The late Ras Shorty I is famously known for inventing the popular soca genre.
But as he embarked a deep spiritual quest in the forests of Piparo, Shorty, real name Garfield Blackman, also invented another genre of music called Jamoo.
Shorty’s youngest child, Isaac Blackman, has been seeking to position Jamoo into the consciousness of citizens as we grapple with myriad societal issues.
In January he released This is Jamoo, is an EP featuring four tracks: Happy Day, Love and Hope, Ready, One Nation and a bonus track, No Procrastination.
“This music created by the late great Ras Shorty I is still new to a lot of people in Trinidad. It’s 30-something years since this music was created and a lot of people are doing it, the music is far-reaching but it is not catered for Christians, it is music for everybody, it is music with a message that promotes consciousness and it was created for Trinidad and Tobago,” says Blackman.
“Jamoo is a concept, the gospel of soca, it is a beat, a rhythm and vibration. My father described calypso as the body, soca as the soul and Jamoo as the spirit…this is what it means to be a Trinidadian.”
Blackman said his father loved T&T so much that the first story was creating soca, a music to define us and give us something to identify with but as he evolved and grew as a man, he asked the question, where do you go after?
“You go back to your maker. This music creates the vessel and engine for you. I come in this time to spark a spark for a new era and a new time, we must have a pioneer and I am that,” says Blackman.
The songs are geared toward providing solutions to our problems.
In ‘One Nation’, Blackman urges us to understand who we are when the revelry is over.
“How do we face our challenges, how do we face social disparity, issues of race… I don’t want to talk about it, I am providing the solutions.”
In ‘Love and Hope’, Blackman gets personal about personal tragedies and how to overcome the pain.
“I lost two very important people, my mum, two years ago and a real close neighbour and I feel like you don’t know how to describe that despair. God talks to me in songs and I don’t know how to express this pain, how to move on. After my dad died in 2000 we recovered but my mum was always there. I lost both parents from cancer. Anybody have to face this it is almost a hopeless feeling,” he says.
“It came from this experience of pain, but I find a solution in hope and knowing that the love for the people around us will never be forgotten and we honour their memory with our lives today and together we find solutions. Love and hope works for any problems. More than a choice it is a necessity when you understand that it becomes a priority, it is the only way to heal. This music is to do that, to share, to take you along this way. What happens after the party? This song is here.”
This is Jamoo is Blackman’s fourth album. His previous independent albums “In Your Eyes”, “World Changers” and “To the Ceiling”, all promoted Jamoo music.
‘To the Ceiling’, the title track off of that album became a club banger all over T&T and the Caribbean.
Since then, Blackman has been busy turning the family ranch in Piparo into a tourist attraction with the intention to build a national museum for Jamoo and Soca.
He has also been working with other family members producing songs as Marge Blackman and Voice’s 2018 hit song ‘Full of Vibes’ which was also Jamoo.
He has also been touring, spending time in Asia, Europe and the African continent, where he said the music is so similar that his sound resonated.
Inspired by the international reception to his music, Blackman got himself a new manager and has signed with Ingrooves Music group and Universal Christian music through which he has a non-exclusive distribution deal with Prospero Entertainment to shop his music worldwide.