Friday, December 15, 2017


Merry Monarch begins two-day reign

Ah want to go big people part-eeee, let the music take over me/ ah want to jump up whole day, whole day”. These lyrics by Farmer Nappy (Darryl Henry) from his song “Big People Party” is one of the songs in the Road March race. It can also be said to perfectly capture the way many feel about Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. We just want to jump up whole day and whole night, given the chance, just as Farmer Nappy said.

Another contender for Road March honours is Bunji Garlin’s “Truck on de Road”. “We have a truck on the road/we have a truck on the road/you better link me 4 o’clock on the road.” These lyrics could also be said to best sum up the two glorious days of Carnival set to begin today with Jouvert, going into Carnival Monday and tomorrow, Carnival Tuesday.

Still others may feel the next two days of Carnival may be best summed up through Power Soca Monarch Machel Montano’s Road March contender “Ministry of Road” (MOR) “We want more, we want more, We want more, we want more We want more, we want more, We want more, we want more. Give we ah Ministry of road We want more, we want more road Chippn when we mash up on de road We want more road, we want more Fix up when we movin tuh de stage We want more stage,...”

The truth is the season has been rich with good soca and it seems almost too close to call which song will take the Road March. But one thing we know for sure is that people, both big and small are going to party through the streets of T&T.

While today begins the official reign of the Merry Monarch the season has already crowned its share of royalty.

On Saturday night at the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain. Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove from Hamilton Street, Woodbrook was crowned Panorama champions for the second consecutive year. It was also the second year running they beat Neal&Massy Trinidad All Stars in a competition that saw a magnificent long night of pan music. In the medium category Pan Elders was crowned champion. The single pan champions are San Juan East Side Symphony and the small conventional champions are Supernovas.

On Friday night Machel Montano continued his winning streak by taking the Play Whe International Soca monarch title with his “Ministry of Road” (MOR) to which we have already referred. The event saw close competition between him and fellow band mate Farmer Nappy. But in the end both were vanquished by the sheer human spirit of the ultra-talented Kerwin Du Bois songwriter par excellence with his “Too Real” for the Digicel International Groovy monarch title. Du Bois wept after his performance, but after the tears there was the joy of victory.

Also in the packed long Carlival season which began after Boxing Day last year, came the crowning of KI (Kris Persad) who took the 2014 Chutney Soca title at Skinner Park, San Fernando for the second time in his career. He beat the more seasoned Ravi B and Rikki Jai.

Last night one of the highlights of the Carnival season would have taken place in the form of the Dimanche Gras show at the Queen’s Park Savannah. This would have seen the crowning of the calypso monarch in a show that reverted to its more traditional form. The previous year saw the removal of the calypso monarch competition from the show, for which it was felt the show was poorer. But already three calypso monarchs have been crowned in the form of the Kaisorama monarchs for the categories Social Commentary Kurt Allen, Political Commentary Mistah Shak (Selvon Noel) and Extempo Brian London.

It has also been a Carnival of controversy over appropriate prize monies. Should the calypso monarch get $2 million like their soca monarch and chutney soca counterparts? Yes, says stakeholder Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO). No, says paymaster, the government. There’s also been controversy over route changes for both juniors and seniors and the BBF bands have now chosen their own parade venue for Carnival Tuesday dubbed Socadrome at the Jean Pierre Complex. But Carnival in T&T is nothing without its bacchanals and controversies (think Pan Splash on The Greens). But for now, the joy of the Carnival and the eruption of people, small and big for the party.