News Releases

A FREE virtual lecture beckons: Calypso and Soca: The Sound of a People

For Release Upon Receipt - September 10, 2020


Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. September 10, 2020 — This Saturday, September 12, the SUNY-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development (SUNY-UWI CLSD) in partnership with the SUNY Empire State College’s Shirley Chisholm Center for Equity Studies is set to host the second session of an ongoing Community Engagement Lecture Series. This free virtual event, titled Calypso and Soca: The Sound of a People begins at 4:00 pm (EDT).

Music is an essential expression of culture and identity within the Caribbean diaspora and is one of the most widely consumed art forms around the world.  The session will explore the musical traditions of Trinidad and Tobago with particular emphasis on Steel Pan, Soca, and Calypso—the rich history and roots of how Steel Pan, Soca and Calypso music evolved in the 1970s to become a post-colonial hybrid art form. 

Departing from a traditional academic lecture, the event includes pillars of the field including innovators, musicians, and industry insiders, the likes of Etienne Charles, Recording Artist, Composer, Arranger, and Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University;  Barbados’ Alison Hinds, popularly known as the "Queen of Soca";   Edwin Howell, Manager, Distribution and A&R Representative  for VP Records; and  Dahved Levy, Trailblazer in the field of broadcast media, Host of the “No. 1 Caribbean Show in the world”, Caribbean Fever on 107.5WBLS FM, NY.

Professor Brian Copeland, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine Campus is among the distinguished panellists. Professor Copeland is renowned for his work on the Genesis Pan (G-Pan) and Percussive Harmonic Instrument (P.H.I.). For his research in the development of the G-Pan, Professor Copeland was awarded Trinidad and Tobago’s highest award in 2008: the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The P.H.I. gained popularity locally and internationally, having been used in international music videos and is a staple in many Carnival bands in Trinidad and Tobago.

The event title itself is adapted from Etienne Charles’ 7th studio album (with his blessings), released in March 22, 2019—Carnival: The Sound of a People. Commenting on the initiative, Co-Executive Director of the SUNY-UWI CLSD, Ann-Marie Grant said, “Traditionally, in a pre-COVID-19 world, the Labour Day Parade or West Indian Day Carnival would gather over two million people in Brooklyn, on the first Monday of September to celebrate the Carnival event in New York City.  The celebrations were not only for entertainment but a major economic contributor to the local economy. With no such live event this year, this virtual dialogue offers the West Indian diaspora  in New York, the Caribbean and beyond a front seat view of this vibrant, complex and textured art form from a variety of perspectives as presented by our distinguished panellists on a genre of music which has so eloquently described the various aspects  of  Caribbean life  in all its  lived experiences. My Co-Director of the SUNY-UWI CLSD, Dr. Latasha Brown and I are looking forward to presenting an exciting, entertaining and interesting experience for attendees. We invite the public to register now and join the conversation.”

To register for Calypso and Soca: The Sound of a People, visit


About the SUNY-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development

The SUNY UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development is a direct response to the critical need to increase the leadership skills and capacities and opportunities for full civic participation among young people in the Caribbean, the Caribbean diaspora and the urban areas of New York. While The UWI and SUNY individually have significant ties to the Caribbean diaspora, which sits as a largely untapped resource for impacting sustainable economic development in the Caribbean and New York, The Center is a deliberate effort to combine these interests toward increased impact as The UWI and SUNY manage their roles as agents of change and sustainable development. Visit

About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies; the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ); The UWI-University of Havana Centre for Sustainable Development; The UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry-Academic Partnership with the University of Coventry and the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research with the University of Glasgow.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019 and 2020, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2018, 2019 and 2020. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)