Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 11th 2014 Contents B2
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, September 11, 2014
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bought records there and often had conversations
In 1994, at a beach club opening in Berlin, he saw
a melting pot of all people but only reggae music
was played. "There were Grenadians, Trinis, people
from Guadeloupe and Guyana. I said to myself, why
don t I give them some soca music? In 1997, I opened
a club playing on Monday nights, some fellahs came
every Monday night. And a bouncer who was there,
originally from the Virgin Islands, told me you have
to play soca for them."
That same year, VP records released Soca Gold
and Trinidad performers were also exploring the
dancehall movement by incorporating their own
styles. The names back then were Bunji (who appeared
on the local airwaves with Ragga soca), Magga Dan
(now known as Maximus Prime) and 3Suns who vis-
ited Germany to mix their music.
When the sound system broke off in 2000, Millah
felt he had more freedom to play soca. In 2001,
Millah made his first visit to T&T, visiting the sister
isle first, through the advice of a former neighbour
who was originally from Tobago. He stayed with the
neighbour s family. There he met his neighbour s
sister who sang with Byron Lee. Staying with her
family in Arima, she introduced Millah to Ronnie
McIntosh, Machel Montano and Maximus. "That
was my first Carnival and that was it there. The
virus really broke out," he said.
Since then, he has visited five times for Carnival.
The last visit was in 2008. He has also frequented
New York s Labour Day playing on the road for the
band produced by his girlfriend s father. "I play for
a back yard party on the night before Labour Day,
strictly soca, no reggae," he said. "I love to play for
a mature audience. I like to see couples move together.
I let it flow, I let the people dance. I don t cut the
music, I play back in times and modern, with the
Back in Germany, Millah felt the on-the-road feel-
ing, not as a DJ but jumping along with the Soca
Twins music truck during the Carnival of Cultures,
which takes place annually in late May to early June.
Before, he played reggae music on the road. That
particular Carnival, he was replaced by a team from
Hamburg and enjoyed the jump-up instead. It also
triggered the idea of bringing his own music truck
on the road. So after talks with Franky Fyah, they
started their first band.
"We had about 20 coming out in just T-shirts.
But they didn t supply rope, so we had about 14 to
15 masqueraders and 600 behind the truck!" Millah
said. "Now we have two trucks---Carnival Fever and
Carnival Explosion. One that is strictly mas and the
with no costume."
The girlfriends of Millah and Franky Fyah are in
charge of the Carnival costume band, which has
since increased to 220 masqueraders. In all, between
the two bands, there are close to 2,000 people who
follow them. The package to the Berlin street fete
also includes tickets for a welcome party, a beach
party and a glow party. Among the Caribbean artistes
to have performed with Millah are Skinny Fabulous,
Peter Ram, Lil Rick, Bunji and Fay-Ann.
Having established himself as a go-to man for
soca music in Germany, Millah admits that its pres-
ence is still limited. Although reggae and dancehall
is still his major business, he still plays soca when
he works. The African patrons are getting into it, he
said, because of the hype of the genre azonto (which
is played in Nigeria and Ghana) and is compatible
with soca music.
"On the radios this (soca) is not happening except
for a multicultural station. And even then, that is a
few times. You get Sean Paul and Beanie (Man) but
there is more focus on hip hop and R&B," Millah
Nevertheless, Millah believes he has been able to
change a lot of people by playing soca. "Now you
see them at a lot of parties," he said.
Martin Jay, the UK s leading soca DJ, is a big fan
of Millah and DJs like the Soca Twins. Jay told the
T&T Guardian, "Barney champions soca music and
it gives us a broader horizon when Barney Millah
and the other guys in Europe are promoting soca
like it s their music. It s like it s their navel strings
are buried in the Caribbean. Full respect to Barney."
Full respect to Barney
...champion of soca music in Europe
Fyah, left, and
are also Ger-
man DJs who
have said that
paved the way
for them to
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