The stage is set for tomorrow's final of the 50th Anniversary Independence Chutney Soca Monarch Competition at Skinner Park, San Fernando from 8 p.m. The excitement generated by this event is interesting as the fans of the respective finalists are actually preparing to attend the show as crews complete with flags, banners and t-shirts in support of their favourites.
Having topped both the preliminary and semifinal rounds, Kenneth Supersad seems to be the one that the other nine competitors will have to conquer in order to claim the $500,000 first prize. His song titled "Independence Time" is said to be the right blend of introspection and celebration, while Supersad's offbeat delivery pleased the audience at the semi final and impressed the judges enough to score him the highest.
The reigning National Chutney-Soca Monarch, Kris "KI" Persad, however, remains the favourite to take the title with his song, "In My Land," which is in effect a love song to Trinbago. Persad purposely stayed away from everything political in the song that defines the nation as being a place as close to heaven on earth as one can get. The lead vocalist of the band 3Veni is also preparing a full-scale theatrical presentation for tomorrow's show.
Another frontrunner is Drupatee Ramgoonai whose "Gem Of The Caribbean," put her into the second position going into the final. Ramgoonai during the 1980's instantly became a household name with her debut release, "Mr Bissessar (Roll Up The Tassa)," written for her by Wayne "Kassman" McDonald. Always a favourite with audiences, Ramgoonai is also expected to deliver a performance featuring theatrics with dancers, actors and live props.
One can't ever discount the capabilities of six-time Chutney Soca Monarch, Rikki Jai who has been known to come from the back of the pack to claim victory on finals night. Jai's song titled, "Mother Trinbago" does stir up feelings of patriotism and can make a tear or two stream down faces. One of the focal points of Jai's offering is the unity among the grassroots people of the nation despite whatever happens on the political front.
With a purse of TT$1.25 million the 50th Anniversary Independence Chutney Soca Monarch Competition proves quite lucrative for a contest outside of the Carnival season. The artiste coming in second will take home TT$250,000, while the act placing third receives, TT$150,000. The remaining seven finalists will each receive TT$50,000, but exactly how much of this can be counted as profit is left to be seen as the investment some of these artistes make in their presentations can come very close to that sum.
Following the competition itself patrons will be treated to performances by several guests artistes including the bands, JMC 3Veni and Melobugz. There will also be presentations by at least five dance troupes as well as performances by several artistes not in the competition. Producer of the event, George Singh also promises a special Independence celebration at the show.
The finalists are:
1 Ki Persad - In My Land
2 Rooplal Girdharrie - Land Of Paradise
3 Rikki Jai - Mother Trinibago
4 Arti Butkoon - Sweet Trinbago
5 Ramdeen Falco Maharaj - Welcome To Tnt
6 Kenneth Supersad - Independence Time
7 Soca Elvis - Song For The People
8 Mohip Poonwassie - Jubilation Time In Trinibago
9 Sally Sagram - Welcome To Tnt
10 Drupatee Persad - Gem Of D Caribbean