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A return to Roots

NOMINATED for ‘Best Rap Song’ and ‘Best Rap Performance’ at the 2018 Grammy Awards, half-Trinidadian and Tobagonian hip-hop star Cardi B (Becalis Almanzar) should not have time to visit Trinidad Carnival this year, but that’s exactly what the ‘Bodak Yellow’ rapper plans to do.

The 60th annual Grammy Awards are scheduled to be aired live from Madison Square Garden in New York, on CBS, from 7.30 p.m.-11 p.m. on January 28, and whether she wins or loses, Cardi B is confirmed to perform at the Big Bad Soca event on February 7 at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba.

‘The concept behind this event,’ explained one half of the promotion team behind the event, Jay Upscale, ‘is one designed to bring soca back to South and to its roots, with both vintage and established soca acts like Bunji (Ian Alvarez) and Iwer (Iwer George), as well as rising stars such as Orlando (Orlando Octave), Lyrikal (Devon Martin) and Patrice Roberts… and also the international appeal of Grammy-nominated rap act and daughter of the soil Cardi B.’

Sokah music was created by the late Ras Shorty I (Garfield Blackman) in the late 1970s, but since then, the genre has evolved into an internationally acclaimed genre, spreading far beyond its roots in San Fernando. Over 30 years have passed since this hybrid music form originated, but in 2018, Jay Upscale and 66 Entertainment are collaborating to bring ‘soca back to the Southland’ as they host Big Bad Soca at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy car park.

Creating new history

This event will feature a special performance by the Viking of Soca, Bunji Garlin; his wife, Fay-Ann Lyons; and their Viking band. Also performing on the night will be the jump-up boss from Port Fortin, Iwer; Soca Monarch king Voice (Aaron St Louis); ladies champion Orlando; ‘Big Girl Now’ singer Patrice Roberts; US-based hit-maker Lyrikal; and popular radio personality/artiste Shal Marshal (Stevenson Marshal).

‘Big Bad Soca’ singer Bunji Garlin is understandably excited about this event and is looking forward to welcoming Cardi B to the Carnival stage.

‘Honestly, I welcome all good energies,’ he said, ‘and I’m known as an artiste that likes to push the envelope-I like to try new stuff…musically…and visually, and I’m always of the firm belief that new beginnings always present an opportunity to create new history. They also challenge you to be more creative and find new avenues or new ways, new streams and new routes-to find something new about yourself, even though the audience you’re catering to may want something familiar. So how do you be familiar

and new at the same time? These are the tests that new events provide for us the artistes. Every new event is like a new stream to the whole river of creativity that is happening.

‘Having a prominent artiste like Cardi B host this event makes it extra special because as far as I know, she’s a daughter of the T& T DNA, and this is a homecoming of sorts for her and her first time on a Carnival stage. Everyone who is a national has a birthright and is entitled to return and get involved, or be a part of what is going on where they came from…so we’re looking forward to making this Big Bad Soca experience a memorable and momentous one from everyone present on Carnival Wednesday night.’

Jay Upscale management and promotions is a top-rated artiste management and event promotion company founded and based in New York and is responsible for hosting a multitude of Caribbean-themed events for over a decade. Most recently, Jay Upscale staged the Busshead NY Tour which featured Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin and a number of guest acts. This company is renowned for attracting the NY and Tri-State Caribbean community to unique upscale venues and for always keeping the ‘authentic Caribbean elements and vibes’.

Welcome home

66 Entertainment is headed by clothing store owner and entrepreneur Rondell Roberts and is most famous for their ‘BaeWatch’ beach party series, which brought reality and social media stars Amber Rose and Black Chyna to Trinidad during Carnival 2015 and 2016.

‘We are extremely excited to bring Cardi B back home for Carnival 2017,’ said Roberts, ‘and we look forward to her lending her celebrity to the ongoing mission-which is the advancement of soca music-even as we stage this event to reclaim and rejuvenate the origins of sokah in the Southland. We believe that Cardi B is well on her way to becoming a mainstream icon in the USA, and we’re happy that she is embracing and celebrating her roots and willing to promote her home country and our exciting and engaging music, mas and culture.’

Limited advanced tickets for Big Bad Soca are available online at BigBadSocaLive. Eventbrite.com and in the coming week at local outlets. Interested parties can also contact via e-mail at bigbadsocalive@gmail.com.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

Everyone who is a national has a birthright and is entitled to return and get involved, or be a part of what is going on where they came from

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