Vanita Willie is first runner-up Chutney Queen
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Vicadi Singh poses with his team
Vicadi Singh poses with his team

— Vicadi cops 5th place, ‘Tony Cuttz’ 7th

By Rehana Ahamad

DURING the Christmas season, there were three Chutney/Soca songs that dominated the local airwaves, and festive spaces; these pieces provided us with the perfect amount of hype and vibrancy needed for us to culminate a year as eventful as 2020.
Even better, is the fact that these pieces were all done by incredibly talented Guyanese artistes; we know them as Vanita Willie, Tony Cuttz and Vicadi Singh. Their songs, ‘Poowah’ by Willie, ‘Johnny Walker’ by Tony Cuttz, and ‘Never Gonna Leave’ by Singh, have racked up brilliant reviews locally, regionally and far beyond. The trio, backed the exceptionally versatile Shakti Strings Band, and more specifically, their producer – keyboard whiz himself, Avinash Roopchand, were encouraged to break the almost 10-year hiatus and enter the 26th edition of the Chutney/Soca Monarch competition hosted in Trinidad and Tobago; the finals were hosted virtually on Sunday night, and thousands were logged on throughout the almost five-hour-long competition.

Vicadi Singh poses with his team

The Guyanese artistes were among the lasts to perform at the Southex-sponsored virtual activity, and their performances were colourful, pulsating and created quite a stir in the comments section of the LIVE-feeds on social media. However, none of the Guyanese who participated won the competition as many of us had hoped.
In the Queen aspect of the competition, Vanita Willie swung her waist to the first runner up position; Vicadi Singh dished out a serving of his ‘silky smooth’ vocals to be awarded fifth position, while Tony Cuttz mesmerised and energised the virtual audiences and was tied in seventh place with Trinidad’s Adesh Samaroo. Many were also hopeful that overseas-based Guyanese, Joel ‘Prince JP’ Pharous would have placed, having executed a wonderful performance of his latest song, “It’s Over”.

The artistes pose with members of the Shakti Strings Band, along with local Coordinator, WR Reaz

The activity also provided an ideal forum for the Berbice Delight Dancers – two-time Chutney Dance Competition winners, led by Valerie Barran.

Tony Cuttz, moments before his scintillating performance of ‘Johnny Walker’

The artistes have all took to their Facebook Page to express gratitude to their producers, sponsors, and WR Reaz, Coordinator of the Guyana leg of the competition. Reaz told the Guyana Chronicle that Guyana was well-represented on the big stage, and that the artistes have all made their sponsors and Team 592 quite proud. He reminded too that competitions often attract high emotions, particularly as it relates to those who may disagree with the results. “I understand people may share different opinions but in the end [we have to] let the music do the talking,” Reaz said.

He had previously indicated that public voting would play a key role in deciding who would win the competition. Nonetheless, the promoter said he was pleased with the activity, and believes that the Guyanese who competed have a far way to go in the music industry.
“This is really a stepping stone to move forward and build on the genre of Chutney/Soca music in Guyana,” Reaz said.
He expressed gratitude for the support given to the team by the Shakti Strings Band, Team MMR, Envy Sounds, E-Networks, Abee Chunes Radio, Onsa Entertainment, RRT Enterprise, Jumbo Jet, NMCRA Connector Realty our of Queens New York, as well as Adana Homes and Satishwar Persaud from Canada.

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