COSTLY: Multiculturalism Minister Lincoln Douglas addresses the audience at Thursday's launch of the 2013 International Chutney Soca Monarch at Hyatt Regency hotel in Port of Spain. —Photo: AYANNA KINSALE

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Chutney Soca returns home

...back at Skinner Park in 2013

By Wayne Bowman wayne.bowman@trinidadexpress.com

The International Chutney Soca Monarch competition returns to Skinner Park in San Fernando in 2013 after having been held at the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain, this year.

George Singh, producer of the event, announced this on Thursday during the launch of the competition at Hyatt Regency hotel in Port of Spain.

Singh said although having the final at the Oval in 2012 proved a success, he decided that pleasing the patrons who have supported the Chutney Soca Monarch show over its 18 years was more important.

Singh said it would cost nearly $20 million to produce the show and bring Skinner Park up to the standard he wants for the competition but, in the end, once the people are pleased he and his team at Southex Promotions are happy to do whatever it takes.

"I was pleased with what was achieved at the Oval, but we must listen to the voice of the people. So it's back to south.

"We are going to have to spend a lot of money to bring Skinner Park up to standard and we have already submitted our plans for approval. When people enter Skinner Park on the night of Chutney Soca they will swear that they are in the National Stadium. It will cost about $20 million to produce the show, but it will be well worth it," Singh said.

Another announcement that excited the guests, who included artistes, music producers, sponsors and longstanding fans of the competition, was that Raymond Ramnarine, lead vocalist of the band Dil-E-Nadan, was returning to the competition after having stayed away for a number of years.

Singh also said that Rikki Jai, who has won it several times, will also compete in the hope of dethroning defending monarch, Kris "KI" Persad, who is the youngest person to have ever won the title.

In his address, Persad said he is impressed with the quality of chutney soca songs that have been released for 2013 thus far, but "I will not be easily taken down."

Singh announced that the rule banning songs on alcohol, or as they're commonly referred, rum songs, remains in place as well as that the songs must be original compositions.

Tributes will be paid on the night to stalwart chutney and chutney soca artistes Rasika Dindial, Ramrajie Prabhu, Rakesh Yankaran, Sam Boodram and Boodram Holass.

Guest artistes will include Kees Dieffenthaller and David Rudder.

The final of the International Chutney Soca Monarch Competition takes place on January 26 and the first prize is $1 million.

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