo spreads a message of goodness and spirituality, as Lord Shorty had originally intended Soca to do. But Lord Shorty came to feel Soca performers were spreading bad messages in sharp contrast to its original purpose: “to uplift the spirits of the people.”
A Little Bit About Shorty and His Childhood
Garfield Blackman, who would become most widely known to the world as Lord Shorty then as Ras Shorty I, an extraordinary Calypso singer and composer who invented Soca Music and Jamoo Music, was born in Trinidad on October 6, 1941. During his childhood in Trinidad, Shorty was exposed to a sea of music: Caribbean Calypso music, West African Music, and East Indian music. As a young child Shorty “was inspired by his older brother George, who played the mouth organ, and he was so talented that he soon mastered the organ and the guitar,” a cousin recalls. Garfield Blackman aka Lord Shorty aka Ras Short I started singing Calypso songs before he was seven.