Reggae or Soca: Which is the better Caribbean Music?

Reggae and Soca are two genres of music which have contributed and impacted the music industry positively although they appeal to totally different audiences and use different instruments to create their rhythms and sounds. While the inception of Reggae  was in the early 1960’s and Soca in the early 1970’s both have their strengths as millions of people support artistes, albums, and stage performances, and have been trail blazing since the first hit.

Reggae or Soca: Which is the better Caribbean Music?Reggae is a unique genre of music which originated in Jamaica in the early 1960’s. It is widely regarded as a variation of the American Rhythm and Blues genre. Many claim it was derived with elements from Mento, Rhythm and Blues, and Ska, the latter already a popular genre in Jamaica for years. Significant types to have spawned include Roots Reggae, Dub, Lovers Rock, with newer forms being Dancehall and Reggae Fusion. Musical instruments heavily associated with Reggae are the Bass and Rhythm guitar, and Percussion drums. The sound of the Bass guitar dominates most of Reggae with drum beat variations and Rhythm guitar sound throughout. The Highly notable names include Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh who pioneered the early sounds of this distinctive genre. Marley helped Reggae gain attention worldwide for his captivating lyrics which emphasized peace, love and unity among all people.

Reggae or Soca: Which is the better Caribbean Music?

Alison Hinds – Photo credit :

When you hear of famous artistes like Destra Garcia, Kes the Band, Rupee, Kevin Lyttle, Alison Hinds and Machel Montano, among other greatly renowned songbirds you automatically think Soca. These artistes have all made their mark in the music industry in the genre, as Soca is praised by countries in the Caribbean and worldwide. It originated in Trinidad and Tobago in 1973, Garfield Blackman is one of its pioneers.  Soca is a blend of Calypso and Soul. Soca’s history is multi-faceted and its musical style is infectious, upbeat and vibrant and allows its listeners to escape reality and enter into a temporary world of unity and express their creativity, aspects which the vibrant music promotes.

Artistes like Destra expresses that Soca puts her in the state of — bazodee — which means to be totally confused. Soca sub genres include Rapso, Chutney Soca, Steel band Soca, Groovy Soca and Ragga Soca are only five of the eight. Soca has been played mainly at the legendary festival Carnival, where international artistes celebrate with performances which showcase their talent and they share in the togetherness the music brings.

Many conclude that Reggae is more recognized than Soca music, and for various reasons. Soca is a nice blend of catchy lyrics to a rapid rhythm targeting audiences at fetes, especially carnival celebrations. Reggae on the other hand can escalate from a one-drop single flow, to an energetic beat, to a slow jazzy rhythm. In short, Reggae lyrics bring real life issues such as social and economic strife, poverty and politics to the fore whereas Soca gives its listeners an escape from these life stressors.

Bob Marley Photo Credit:

By Alex Daley



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