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Soca setback

Yvette Best

Soca setback

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THIS YEAR’S PARTY MONARCH will lose out on at least one prize.
Unlike what has obtained since 2008, the winner will not have automatic entry into the International Soca Monarch competition in Trinidad and Tobago.
Since 2008, Khiomal, TC, Blood and Mikey all represented Barbados in one of the biggest shows in Trinidad Carnival.
William Munro, of Caribbean Prestige Foundation, which produces the 20-year-old show, said the most he would do for the soca monarchs from Barbados and throughout the region from here on was allow them a place in the
semi-finals. The competition remains open to any artiste who wants to submit music to be reviewed for a place in the semi-final.
Munro told the DAILY NATION he was not satisfied the regional acts maximized the opportunities to market themselves and their songs on radio and television spots afforded them as finalists.
He also knocked the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) and the various ministries of culture in the region for not sharing the vision and using the opportunities to the fullest.
TT$2m for winner
“When I take them into the finals they are guaranteed nothing less than TT$150 000 and they have the opportunity that they could win up to TT$2 million, but it’s not only the winning. The amount of exposure that they can give the island, I don’t even think the island has the money to do that, because they usually advertise tourism,” he said, adding that the various ministers responsible for culture had never sat with him to talk and understand the vision.
Munro said the different islands also failed to put in the necessary funds to make the presentations spectacular and generate the necessary energy from the crowd.
Both TC and Blood, who represented Barbados in 2010 and 2011 respectively, said it was Munro’s prerogative to run the competition as he chose.
“Everyone has a chance once they are in the semi-finals. How fair? I don’t know. The payday in finals gives you the opportunity to go and put on a decent show for the world to see,” Blood stated.
But he argued it was not worth the investment if outside acts were not automatic finalists.
TC was not of the view automatic entry into the finals improved an artiste’s chance at winning.
Citing Biggie Irie, who did it on his own steam in 2007 in the Groovy Soca segment and remains the only non-Trinidadian to win a soca title there, she said artistes just had to have the ability to get the song over.
Mikey, this year’s representative, said the ability of a non-Trinidadian act to advance from the semi-finals would have a lot to do with the level of airplay, which he said was not up to par at present.
Quality music
“Once the music is played and the people know the music, there is always a great opportunity because Barbados produces a high quality of music,” Mikey reasoned.
Krosfyah lead singer Khiomal was the first to represent Barbados under the previous arrangement in 2009. He said the playing field was not even for non-Trinidadian acts and it would be difficult to get past the semi-finals.
Efforts to reach Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley for a response to Munro’s new position proved futile.