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JULY 2023


Toronto Carnival Music: The Hype List

Written by Felicia Gopi & Rebecca Dass

Sunday July 2, 2023

As the Toronto Caribbean Carnival season approaches, it's time to get ready for the biggest party of the year! As one of the most important aspects of any carnival celebration is the music, we asked our followers for their favourite songs to create the ultimate carnival hype playlist. Here are some of the top picks for the upcoming Carnival season.

1 The Spirit by Machel Montano It wouldn’t be carnival without a new Machel song to get you in the Spirit. The 2023 track already has all the makings of a classic for carnival weekend here in Toronto with the smooth rhythm and captivating lyrics. The attention to detail to the instrumental elements is what really ties the entire project together making it the perfect song to kick off our Carnival Hype List.


Spoiler alert: This isn’t going to be Machel Montano’s only appearance on this list!

2 Ducking by Fadda Fox It’s the 2014 song many of us are still blasting come Caribana Thursday on our way to fete at Soca or Die at Cabana Pool Bar, because, “Who does go to work on a Thursday? Or even a Friday… when you can party?!” I mean, enough said.

3 Hard Fete by Bunji Garlin If you’re in the mood for a hype song that is a tad newer, look no further than the legendary Bunji Garlin’s 2022 single, Hard Fete. The song is a slow build to a high-pace anthem that is too big for small fetes!

4 The Return by Voice & Alison Hinds There are many releases this year that focus on a slow build that absolutely create a sense of hype that is sure to accompany a number of TikToks and Reels of fellow masqueraders misbehaving down the road. The Return has all the elements of the perfect accompaniment. Time to let loose!

5 Ego Jam by GBM Nutron​ Move to the left, and move to the right - follow along in a synchronized frenzy to Ego Jam, released this year. Set the pace early and dance yourself into a jam. Put this song on to get yourself ready for a long day of feteing ahead!

6 Come Home by Nailah Blackman & Skinny Fabulous Soca music and carnival tunes have always boasted a particularly heavy beat with a higher bpm to get the crowds ready to jump and wave. 2023’s Come Home has all the elements of soca that we love with a particular focus on melody that brings the song together to deliver the perfect feel good vibes for us.

7 Like Yuhself by Patrice Roberts & Machel Montano Soca mega-forces come together this year on Like Yuhself where Patrice and Machel deliver a freeing anthem that perfectly encapsulates the feeling of carnival, partying and love. So go ahead and jam on who you want, Patrice and Machel have spoken.

8 Family by Popcaan When you’re plenty of drinks in, looking around at your crew, it’s at this point in the fete where you start putting your arms over your best friend, cousin, or the person you just met and start proclaiming that they are your family courtesy of Popcaan and his 2018 anthem.

9 Shake the Place by Destra Garcia & Machel Montano Can you say soca royalty? When this jam comes on, be sure to shake up the place with full force. It’s a carnival sound that was also released this year and it does not disappoint coming from two of our most highly regarded soca artists. Bring the energy and shake the ground this year. 


P.S. Listen to the end for a hint of nostalgia!

10 Vibes Cyah Done by Machel Montano It’s no surprise to find this 2012 hit on our list. A song that has stood the test of time among Carnival go-ers, fete-ers, and soca-lovers alike. When it comes to carnival and that summer feeling, we too don’t ever want the vibes to come to an end.


About the Author

Felicia is the editor in chief of Story, a newsletter by the Indo-Caribbean Canadian Association. She also works in digital marketing with a background in beauty and fashion. She began volunteering with the Indo-Caribbean Association to contribute directly to her community and to learn from other like-minded individuals.

For more information visit


About the Author

Rebecca is a Toronto-based writer and digital marketer, currently working in book publishing. With a BA in Sociology and a minor in Caribbean Studies, she joined the Indo-Caribbean Canadian Association to continue her interest in researching and writing content about Indo-Caribbean history and culture. 

Story is an Indo-Caribbean newsletter designed to bring Canadian Caribbean culture to the forefront. Explore Indo-Caribbean news, identity, and culture online.

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