Reddy ‘Fyah’ Rock writes music to remind us that carnival is about rebellion

By Lincoln DePradine

Reddy Rock

The 2023 global carnival celebration, which included Trinidad’s pre-Lenten event and the Toronto festival that ended in early August, is continuing with a few more carnivals such as Miami’s that culminates October 8.

For carnival, whose origin in the Eastern Caribbean is linked to the Emancipation of former enslaved Africans, entertainer Reddy Rock wanted to do something special.

Trinidad-born, Toronto-raised Rock, also known as “Fyah’’, released a single titled, “Rebel March’’.

“Rebel March is a song I started to write a while ago,’’ Rock told The Caribbean Camera in an interview from Trinidad. “Carnival, the history of it, is actually rebelling against the colonizers and parading into the streets and shouting out for our freedom and what we wanted to do, because a lot of things were banned.’’

Rock is not new to music and the arts. Several family members are involved in the performing arts. He himself is a well-known percussionist, especially as a drummer who has played shows in Canada and the United States.

Steelpan also has been part of his life, playing with bands such as Afropan, New Dimension and Pan Fantasy.

Rock, influenced by Caribbean musical performers such as Barbadian Alison Hinds and Trinidadian Bunji Garlin, Machel Montano and the late Shadow, is now venturing out as soca artiste, building his brand and infusing a variety of genres into his music and lyrics. 

He wrote the lyrics and did the vocals on “Rebel March’’, which is his first solo recording.

“Rebel March’’, energetic and catchy, is designed to draw more attention to how the next generation can reclaim the traditions of carnival through his music, said Rock.

“The song is about honouring our ancestors right through. Much of our history is lost now when it comes to carnival. I wanted to write about how we can retake the carnival and reinject our culture, our vibes. What I really try to do is call out all the ways that we can bring back the carnival, the old way of honouring our ancestors, back into the carnival itself,’’ he said.

“Over the past few years, many of us have lost elders in the community. So, I also wanted to remind people that they are still here with us, jumping up with us, partying with us, drinking with us. All the ancestors, from days past and our more recent ancestors, they’re still up in the rebel march.” 

Rock also noted that in Africa, many parades exist that honour the ancestors of the people.

“They parade round in similar costumes that you see across the Caribbean. I wanted to write a song to just kind of bridge that little gap and not be too jarring about it but to celebrate it,’’ he explained.

Rock has been visiting with family in Trinidad and also taking the opportunity, he said, “to get more in touch with Trinidad because I’ve been away from home most of my life. I wanted to really sink into the experience of what it really means to feel the vibration and the energy of the people going through the different phases of a year’’.

Rock revealed that he’s working on another song in preparation for the 2024 carnival season in Trinidad and Tobago.

He said he’ll be simultaneously promoting both the new song and “Rebel March’’.

Rock’s Rebel March’’ is available on all music streaming platforms. 

For more information, call 647-901-5457.