TRINIDADIAN ARTISTBUNJI GARLIN BREAKS NEW GROUNDFOR SOCA ON DIFFERENTOLOGY ALBUMAVAILABLE AUGUST 12 (RCA/VP)
“…exceedingly danceable beats that fuse the island’s irresistible calypso with EDM and hip-hop, as well as the traditional East Indian bhangra” – NPR
The unwavering, distinctive quality of Bunji Garlin’s soca brand has brought the artist consistent success at carnival in his Trinidad and Tobago birthplace for the past 15 years. And with the release of his Differentology album on August 12th, a joint venture between RCA Records and the world’s largest Caribbean music label VP Records, Garlin is poised to take soca worldwide.
The album’s title track is a testament to Garlin’s universal appeal. Produced by Sheriff Mumbles in 2012, “Differentology” transcended the Caribbean carnival circuit almost a year after it was released in 2012. The song received critical praise across the board (2013 Soul Train Award and MTV Iggy Song of the Year), heavy rotation on Urban and Top 40 radio, exposure on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy show and airplay at NBA arenas (Barclays Center & Air Canada Centre) as well as NYC’s Golden Gloves Boxing tournament. The Major Lazer remix of the track (also featured on new album) was a catalyst that put the EDM-fused track in front of a new audience.
Many of the album’s hits are imbued with dancehall and hip-hop influences, as celebrated on “Touchless” and “Gi Dem Dey” (both produced by Trinidad’s Klase Gonzales of 1st Klase Productions). Garlin delivers his inimitable Trini-accented flow over the hip-hop track “West Indian Jungle” produced by Jason Farmer (whose credits include hits with Keyshia Cole, Estelle and Rihanna) and teams up with A$AP Ferg on the Doc & Jes trap remix of his carnival 2014 smash “Truck On D Road.”
Vintage soca is given a contemporary aural sheen on “All O’Dem,” produced by Dwain “Dwaingerous” Antrobus of Bassink Productions. Here Bunji references his 2001 hit “Fete Is Fete” within a song that “musically represents where we come from.” Bunji’s rendition of “Savage,” produced by Sam Chadburn and Keshav Singh for Jus Now adapts a 21st century sonic identity to a 1976 hit by Maestro, the late Trinidadian calypsonian. The scorching “Red Light District” (produced by Darien Bailey and Kevin Marshall) marries a percussive driven riddim, reminiscent of the early days of Trinidadian steel bands.
Also included in the set is the original version (produced by Sheriff Mumbles) and the Viking remix (produced by Toronto’s Doc & Jes) of “Carnival Tabanca,” Bunji’s post-carnival 2013 anthem lamenting the season’s end.
Every track on the album – each characterized by Garlin’s lyrical complexities and awe-inspiring vocal acrobatics – confirms that he is at the top of his game. The album’s release will undoubtedly take his immense talents and the soca genre to a much-deserved wider audience. “I think a lot of great opportunities for soca to conquer new territories are going to come from this album,” Bunji reflects, “so I couldn’t ask for a better situation to be in.”
Born Ian Alvarez, Bunji Garlin a.k.a. the “Viking of Soca” is known for his high-energy stage shows, lyrical confidence and eloquence. The Trinidadian artist and international soca royalty is both a composer and performer of soca and ragga soca. The latter is a blend of soca with dancehall music that he made his own during the start of his career in the late ’90s. He has won the “Ragga Soca Monarch” competition in both 2000 and 2001, the Young King title in 2001, the coveted title of International Soca Monarch in 2002 and then reclaimed this title for three more years. Throughout his career, Garlin has released eight albums independently and two additional albums on VP Records, including Revelation (2002) and Global (2007).
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