Lil’ Rick a semi-finalist

Bajan entertainer Lil’ Rick is among the 30 Power Soca Monarch semi-finalists in this year’s competition.

Performing Cyah Bother We, he will be going up against artists such as Tallpree, Skinny Fabulous, Fay Ann Lyons, Kerwin Du Bois, Shurwayne Winchester, Superblue, Chris Garcia, and Fya Empress during the event which will be held on January 20 at the Arima Velodrome in Trinidad.

On the website, Executive Chairman William Munro talks about the history of International Soca Monarch Competition, how the idea came about, the trials that he faced during the 21 years and the people who helped make it into what it is today.

We share an edited version of that story as well as names of the 60 semi-finalists for both the International Groovy Soca and Power Soca Monarch competitions which were announced yesterday evening.

Great stories are always worth a re-wind.

Looking back into the reflective mirror — the International Soca Monarch Competition fits magnificently into the mould of a continuing great saga.

Soca Monarch is now a four syllable word that we all delight in hearing over and over again.

Coming under the marquee Fantastic Friday — the starting point of TnT’s Carnival — the final stage of the International Soca Monarch Competition is the showpiece event, it is a cosmos of incandescent memories, speckled with the biggest, bankable names in Soca.

In a nutshell, the International Soca Monarch Competition towers supreme as carnival’s biggest calling card for domestic tourism; a cinematic spectacle that is now a magnet for foreign tourists, and global talent scouts.

What’s more, the event is a weaving dance of festive celebration — a brilliant, dazzling mutation between the artiste on stage and flag waving enthusiastic fans all caught up in an ever cascading wave of pulsating soca, confetti in the sky, dancing moko-jumbies and collective excitement.

This is an event for the world, not to mention of course, a brilliant flag bearer for Trinidad and Tobago and exponentially, the Caribbean region as a whole since the event now incorporates competitors across the islands.

Reflecting on the history of the competition, cultural benefactor and Executive Chairman William Munro, revealed that 1993 was the first year of the show.

“It was never planned and it came about accidentally. In fact my deceased wife played a big part in deciding to do an event called the Soca Monarch Competition,” he added with pride.

Munro pointed out further that at the time they were looking at the Young King’s show at Skinner Park, San Fernando, “the camera kept focusing on a young man with two Carib beers in his hands.”

“It was a strange experience, because at that moment a party type singer was on stage and the individual was in a frenzy throwing one beer on his head and dancing away like nobody’s business.”

He noted that the Young King’s show was a competition with only social commentary songs but the ‘jumpy’ tunes caught his wife’s attention. They both discussed the possibility of having a competition with the ‘jumpy’ tunes. The idea was then discussed in detail with his great friend Gregory Fernandez who responded positively to the idea. Gregory Fernandez was eager to invest the sum of TT$35,000 at that time of which Munro remains grateful for Fernandez’s belief in his vision.

Munro indicated that he always wanted a unique competition, noting on reflection: “That artistes performing just one party song, people would be partying all night. That was my thinking back then and that still remains my thinking now.”

“At the time Superblue was becoming very popular and I must say he played a big part in the success of the Soca Monarch Competition. Superblue put everything into his stage act and presentation.”

Back then the first prize in the Soca Monarch Competition was TT $25,000. Today, it is TT $2 million and Caribbean Prestige Foundation for the Performing Arts, the umbrella body of the International Soca Monarch Competition would like to thank Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamala Persad-Bissessar and the People’s Partnership Government for taking culture to a brand new level.

This year marks the 21st Anniversary of the International Soca Monarch Competition which is being promoted as The People’s Event and Munro said: “The International Soca Monarch Competition is our gift to world”.

Digicel International Groovy Soca Monarch semi-finalists 2013 are:

1. Ian Bunji Garlin Alvarez – Differentology

2. Neil Iwer D Boss George – Bubble

3. Dexter Blaxx Stewart – Nah Get Away

4. Destra Garcia – Call My Name

5. Nadia Batson – Manager

6. Denise Belfon – Wining Queen

7. Shurwayne Winchester – We not Stopping

8. Darryl Farmer Nappy Henry – Stranger

9. Rodney Benjai Le Blanc – Feter

10. Drupatee Persad – Indian Gyal

11. Kerwin Du Bois – Wettin

12. Kenneth K Rich Richards – Wine Back

13. Patrice Roberts – A Little Wine

14.Terrin Super Jigga TC Callender – We Liming

15. Ravi Ravi B Bissambhar – Prescription

16. Stephenson Shal Marshall – Wickedest Wine

17. Roderick Chucky Gordon – I Never Wine

18. Akil 5 Star Akil Borneo – Partier

19. Sheldon Sheldon Nuggets Bullen – Not Yuh Manager

20. Leslie EL-Jay James – Trini Beauty

21. Denyse Plummer – Rock and Roll

22. Michelle Michelle X – Xavier – Hold Somebody

23. Lawrence Mr. Renzo Adams – Xrated

24. Nesta Sekon Sta Boxhill – Stick It

25. Jenelle J’Angel De Leon – Jook It

26. Charlene Charli Griffith – Go Down Low

27. Kevon Yankey Boy Heath – Rumors

28. Devon Lyrikal Martin – 25/8

29. Santeney Rampersad – Movin Alone

30. Sean Daniel – Magnet

Play Whe International Power Soca Monarch semi-finalists are:

1. Fay Ann Lyons – De Stage Open

2. Austin Super Blue Lyons – Fantastic Friday

3. Destra Garcia – Carry On

4. Neil Iwer D Boss George – Unfinished Business

5. Rodney Benjai Le Blanc – Engoma

6. Shurwayne Winchester – We Control D Road

7. Nadia Batson – Gutter

8. Edghill MX Prime Thomas – Rell Vibez

9. Wilt Tallpree Cambridge – Muddy Jab

10.Dexter Blaxx Stewart – In Charge

11. Gamal Skinny Fabulous Doyle – Monster Reigning Monarch in St. Vincent

12. Lornette Fya Empress Nedd-Reid – Rum Please

13. Marvin Swappi Davis – Cha-os

14. Timel BoyBoy Rivas – Put yuh flags up

15. Devon Prophet Benjamin Samuel – No Lokani

16. Jeffrey Peter Levels Biddeau – Ready Again

17. Rickey Lil’ Rick Reid – Cyah Bother We

18. Trevor Gore – Once Again

19. Anslem Douglas – Bacchanal

20. Jason JW Williams & Ancil Blaze Isaac Jr. – Timing It

21. Devon Matthews – Start It Up

22. Megan Walrond – Full Flight

23. Marcus Lavaman James – Psycho Reigning Monarch in Grenada

24. Shivonne Lil Bitts Churche – Raise D Dust

25. Emmanuel Chris Garcia – No Soup

26. I-Stan Chosen Scott – Bring A Flask And Come

27. Anthony Squeezy Rankin La Fleur – The Renaissance

28. Erphaan Alves – Doh Test We

29. Ronald Natro Date Wickham – Masquerader Drunk

30. Olatunji Yearwood – Tunji Mantana

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