Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 27th 2014 Contents A34
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, January 27, 2014
live music shows.
"As far as non-soca music is concerned,
there is a thriving post-Carnival circuit
that is alive and throbs with energy and
talent. This is where you d find artistes
like Dayo Bejide Jazz Project, co-ordinated
by the sons of the late Jah Jah Oga Onilu
(Modupe and Baba); Vaugnette Bigford,
Chantal Esdelle, John John Francis, Sean
Thomas, Gyazette, and Glenda Collens &
"It is good to juxtapose traditional calyp-
so and soca with the more modern, non-
soca material live music offerings because
this provides a sense of the wealth, length
and breadth of music that emanates from
"T&T is fortunate to have two gifted sons who
are shining the light of soca on the world stage. In
years to come the contribution of these two gifted
and talented artistes will lay the groundwork for
soca artistes in the future."
The title of Sylvester s PhD studies, at the St
Augustine campus of UWI, is Sociology of Music.
She is focusing on music and its identity, with
regard to all of T&T s indigenous music.
Born in St Ann s, Sylvester spent most of her life
in Maracas, St Joseph, Tunapuna and St Augustine.
She attended St Xavier s Private School in St Joseph,
St Joseph s Convent, St Joseph, and UWI.
She said: "I am from a musical family so from
a child I was connected to music. After piano tuition,
I moved on to the playing the guitar. My father
always played jazz music in the house, plus I have
an uncle who is an accomplished cuatrista and par-
randero, so I grew up on that. So, being around
live music my whole life was my main motivator."
Sylvester explained: "The principal focus of my
thesis is ragga soca music, which is the hybrid of
Jamaica s reggae and dancehall (chanting lyrics)
and T&T s soca music (rhythms). Looking at the
literature of our arts I realise that a lot had been
written about calypso, especially by Dr Gordon
Rohlehr and Dr Louis Regis, and there was a lot
of information about rapso, both by Bro Resistance
himself, and Marsha Pearce and others, especially
on the contribution of 3Canal.
"There was, however, a dearth of information
on the sub-genre of ragga soca . I wanted to explore
Sylvester is a virtual encyclopaedia of knowledge
as far as soca music, reggae and rapso are concerned.
"After examining who were the ragga soca artistes
of T&T, I discovered Bunji Garlin, Maximus Dan,
General Grant and KMC. I began exploring their
music and their contribution to this particular sub-
genre. This led me to want to write about it, as
this is one of the indigenous musics of T&T."
The music of Black Stalin and Shadow also had
an impact on Sylvester. "This was so because of
their hard-hitting social commentary and the
uniqueness of their music, how they performed,
and the values of their compositions."
This young academic claimed that she is in much
demand, at home and abroad, to lecture on T&T
culture. On a light note, she said: "I think I may
have to begin to take T&T flags when I go abroad,
as people are extremely curious about our country
and its indigenous music. For instance, I got an
invitation from an academic in Egypt to write an
article for the International Sociological Association
E-Symposium. My article on T&T music was pub-
lished in December 2013."
Apart from soca, reggae and rapso, Sylvester also
has a deep affinity with jazz, no doubt instilled
from her childhood.
"There is a lively jazz music scene in existence
locally and I play a very active part in that as well.
I attend all the shows as an avid connoisseur of
the music, as well as other indigenous non-soca
HEART OF SOCA from Page A33
Meagan Sylvester holds a BSc in
sociology and government and a post-
graduate diploma in international
relations. She has a Masters of
Philosophy (MPhil) in Sociology of
Development with a special emphasis
in research, development and political
economy of the Caribbean from UWI,
St Augustine and Mona campuses,
She is finishing her PhD in sociology
with special emphasis on music and
identity in T&T at St Augustine.
Sylvester teaches the sociology of
music and history of the Caribbean.
To date, Sylvester has several
articles published on higher education
in the Caribbean, developmental
research options for the Caribbean and
music and identity in the Caribbean.
Sylvester's intrigued with soca, reggae, rapso
Popular music analyst Meagan Sylvester urges soca fans not to forget Machel Montano's
many achievements as Bunji Garlin makes his presence felt internationally.
PHOTO: BRIAN NG FATT
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