Interview by Valérie Toto
The FSL have paved their own way since 2008
The founding members
BLANKA and SO SO are true Soca Music and Caribbean culture enthusiasts. They set everything up for the association, they manage the marketing and the socials.
RIDDLA who needs no introduction, is gifted singer, as well as an outstanding performer. He remains very active in the FSL and he really helped with developing the social medias.
Musically speaking, he is the G.O.A.T to any genre, he knows his thing ! He has quite a few Soca records, the more recent one being “Le Deejay est Bon”.
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Their Vision & Mission
FSL is an association that aims to gather the vast French Community of Soca enthusiasts and admirers, by providing a simple and unique mean of communication and exchanges while spreading of message of unity, sharing and solidarity.
“We are not just from the Caribbean. We represent any person speaking French who loves Soca.”
They gather Ethiopian, American, Canadian, people from Switzerland who speak French or of French origin, but also French people living in these countries who totally partake in the culture.
They also aim to:
- Promote Soca music and the French-Caribbean , musically, culturally as well as the French territories. All of this in order to develop and facilitate exchanges of any kind, such as tourism for instance
- Organize (or collaborate on ) worldwide events which promote the Caribbean and its culture
- Support any initiative which falls into their framework
To sum it up their goal is to create social links, as well as a true dynamic.
We have facilitated interactions by helping people to understand the lyrics of some Soca songs, helping them to be conscious of the customs, to seize the language and also by helping them organize their travel or carnival trip.
“We are always happy to see others making connections and getting the most of their travel throughout the region”
_How are the FSL received when travelling abroad?
“WOOOW”. The federative energy is always welcomed. We bring the vibe as they say and it is contagious. We are now recognized and requested. We have lived some amazing experiences, we have created some meaningful connections and we are proud of it. We are always pleased to bumped into our friends from abroad during carnivals, fetes or festivals.
_What kind of connections do you have with the artistic world abroad?
First, we have developed some links with quite a few artists as fans, then we were able to link up more as party or event promoters or collaborators.
They have also set up some Caribbean concepts in Martinique, Guadeloupe or even France in which some Soca artists performed: WAC Picasso Party, Jab Jab Party, Private Caribbean Cruise, CariBrunch, Soca in Paris just to name a few.
_Do you connect professionally with people from the industry for partnerships or collaborations?
Yes of course! Collaborations or partnerships ( events, mas bands, festivals) around the world. From the Caribbean to the United States, including France and Europe.
For instance, before COVID-19 we exchanged with an Asian organization. We had some very nice opportunities presented to us and also to our deejays.
Dankers from Guadeloupe and Payou from Martinique are very eclectic deejays furthermore they are recognized as Soca Specialists. They represent us internationally: France, USA, Canada, Dubaï…
There is also Dj Karlito, very active and close to the Carnival Festivities in Martinique.
Our main goal being to put forward our regions, we must also bring out our talents and our expertise. We commute: we travel with some products from Guadeloupe or Martinique in order to show them to the world.
_What is your vision of Soca music in France and in the French Caribbean?
Today, Patrice Roberts has several hits in rotation in the radio in the French Caribbean. Swappi, KES, GBM, Wetty Beatz, Bunji Garlin, are played in the radio whereas a few years ago when you said the word Soca, people were only seeing Machel Montano (when they actually knew about soca music).
“We come from a long way… a very long way”
For France on the other hand, it took a bit more time to show up (which is normal) but there is a soca scene now.
Soca music is a niche when it comes to marketing, it remains pretty difficult to integrate it into the vast musical universe of France.
Some work was really put in and we are proud to have strongly contributed to it. We do not regret having worked so much or even investing in this community.
_How do you keep in touch with your members and network during COVID-19?
FSL: This COVID time is not easy to deal with for a lot of us. Soca music and carnivals have this therapeutical effect, and some totally ignore it.
In order to keep the joy alive, we organized some live Soca music session with Deejays on social medias.
For some, the occasion was good to take a little rest, since we travel pretty often. We are opened to discussion and we love talking about any subject via our socials.
The French Soca Lovers are among the instigators that deeply endeavor unity in the region. From the beginning their appetite for acknowledgement is what made them all in for sharing and spreading.
They have highlighted several times their appreciation for their numerous meaningful encounters with people from all over the world thanks to Soca music. They radiate benevolence and warmth which is definitely what we need especially in this worldwide pandemic situation.
There is much more to know about the FSL contribution to the Caribbean Culture, and we, at KRIBBEAN are going to make sure we keep you posted to continue sharing and spreading unity.
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Meet The French Soca Lovers was originally published in Artist Reviews & Caribbean Lifestyle on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.