“Singing with Becket, Scorcher and those guys is a dream come true.”

So says Winston ‘Sos’ Soso, one of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ (SVG) soca icons.

On the eve of his 60th birthday (July 14), the appreciative ‘Sos’ declares his respect for Alston ‘Becket’ Cyrus and Cyril ‘Scorcher’ Thomas: “There is this brotherly, happy feeling when we meet; we’re not there to compete against one another.”

 He extends his gratitude to musical maestro Frankie Mc Intosh and record producer extraordinaire Granville Straker.

Paying tribute

Hats off to Nelson Bloc Mas band for recognizing Sos’ contribution to calypso, soca and, by extension, carnival.    Their 2012 carnival display, ‘Dat is Sos – A Tribute to Winston Soso’,  has provided Sos another opportunity to witness for himself the impact of his cultural contribution.   “I have been a king for a day”, he humbly admits afterwards.

The ‘Legends in Concert’ at Aquatic Club on Friday, July 13, 2012, sponsored by Vibes Caribbean and Aquatic Club is another opportunity for Sos and other icons to bask in the warmth of their fans.   Sos promises to charm those present with his velvety voice in ‘Rolls Royce’-of-Calypso style at midnight, as he launches his 60th birthday.

Growing up

The quietly confident and private Sos, who often displays a spirited sense of humour, traces his interest in a singing career as he reminisces, “As a boy growing up between Paul’s Avenue and Sion Hill, I looked forward to hear people like Becket, Scorcher, Sheller and Lifeboy sing, especially at carnival… I grew up singing with my friends … We made drum sets from biscuit tins and played the ukulele.”

His mother, Olive Lockhart,  corroborates this: “Since he was a school boy, he told me he want to sing.”

Sos can now boast a fan base in Holland, England, Canada, The USA, Trinidad and elsewhere.  In fact, this writer remembers tens of thousands reveling to Sos’s big hits in Notting Hill carnival, during the 1980-90s.
He was and is much loved for blending his vocal repertoire of soul, ballad, funk and gospel when singing soca.

The push and pull of the songs

For over thirty-five years, Sos has sung hundreds of songs, all written by him.  The former Clymax vocalist vows that his love for producing soca will go on “for as long as God gives me health and strength, I will carry on.”

Not long ago, one of his fans in her late 60-70s attended a fete in New York just to hear Sos sing ‘How Some Men Love Their Woman’. The refrain of that is “…big bottom and plenty hips.”

According to Sos, “When I started singing that song, you couldn’t tell the age of that woman who was dancing on the floor.”

He makes no apology for always writing about women, and explains that women make great fans.  “More than that,” he adds “yuh can’t go to a party and wine up on a man.”

Arguably, some of Sos’s songs have crossed the line.  One of his first big hits ‘Dianne’ (1979) with the chorus “Yuh gettin’ it now,” is an example.   He explains “I had no one in mind when writing that song; it is all part of storytelling for my audience .. the name Dianne was chosen by us (Clymax) for the ‘ring’ the name has.”

‘In the Pan Yard’ with the refrain “Is me who have your woman down in the pan yard” is another.

 He further admits “I try to imagine the stories my audience would like and how they would respond to me on stage.”

The new ‘wave’

Ready to defend Sos’s often sensual renditions are young soca artists such as Aurella ‘Queen B’ Beache.  Queen B was not even born when Sos started his singing career, but insists: “To me his songs celebrate his love for women … he not singing some crap like these folks these days calling women bitches and whores.”

Sos is less known for his classical social commentaries which radio icon Randy D plays, occasionally.  The two that he recalls are ‘Government Mess Up’ and ‘Out On the Edge’, and explains, “I don’t think it’s fair to comment anymore since I do not live in SVG.”  Consistent with that decision, he declines offering an opinion on the state of Soca and Calypso in SVG.  The closest he has got to a recommendation for change is buried in his 2012 ‘Give Me Some Brass in Me Mas’.

Some of Sos’s contemporaries also recount his contribution to SVG’s soccer as one of its best goal keepers.  Fewer know of his meticulous tailoring talent and fewest, his child-rearing and mentoring skills.

by Luzette King
Producer and Host, Global Highlights


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