Originating from the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, soca music is a form of dance music descended directly from Calypso music. Soca originally blended local chutney music and burning percussion with the melodic lift of the Calypso sound. A multitude of Caribbean countries such as Guyana, Belize, Grenada, the Bahamas, and Dominica (just to name a few) have helped progress Soca music over the last 20 years.
Garfield Blackman a.k.a. Lord Shorty, is widely renowned as the father of soca music. He debuted the sound in 1973 with his tune "Indrani", culminating a decade of experimentation between East Indian rhythms and calypso. Other notable artists, singers, and composers of calypso include Superblue, Shadow, Rikki Jai, David Rudder, Machel Montano, The Baron, Krosfyah, Burning Flames, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Alison Hinds, Destra Garcia, KMC, Shurwayne Winchester, Bunji Garlin, Maximus Dan, Fay-Ann Lyons, Jamesy P, Kevin Lyttle, Claudette Peters, El-A-Kru, Square One, Patrice Roberts, Rupee, and Shawn Da Ma$tamind Noel.
Soca music is driven by a section of strong rhythm played by a drum set. Percussion is usually loud and the drum is sometimes the only instrument backing up the vocals. Traditionally, brass and string instruments such as bass guitar, electric guitar, trumpet and trombone are always present, making the music a vehicle for provocative humor and social commentary.
Evolved into other sounds over the years, Soca music has helped to create different genres of music, for example; Steelband Soca : which uses hand-crafted metal drums, alternate areas of the same steel pan instrument produce various notes creating a unique sound. Entire bands are composed of different steel pans. Rapso is a style of soca which is hip-hop oriented using dialect from the Eastern Caribbean and a strong calypso melodic influence. Parang Soca is a Spanish born(Venezuala to be exact) blend of Latin and Calypso music. Ragga is a combination of upbeat Jamaican Dancehall music and Soca performed with Trinidadian influences The instrumentation of Ragga is mostly bass and electronic instruments. Also there is Chutney Soca which is a much more traditional sound of Soca with Chutney style.
In the 21st century, soca music has progressed into a varied blend of musical styles. Now, soca music is very synth-oriented , leaning more towards courting and sexual interests having melded with Jamaican, Panamanian, American and even Japanese influences. Some innovative artists such as Machel Montano, though not the first mainstream soca performer, is credited with being the first to consistently sell-out venues world-wide, including the world-famous Masidon Square Garden in New York City, and Walker Hornung, Alison Hinds, Burning Flames Rupee, Karamel and Lans, have helped bring Soca to the world-stage.