Duchess bats for ‘integration’
BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor — Auto and Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org
TRINIDAD and Tobago's DJ Duchess provided the soundtrack for thousands of soca faithful to 'ring in the new year' at the Mas Camp in St Andrew, last Friday.
She was ably assisted by DJ Bambino, DJ Richie Ras and ZJ Sparks. Her soca set had interludes of Buju Banton's Driva , Dawn Penn's No, No, No, Junior Reid's One Blood, as well as Rihanna's We Found Love.
"I play a bit of everything... dancehall, hip hop, and reggae. That's the reason they love my vibes in Jamaica," said Duchess, who has been performing here for the last five years.
Soca music has not produced many international hit songs. Arrow's Hot Hot Hot (1998) and the Baha Men's Who Let the Dogs Out? (2000) are standouts.
Duchess (given name Alicia Awai), however, feels it is only a matter of time before that changes.
"I think Bunji Garlin's remix of Differentology will be the one that makes the difference. I like the direction the music is taking as it will open the music up to an international audience," she said.
The Differentology remix is produced by hot American producers Major Lazer, whose collaborations with Jamaican artistes Vybz Kartel On Pon Di Floor, Busy Signal Watch Out Fi Dis, and Johnny Osbourne Jah Nuh Partial have fared well in the United States. American rapper Busta Rhymes has also added his voice to the track.
"The fusion will take soca from the Caribbean to the rest of the world," she said.
The event — Bacchanal New Year — saw 'socaphiles' outfitted with party favours, including horns, hats and coloured necklaces, as they counted down to the 2014 season.
"This is the kick-off to the carnival season. People are dying for carnival as our parties are affordable, clean and safe," said businessman Michael Ammar Jr, a director of Bacchanal Jamaica. "It's not a new year until we say so."
The fourteen costumes which will be available for the 2014 carnival season were also paraded.