Here’s groove of the week #7 – possibly the happiest groove on the planet!
What a great groove. It is of course a Soca & it has to be one of the most popular grooves on the planet. You’ll have heard a slow version of it in Despacito. Ed Sheeran strongly hints at it in his hit song Shape Of You. Shakira used it in Waka Waka & Sia did a slow version in her song Cheap Thrills. There are countless Techno/Dance songs that use this beat because it is so upbeat and just makes you want to dance.
I first came across it on holiday in the Caribbean in the late 1980’s. It’s a beat that propels a lot of the music across the islands and can be heard behind steel drum bands and influencing the local pop music. It instantly became one of my favourite beats to play.
Get The Groove
You may need to start this one by learning the hands separately. Here’s the hands on their own. Focus on letting the right hand maintain consistent 8th notes on the hi-hat and just slot the left hand in between on the “ah of 1” and “ah of 3” and together with the right hand on the “& of 2” and “& of 4”
The next step is to add the bass drum on 1, 2, 3 & 4 to make it easy to dance to.
When I play this groove I tend to accent the snare drum on the “& of 2” and “& of 4” as this is how I first heard it and I like how it adds a little more movement to the groove.
Taking It Further
Adding a busier hi-hat pattern to the Soca can increase the energy of the groove again. Here’s 3 suggestions
Variation 1 has the classic disco open/close hi-hat pattern added to it. Variation 2 has the right hand playing three 16th notes at a time instead of just 8th notes. This pushes the beat along even more. Variation 3 features two-handed 16th notes played hand to hand. The snare drum notes are shared between the hands, be careful with your aim when moving from the hi-hat to the snare – try to get both hands to hit in the same spot.
Here’s one of my favourite variations that I used to create a tribal groove for a cover version of a Rolling Stones song. It may inspire you to create your own variation.
For this variation I just moved the right hand from the hi-hat to the floor tom and left hand played the snare drum part first on tom 2 and then on tom 1. Don’t play the floor tom too loud, the bass drum and Tom 1 and Tom 2 need to be the stars of this groove.
I hope you enjoy playing the Soca as much as I do. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, let us know on the contact us page.