THE hosting of the Carib Soca Monarch semi-final in Linden drew the largest crowd to one location for 2019. The colossal crowd, made up of Lindeners who emerged from every nook and cranny to witness the highly anticipated event on the Mashramani 2019 calendar of activities, was not disappointed. The majority of the 17 performances were upbeat, having the crowd on their feet, jumping, waving and gyrating to the soca beat.
Coupled with this was the bantering and comical commentating by Master of Ceremony Malcolm Ferreira, making up for those artistes who just didn’t make the cut for the night.
The event got off to a late start, but the electrifying and exhilarating performance by popular local artiste Kwasi Ace and the fame band paved the way for the competitors. The first two performances by two newcomers Shaima “Sexy Berry” Muna and Melissa Pestano with the stage name “Ms. Finesse”, with their songs “Goddess of Soca” and “I ‘don’t watch no face” respectively, did not receive overwhelming crowd responses, though their background dancers tried their best to boost the performances.
With no background dancer however, soca veteran Jomo Primo was the third artiste to perform and enlivened the crowd up with the song “Tribute.” With absolutely no costume and no form of assistance to create props needed, he had the crowd on its feet and directed attention to the plethora of instruments on the stage, since the song is actually about paying tribute to the musical instruments and their operators.
His performance was no surprise, as he has been in this business for years, but according to Linden’s young monarch hopeful Roderick Allicock, known as “Static”, with his song “All out”, he did not hesitate to throw hints to the three- time soca monarch with his jumpy lyrics, “Tell Jomo to go his way, he old and grey”, which had the crowd swaying with laughter and cheers. Jomo must have felt the same way Jesus felt when the same crowd that welcomed him into Jerusalem, moments after, asked for him to be crucified.
Lindeners showed that they are loyal to their own, as manifested by their overwhelming response to not only “Static,” but to all other the other Lindeners including Lil Colwin with his extraordinary performance of “Full access”, and Collin “Real Proof” Prince with his performance, “Push Back.”
DID NOT DISAPPOINT
These Linden artistes did not disappoint on home soil, as they were ranked as some of the best performers for the night; their props with J’Ouvert power, water, fireworks, background dancers with exotic dancing choreography and eye-catching costumes, made the night even more satisfying.
Soca was on fire in Linden and the judges had the time of their lives with the elimination process. Another of the other high-ranking performances for the night was Vanilla’s “One Voice,” which spoke of the need for Guyanese to shun division and live in love and unity; a message very much-needed now as political tension continues to rise. All of the above-mentioned were among the finalists.
All of those going through to the final, which will be held Saturday, 16, at the National Park are, Jomo, Lil Colywin, Static, Vanilla, Nesta, Sexy Berry, Miss Finesse, True, Ryan T, Real Proof, Passion, Vintage, Natural One, and Stephen Ramphal; of course, reigning Soca Monarch Brandon Harding, will be defending his crown.
“I am not taking anyone lightly. This is a competition and I thrive on competition. I know I am up against the likes of Jomo and Vanilla and Nesta, and there are some really good songs and good talent who are in it to win it; however, the only person who will beat Brandon is Brandon. I am the problem and the problem is me for Soca Monarch 2019,” he said.
The judges included Narrisa Pearson, Paul Mc Adam, Joel Lee, Dason Anthony, Earl Bishop and Lytton Thompson.
The contestants were judged on the basis of their ability to explore their topics, diction, party appeal, stage performance and crowd response, among others.
The winner will walk away with $1.5 million. The contestant in at second will get $750,000 while the third and fourth-placed winners will receive $500,000 and $250,000 respectively. A prize of $100,000 is up for grabs for the “Best New- comer.”