New soca music flavour for Vincy Mas 2013
Local Vibes
June 18, 2013

New soca music flavour for Vincy Mas 2013

A new and different flavour of soca music is being served up for Vincy Mas 2013, by music producer Lester Iroha.{{more}}

Iroha has created an upbeat soca song called “Azonto”, which is heavily influenced by his African roots.

The term “Azonto,” which originally was a rude reference to wayward girls, has been adopted as the handle for a Ghanaian fast-beat dance music genre and the dance that goes with it.

The dance involves a wildly excited and uncontrolled set of hand movements that either mimic everyday activities or are meant to signal an often amusing intention.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT last week, Iroha who is of Nigerian descent, said the idea of producing the song came to him during carnival last year, when one of his friends told him about the dance.

He said after doing his research he was excited about what he discovered.

In December last year, Lester and other members of his family, journeyed to Nigeria, where they got first experience of the Azonto.

Lester said while travelling back to the African continent, his intention was to return to St Vincent with materials that would reflect his African heritage, hence the production of Azonto.

“I always had this vision that I want to fuse Nigerian with the Vincentian product. Revisiting Nigeria and doing the Azonto was the bridge to that fusion…”

The 4th Dimension studio owner and producer said that while in Nigeria, he was heavily involved in the music there.

“I bought a lot of music while I was there. So, the next step for me now was to figure what would be the right song to make this fusion and for people to listen to it and actually say yeah this has an African vibe in it, but yet it’s Caribbean…”

The producer of 13 years’ experience explained that most of the songs that have been used in other parts of the world for the Azonto dance were done on African pop (Afro pop) rhythms, which is very similar to raga soca.

“So, what I had to do now, I could use Afro pop as a reference point for the track Azonto. I had to use an older style that people can more relate to, as the real African rhythm…

“I used the old African music and added a lot of Caribbean flavours to it,” Lester revealed.

The Azonto rhythm was recorded in 24 hours, on January 17, the day after Lester and his brother returned from their visit to Nigeria.

Upon completing the rhythm, it was then time to find an artiste to sing a song that coincided with Lester’s idea of mixing Africa with Vincy soca.

“I had a recording session with the Soca Dans, because I do a lot of work with them… and we were there and both Heric (Soca Dans manager) and Luta were joking around asking if I didn’t bring back no African beat?

“So, I laughed and told them I had recently finished a beat that I had as a personal project…”

The 4th Dimension producer said he played the song for the artistes to hear and from there “everything fell into place.”

Iroha said that while the beat played, Luta was already humming a melody that matched the idea of what he had in mind.

“I told them, watch, I have a concept for this and it’s a dance called the Azonto. It’s big world-wide… but it hasn’t hit the Caribbean as yet. So, I went on to Youtube and showed them the dance and they loved it off the bat.

“So, that was how the Azonto was created and I expect great things from this song. The beat is jumpy, the lyrics are catchy and it’s a different flavour from the usual soca songs we hear each year,” Iroha stated.

Meanwhile, the voice behind the Azonto song, Rondy “Luta” McIntosh said it was an honour to be given the opportunity to sing the song that related to Iroha’s roots, blending it with the Vincy flavour.

Luta, however, stated that it took him a long time to find the right melody and words to make the song what it is today.

“Sometimes a song can take you 10 minutes, 10 hours or it can take you 10 months. This is a song I didn’t rush, because I kept trying to do justice to the rhythm. It’s an African rhythm blended with a soca rhythm.

“How do I write on it? What do I write on it? How do I structure it? It took me quite a while. It took me a while; so what I did I just had the rhythm in my vehicle just playing and made sure I had the rhythm in my system. And almost every day my manager would call me and harass me asking if I finished writing to the rhythm…” Luta said.

“It took me close to about two months before I actually came up with what I wanted to do; the right lyrics; the right melody and vibe on that rhythm,” he added.

Azonto was officially released last Thursday and a music video was also filmed and is scheduled to be released later this week.