Tappin’ Into Soca

Saxophonist Arturo Tappin is without a doubt one of the most outstanding musicians Barbados has ever produced.

Saxophonist Arturo Tappin
Saxophonist Arturo Tappin

For years, he has been producing quality, feel-good, instrumental music across all genres.

Recently, he has been tapping into the soca arena, making instrumentals for those soca lovers ‘looking for something different’.

“When you do the instrumental, it makes it more palatable to a wider audience,” says Tappin.

“Some people might not be able to deal with rum songs or whining or jamming but they still love the music.

“I kind of discovered that by accident by doing this,” he adds.

Last Crop Over, he produced an instrumental version of the Leadpipe and Saddis hit song, Ah Feeling Ah Feeling, making it even more popular than it already was.

Leadpipe and Saddis.
Leadpipe and Saddis.

This year so far, he has done so with Lil Rick’s popular Gym Instructor. It’s already blowing up the airwaves.

Lil Rick
Lil Rick

Tappin told Bajan Vibes that the art to choosing which song he covers, lies in looking for melodies that will last a lifetime.

“I try to pick songs where I think the melodies are really memorable. I’m not dealing with lyrics; I don’t have the ability to tell the story via words,” he explains.

“I have to have a melody that marries itself well with the harmony and rhythm that even if the drums stop playing and there is no bass, the melody stands on its own very strong and that was the case with Ah Feeling Ah Feeling.

Tappin adds: “That was also the case with Gym Instructor. If you can imagine removing all the drums and everything else and you just have Lil Rick singing that song in its own, you can feel the beat just there in the rhythm alone.”

He’s busy working on other instrumental versions for Crop Over 2015.

“Right now, I am working on one for Kirk Brown for his tune You’re My Number One. That should be out later this week or early next week. That has a really strong melody as well. Terry Arthur and myself, we are working on a couple so hopefully by the end of Crop Over we can have a bunch,” Tappin says.

Another project Tappin has worked on, which he was extremely excited to talk about, involved collaboration with soca heavyweights, Alison Hinds, Lil Rick, Leadpipe and Saddis and Biggie Irie to produce a track called Soca Seduction.

Biggie Irie
Biggie Irie
Alison Hinds
Alison Hinds

Here’s how it all came about.

“Everyone on the track has developed a track in some way. So we decided to try to get the best of the best on the track and make it happen. No shortcuts,” he explains.

“So we committed and dedicated ourselves to it. Writing, recording and producing at the highest level. We mixed some new production ideas with some old school elements. And we’re just trying to tell a story of all the things involved in Crop Over – carnival, soca, Kadooment – all the things that seduce us into wanting to be a part of the festival,” he adds.

Tappin believes the song, which has just been released, is one everybody should listen to at least once. In collaborating to produce the song, he said, the group had no desire to enter any competition.

“We just wanted to record some really good music that would stand the test of time and not just disappear after a year or so. So that in three, four, five years, it’s something that we can really look back on and be proud of,” he says.

Getting the group together to do the track was not the easiest either, Tappin said, which made it all the more special.

“A lot of times when you do productions, not everyone is available. Everyone is busy. It just so happened that the stars lined up for this one. It was amazing that we got it done,” he says.

“It’s usually extremely difficult to get all these people together on one project. It’s a moment in time that might never happen again. I hope that everyone gets the opportunity to hear (the song) at least once. It really is amazing,”

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