Producer Dada: Bunji, Shurwayne rekindling power soca energy on Smoke Riddim

Shurwayne Winchester's Wet Dem Down is on the Smoke Riddim produced by Krishna
Shurwayne Winchester's Wet Dem Down is on the Smoke Riddim produced by Krishna "Dada" Lawrence of dada-manufakture. -

Producer Krishna "Dada" Lawrence of dada-manufakture says the Smoke Riddim is a hybrid fusion of "bouyon soca" featuring elements of bouyon music from Dominica and soca music. -

AWARD-WINNING producer Dada has expressed hope his new Smoke Riddim, which features songs by ragga soca artist Ian "Bunji Garlin" Alvarez and soca star Shurwayne Winchester, will help to re-energise power soca.

The songs Forward by Bunji and Wet Dem Down by Shurwayne were released on YouTube last week and have received 23,000 and 3,200 views respectively.

Dada (real name Krishna Lawrence) told Newsday he created the Smoke Riddim in response to his observation of carnivals over the years.

"I realise the people want hard, hard riddim. The people want to come back to the party and fete and sweat."

He explained the Smoke Riddim is a hybrid fusion of "bouyon soca" featuring elements of bouyon music from his home country of Dominica and soca music. He said bouyon music features a lot of percussion from African drumming on goat-skin drums and this was added to the high energy and high power of the "soca vibe."

Dada also spoke about the choice of artistes for the Smoke Riddim in a voice note.

"These two artistes were selected specifically because these are two of the artistes of Trinidad and Tobago with the energy and gumption to manage a fete with big flags and rags and water. It's time to bring back the energy, it's time to bring back feteing to what it used to be."

'Rekindling' Shurwayne Winchester

He recalled the first of the two artistes he reached out to was Shurwayne.

"Back in the day, he had the kind of energy and perspective on soca that is lacking today. I want to rekindle Shurwayne Winchester."

Dada said that as a fan of soca music and Shurwayne for a long time, the "dip" he went through created a lull in the industry and shifted the "energy" from power soca to groovy.

"And now groovy has lost steam. We have all the groovy we could hear already. Soca has to come back, power soca. The people feeling for it."

Dada said while he still loved groovy soca his objective is to rekindle power soca and bring back that element which Shurwayne added to soca when he was "running the place" in 2006.

Shurwayne won the Road March title in 2004 with The Band Coming and again in 2005 with Dead or Alive. In 2006 he won both the Power and Groovy Monarch titles with Can't Wait and Don't Stop.

Shurwayne Winchester's Wet Dem Down is on the Smoke Riddim produced by Krishna "Dada" Lawrence of dada-manufakture. The song's chorus encourages people to wet things and each other.

Dada pointed out he co-wrote the song, Wet Dem Down, with the artiste, and the lyrics do speak of loss and longing for higher energy soca.

What happen'? We used to be party kings.

What happen' to mashin' up fete and sweatin'?

What happen'? Where all of the big flags dem?

What happen' to jump and wave and misbehave?

Let's get crazy. It's time to get on really mad in de party.

I want all of your energy around me.

I want yuh to take out yuh rag, take out yuh rag, take out yuh flag, jump with somebody!

The chorus also encourages people to wet things and each other.

Bring any thing, come we go wet it down we go wet it down,

we go wet dem wet dem wet dem wet dem."

On YouTube one of the commenters posted, "Next water lord awa," a reference to soca star Iwer George and another posted, "This song is problems," likely predicting people getting involuntarily soaked at fetes.

Shurwayne on his Facebook page posted the song with the quote, "Get familiar with this power. WET DEM DOWN on the SMOKE RIDDIM."

Forward with Bunji

Dada said his choice of Bunji for the Smoke Riddim was because of a similar energetic vibe and added that the artiste had already made a statement about the industry with his 2023 song Hard Fete.

"Enough of soft thing. Hard thing. Have the industry make that shift," Dada added.

He said the Smoke Riddim and the song, Forward, were bringing back "vintage Garlin." The chorus encourages patrons to wave rags and flags.

Rags in the air is the forward, flags in the air woi!

Forward wave, forward wave, forward wave."

There is also a line about energy, "If I give you meh energy I want you give me back" and Bunji's trademark wordplay on display in the stanza

Let me see some forward yuh know,

We eh coward yuh know,

Them know we high powered yuh know,

We Caribbean people like hot sun,

We solar powered yuh know."

Ian "Bunji Garlin" Alvarez's song Forward, on the Smoke Riddim, encourages patrons to wave rags and flags. - Photo by Roger Jacob

The reactions to the song on YouTube were mostly positive with comments such as "FIREMANNNNN," "CHUNNNEEEEEEEEEE 10/10" and "My god, this man is a king!" One commenter, however, was not a fan of the tune.

"I am Sleeping. Sh-- sounds so boring ......."

Dada reported other artistes have been reaching out to him about having a song on the Smoke Riddim but he was being selective.

"If they have to come in (the song) have to be a game changer. I don't just want to bring anybody. They have to make a difference. Have to bring the power soca energy."

And what does he hope patrons get from the songs?

"The songs speak for themselves. Shurwayne Winchester will wet dem down. If you stush and don't want to get wet, leave or go on the side or get in the back. Garlin will have all the big flags and crew. They will come in and play mas in the front. The message will translate to the people automatically."

Dada was the producer of the 2019 TT Carnival Road March winner Famalay featuring Bunji, Machel and Skinny Fabulous. He said Famalay was never intended to be a road march but ended up becoming one because the people chose it. He said that both Wet Dem Down and Forward were two great road march contenders by default because they fit the mould of what Carnival is all about.

Dada is also the producer of Conch Shell with Machel Montano and Iwer George, Soca Storm by Mr Killa, and Jouvert Madness by Lyrikal and SuperBlue. He said aside from the Smoke Riddim he had more music to be released by other artistes soon.

"As a creator of music and a fan of soca, I want to reconnect the energy of people. You have to keep the voltage strong."

He said the other releases were also intended to rekindle the energy of the festival.

"And make sure people have a great Carnival. Feel it. Inject the Carnival spirit into them."

About Dada

Hailing from Dominica, Krishna "Dada" Lawrence is the founder and CEO of the "dada-manufakture" company. He is a music producer, engineer (studio and live) and keyboardist. His musical experience spans 18 years professionally.

Dada has produced multiple title-winning, award-winning and chart-topping songs. Most notably Famalay by Machel Montano, Skinny Fabulous and Bunji Garlin. Famalay topped the iTunes reggae chart, knocking the legendary Bob Marley's Three Little Birds from the #1 position in 2019. It also won the 2019 Trinidad and Tobago Road March title.

He also produced for a wide range of Caribbean artists including Mr Killa of Grenada, Fadda Fox and Lil Rick of Barbados, to Gramps Morgan of Morgan Heritage of Jamaica.

Info courtesy dada-manufakture


"Producer Dada: Bunji, Shurwayne rekindling power soca energy on Smoke Riddim"

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