A report by Stephanie Lyew for Jamaica’s Gleaner.
There is no specific season or reason for soca music, said Erphaan Alves, who has been pushing the ‘No Seasons’ campaign that promotes the release of soca music all year round. A true ambassador of the genre of his birthplace, Trinidad and Tobago, Alves told The Gleaner that he wants to change the way soca is perceived.
“Over the years, soc, has been stigmatised as carnival music – about the jump-and-wine mentality. That is not the whole truth,” Alves said.
With the postponement of Jamaica’s calendar of events for the carnival season due to the outbreak of COVID-19, there are many persons experiencing the feeling of ‘tabanca’ – depression or yearning – and soca for many uplifts their spirits, said the Soca Global artiste.
Over the past decade, Alves has released music in keeping with his ‘No Seasons’ campaign, and he has found another outlet to demonstrate the power of the genre with a new musical project while providing inspiration to the people to “hold on”, which is, appropriately, the title of the song produced by Lunatix Productions.
“So, basically, I had Hold On for approximately two years, contemplating, along with the producer, the right time to put it out there, before or after carnival, before even the coronavirus was confirmed in Trinidad and became a Caribbean reality. It so happened the pandemic is the current situation of the world,” he explained.
The lyrics are relevant to the time with the first verse beginning, “I don’t believe in hurting, I just want to heal, distance causes stressing, please connect to me”, and all the song needed was the visuals to accompany it.
In a short space of time, Alves and trusted videographer friend Steven Taylor, who worked on previous music videos with him, developed the concept of using videos of people unfiltered, in their natural settings, dealing with quarantine and isolation across the globe.
He said: “It was the best approach since we are not allowed to have big gatherings. We put out the message about what we would be doing, and immediately, persons started to respond. He [the videographer] still had to direct the participants in a realistic setting using technology and mediums like Skype.”
Participants from over 50 cities around the world including in St Lucia, the United States, Canada, Italy, and China, made the global music video a possibility with clippings of musicians doing their renditions of Hold On, couples dancing in their living rooms, and families engaging in activities together – all tear-jerking moments. It premiered on Monday, March 23, and is gradually picking up views.
“Everybody had their unique spark. I can’t pinpoint any specific video that stood out, but I must admire the musicians that did covers, playing different instruments from the drum, steel pan to the piano, and admire that they decided to play it one time, all done in a few hours for the purpose of the global video,” he said.