Trinidad & Tobago – Not Just Calypso, Soca and Chutney

Photo courtesy of The Supernormal Band – an upcoming Rock Band in T&T

Carnival, steelpan, limbo and the music styles of calypso, soca and chutney – this is what Trinidad & Tobago is known for.  However there is a growing rock scene with bands like Orange Sky and Joint Pop playing its music internationally while many others wait to be discovered. On March 21st 2015 the Skyy Rock Annual Festival was launched with the energetic and infectious sounds from 10 local bands – many playing their own brand of rock music, with some producing an innovative soca/rock fusion that can only be born through the creative expression that is unique to the Caribbean culture. Janine Charles-Farry, in the Trinidad Guardian (March 29 2015), writes the following about The Supernormal Band’s performance at this Festival … “lead singer Andy Rambharat and his surprisingly beautiful vibrato vocal tone, along with a face-melting lead guitar solo from Johnathon Agostini that nearly set the microphones on fire. Zombies took the mood into a kaiso/rock crossover with some colloquial ad-libs sung in the mix.”   Should this blend of soca and rock be an intellectual property right for T&T to protect?  To hear more from The SuperNormal Band and other rock bands in T&T, please visit.

 “The creative industry of T&T is dynamic and multifaceted given its long history of globalization and the plurality of ethnicities”, states Dr. Tewarie, 2013.  As T&T seeks to diversify from its dependence on oil and gas, the creative sector has been identified as one with potential to be among the most diverse and viable sectors and, with the onset of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, this sector can be marketed with a click of a mouse.  But how do we find ways to transform these creative industries into profitable enterprises?

The University of the West Indies has taken a step forward and has signed a regional, non-reimbursable technical cooperation with the IDB entitled Caribbean Regional Entrepreneurial Asset Commercialization Hub (REACH) which will create an online regional platform that will facilitate the information exchange of the creative industries and management of the intellectual assets to generate new revenue streams.  A Startup Weekend was held in T&T in June this year during which participants were provided the opportunity to pitch their ideas, receive coaching to build their concepts and products and then present their work to a panel of well-qualified and experienced judges – all this in just 54 hours! The winning participants have the opportunity to be part of the REACH Caribbean Innovative Competition (CIC), a regional contest and business start-up accelerator for innovative ideas with commercialisation potential.  To find out more about the REACH project and the CIC opportunities, please visit the website.



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Show 5 Comments


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    January 29, 2016 Reply

    It is difficult to transform this industry into profitable enterprises when the support from the "local communities" is also limited, and more focused on music, programming and arts out of the US and beyond. I understand that the media must have a certain content that is local, but this seems to be dominated by the "Trinidad Mainstream" of Soca, Calypso and Chutney... maybe, for a start, some focus could be given to promoting genres not typically associated with the aforementioned ones, on radio /TV stations to showcase these talents and to expose the population to other local talent....or is this already done???

  • avatar image
    January 31, 2016 Reply

    Through my grandson Johnathon, I have come to realize how active and vibrant the Rock Scene is in T&T. The music industry, regardless of whether it is the music that T&T is known for (calypso, soca, chutney) or this rock fusion (as my daughter alludes to in this blog) it is a difficult one to really carve out a living but .... what I have noticed is that these young people are full of passion - they have a drive and it is not always about financial rewards. Though I may not always appreciate their sound, it is great to see them so engaged in something positive. Congrats to The Supernormal Band and other like-minded T&T performers. Keep living and finding your passion! The rewards will be yours!!

  • avatar image
    February 1, 2016 Reply

    As is mentioned in the article, Trinidad is a hot bed of creativity and passion. I am truly inspired by these talented musicians who completely engage in their craft whether or not there's financial gain.

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    February 1, 2016 Reply

    Great to see that the IDB and UWI are collaborating to support innovation. I wish to encourage everyone to visit the links ... a lot of information on this timely project. It was not clear however UWI's involvement and/or whom at UWI could be contacted for additional information. There are many organization's logos e.g. OAS, UNDP, etc but not UWI. A scan at UWI's website is not very helpful as only two items come up - the launch of REACH and the Start-up Weekend that took place last year. I'm sure that additional/follow-up events, activities must be in the works. Looking forward to hearing more about this important initiative and some of the results of the past activities.

  • avatar image
    February 1, 2016 Reply

    The Supernormal Banddddd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yeah

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