Carnival 2018 is fast approaching and already the airwaves are filled with new releases from artistes in Trinidad and Tobago, around the region and the diaspora. To get you familiar with these songs before the fete season begins in earnest on January 1, we are launching a new series called My Release, where artistes talk about their songs, their inspiration behind it and how it relates to their lives. We also get to hear their sweet voices as they get us familiar a cappella style. In this instalment, Swappi reveals his true inspiration for his music. My Release is brought to you by Coca Cola.

Sokah music was created in Piparo, South Trinidad by the late Garfield “Ras Shorty I” Blackman in the late 1970s, but since then, the genre has evolved, matured and has largely been promoted, celebrated and marketed up North in the capital city of Port-of-Spain. Over 30 years have passed since this hybrid music form originated, but in 2018, Jay Upscale and 66 Entertainment are collaborating to bring soca back to the Southland with a grand event on Carnival Wednesday, February 7entitled “Big Bad Soca”. The event will be held at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy car park in Tarouba and will feature a special performance by the Viking of Soca, Bunji Garlin. Also performing on the night will be: the jump-up boss from Port Fortin, Iwer George; the Soca Monarch King, Aaron “Voice” St Louis; the ladies champion, Orlando Octave; the “Big Girl Now” singer, Patrice Roberts; US-based hit-maker, Devon “Lyrikal” Martin and popular radio personality/artiste, Stevenson “Shal” Marshal. “The concept behind this event,” explained Jay Upscale, “is one designed tobringing Soca back to South and to its roots with both the vintage and established Soca acts like Bunji and Iwer, as well as the rising stars such as Orlando, Lyrikal and Patrice Roberts… AND also the International appeal of Grammy-nominated rap act and daughter of the soil, Cardi B!” The chart-topping female artiste known as “Cardi B”, who was recently nominated for both “Best Rap Performance” and “Best Rap Song” for her Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit, "Bodak Yellow", will be present to host the “Big Bad Soca” event on Carnival Wednesday. “Big Bad Soca” singer, Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez is understandably excited about this event and is looking forward to welcoming Cardi B to the Trinidad Carnival stage: “Honestly, I welcome all good energies,” he said, “and I’m known as an artiste that likes to push the envelope – I like to try new stuff… musically… and visually and I’m always of the firm belief that new beginnings always present an opportunity to create new history. They also challenge you to be more creative and find new avenues or new ways, new streams and new routes – to find something new about yourself even though the audience you’re catering too may want something familiar. So how do you be familiar and new at the same time? These are the tests that new events provide for us the artistes. Every new event is like a new stream to the whole river of creativity that is happening… “Having a prominent artiste like Cardi B host this event makes it extra special because as far as I know she’s a daughter of the T&T DNA and this is a homecoming of sorts for her and her first time on a Carnival stage. Everyone who is a national has a birthright and is entitled to return and get involved, or be a part of what is going on where they came from… so we’re looking forward to making this Big Bad Soca experience a memorable and momentous one from everyone present on Carnival Wednesday night!” Jay Upscale Management and Promotions is a top-rated artiste management and Event Promotion company founded and based in New York and is responsible for hosting a multitude of Caribbean-themed events for over a decade. Most recently, Jay Upscale staged the “Busshead NY Tour” which featured Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin and a number of guest acts. This company is renowned for attracting the NY and Tri-State Caribbean community to unique upscale venues and for always keeping the “authentic Caribbean elements and vibes”. 66 Entertainment is headed by clothing store owner and entrepreneur, Rondell Roberts and is most famous for their “BaeWatch” beach party series, which brought reality and social media stars, Amber Rose and Black Chyna to Trinidad during Carnival 2015 and 2016. “We are extremely excited to bring Cardi B back home for Carnival 2017,” said Jay Upscale, “and we look forward to her lending her celebrity to the ongoing mission – which is the advancement of Soca music – even as we stage this event to reclaim and rejuvenate the origins of Sokah in the Southland. We believe that Cardi B is well on her way to becoming a mainstream icon in the USA and we’re happy that she is embracing and celebrating her roots and willing to promote her home country and our exciting and engaging music, mas and culture.” Limited advanced tickets for “Big Bad Soca” are available online atBigBadSocaLive.Eventbrite.comand in the coming week at local outlets. Interested parties can also contact via email

Police are said to be responding to a report that the body of a human being was found this morning in a garbage bag in Debe. While information is still coming in, police sources confirmed that they received a report that the body was observed near the National Energy Skills Campus in Debe. Police were told it had what appeared to be marks of violence. The police were notified and officers are said to be responding to the report. Stay with Loop for updates.

Pooran Roodal

An autopsy is expected to be performed today to confirm the death of a 47-year-old man. The deceased has been identified as Pooran Roodal. His body was discovered on Sunday morning in his ToyotaCorolla motor vehicle, parked a short distance away into Albert Street Extension, Caroni. The body bore what appeared to be stab wounds and the throat also appeared to be slit. According to reports, Roodal left his home shortly before 6 pm on Saturday to do a private hire job. However, although he left his home in his vehicle, the persons who contracted him said that the 47-year-old had never arrived. The police were notified on Saturday night; however, relatives carried out searches on their own. Roodal’s21-year-old daughter Shivana was the one to discover her father’s body on the track which is located less than five minutes away from their home. More on this as it becomes available.

Critics, prizes and publishers all have their say on what qualifies as the “best” book, but now it’s time for readers to choose their best book of the year. For the first time, Trinidad and Tobago will have an annual literary award for local writers, and the winner is to be chosen by the people. On Friday, the Bocas Lit Fest, NALIS and Newsday came together to launch the People’s Choice T&T Book of the Year at the National Library. The initiative will promote local writing and give the public a chance to have their say on the many books published every year by voting for their best read. The People’s Choice prize aims to raise public awareness of the growing number of books by local writers released in Trinidad and Tobago, in the first instance in the past two years. In future books published in the previous year will be eligible. The prize puts the spotlight on the most popular reads. Through this prize, the public can debate, discuss and get excited about local books. Bocas Lit Fest, which runs a series of internationally recognised literary awards and is a standard bearer for literary excellence, adds this to its portfolio of prizes, which include the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and the CODE’s Burt Award for Young Adult Caribbean literature. “We’re thrilled about the potential for this prize to get people buying and reading books, and to bring attention to work being published every year by T&T citizens here in T&T,” says Bocas Lit Fest founder, Marina Salandy-Brown. Nominations for the People’s Choice T&T Book of the Year prize is open from December 16 to February 16,2018. All eligible nominated books will appear on the Bocas Lit Fest website. Voting will be hosted on the Bocas Lit Fest website and will take place in two stages. Stage one will run from February 23 to April 25, 2018 and will involve the selection of the top six books from all nominated titles. Stage two voting will take place May 1 to June 1, 2018, during which the public will choose among the Top Six to decide the winner. The announcement of the winner is to be made in early June. For details of guidelines for the People’s Choice T&T Book of the Year, visit

Lisa Hanna poses in her wedding dress. (PHOTOS: Lisa Hanna Instagram)

It’s been one week since Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna tied the knot with businessman Richard Lake. However, the beauty queen turned politician – known for being very active on social media – has held off on sharing photos of the wedding or anything related to the affair… until Saturday morning, when she posted stunning photosof herself posing in her wedding dress, made in Jamaica by a local designer who she thanked in the caption. “Always and Forever...Thank You Louise Graham,” Hanna wrote. “Thanks for respecting my wishes to keep our marriage and those who attended our wedding private.” The 42-year-old Hanna wed her long time beau in a ceremony in St Andrew last Saturday, with the pair exchanging vows on a balcony overlooking the city in a beautiful affair. In a heartfelt message, also on Saturday morning, the newly minted Mrs Lake expressed her love for her husband. “Richard and I have loved and been devoted to each other over many years. Our love has not only survived but prevailed given our shared commitment and respect for each other,” she said, adding “He's my protector and I am his…Last week we both privately took another deliberate step on our journey together in our most sacred place.” She also thanked persons who extended congratulations and well wishes toward the newlyweds. “I ask that you respect my desire to keep our marriage and those who attended our wedding private… Just have a little patience with me as I allow my heart to enjoy this moment of bliss,” she said. It isHanna's second marriage, having previously tied the knot with businessman David Panton. The couple, who share a teenage son,divorced in 2004 after five years of marriage. Lake is also getting married for the second time.


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