Reigning National Road March Champion and International Power Soca Monarch Machel Montano picked up five awards at the 2011 International Reggae and World Music Awards on Saturday at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port of Spain.
Montano, who was nominated in nine categories, beat out international acts including Damian "Gongzilla" Marley, Nas, UB40, Third World and Beenie Man in the categories he won. Among the awards claimed by Montano was that of Most Outstanding Show Band/Group.
In his acceptance speech, Montano aknowledged his parents Liz and Monty Montano who were in the audience, saying they were the driving force in his career.
He thanked them and told the audience that since his first band, Pranasonic Express, during his childhood always encouraged him and the other band members to "be honest, work hard and save".
Montano also won the awards for Best Caribbean Entertainer, Best Male Soca/Calypso Entertainer, Best Soca Band, Most Outstanding Stage Personality and the Award of Honour.
Montano performed one song, "Bend Over," during the ceremony and people stood up to dance, encouraged by Shaggy who co-hosted the show alongside Tony Rebel and Deniece Williams.
Other Trinidad and Tobago artistes who won awards included reigning National Chutney Soca Monarch Rikki Jai who picked up the first ever chutney music award in the IRAWMAs.
Jai won the award for Best Chutney Entertainer, while the band Dil-e-Nadan won the Best Chutney Band Award. The Silver Stars Steel Orchestra beat out reigning National Panorama Champions, Trinidad All Stars to win the Best Steelband Award.
The audience laughed when it was announced that Iwer George had won the award for Most Improved/Comeback Entertainer.
He was not present to collect.
Also not on hand to receive his award was Minister of The Arts and Multiculturalism, Winston "Gypsy" Peters who was inducted into the IRAWMA Hall of Fame.
Robert Amar and Dennis "Sprangalang" Hall received Awards of Honour, while Kernel Roberts won the award for Songwriter of the Year.
Local fete/concert promoter Roy Maharaj won the award for Promoter of the Year.
Were it not for the hosts the show would have been for the most part, lacklustre.
Although there were good performances by among others, Taurus Riley, Dean Fraser, Soca Elvis and Gramps Morgan, there seemed to be something missing.
Also, there were several moments of dead air between presentations and following presentations, which were competently filled by Shaggy, Tony Rebel and Williams whose interaction with one another and the audience was quite natural and jovial throughout.
Many patrons also expressed surprise when they saw some of the capabilities of the NAPA stage being put to action, such as the main back set moving back and forth to allow for the band to slide to centre-stage from the right flank.
The lighting too was possibly the best executed since the auditorium was opened to the public.
This was the 30th run of the IRAWMAs, which is produced by American events/show promoter Ephraim Martin.
After having been held in various places in the United States the awards were four years ago taken to Jamaica before coming to Trinidad and Tobago.