Raymond Ramnarine, leader of the band Dil-e-Nadan, has claimed the title of 2013 Lotto Plus Chutney Soca Monarch.
He won the $1 million first prize, with a performance that was hailed as spectacular at Skinner Park, San Fernando, last night.
Ramnarine, who returned to the competition after 13 years, has dethroned Kris “KI” Persad, who had to settle for third place.
Rikki Jai, who has won the competition multiple times, placed second with his song “Ent yuh know”.
Ramnarine performed at seventh position and was accompanied by the Shiv Shakti dancers.
The crowd sang every word of Ramnarine’s runaway hit “I ain’t marriding no more”. And on his command they chanted, “Raymond, Raymond”.
The crowd went in a frenzy when Ramnarine invited “Trinidad and Tobago’s most popular couple” on stage. Peter Minshall’s creations Tan Tan and Saga Boy danced to Ramnarine’s chutney hit – a song which became the most requested chutney on the airwaves in recent weeks.
And when Ramnarine included a verse that he would emerge chutney soca king, the fans went wild.
As he exited the stage, patrons continued chanting “Raymond, Raymond”, making it clear that the night belonged to Ramnarine.
The competition was judged both manually and by text messaging.
At the end, Ramnarine tallied an overall total of 43.7 points, while Jai accumulated 42.6 points. He received $300,000.
Jai displayed the steelpan and tassa drumming during his powerful presentation.
KI, who entered the stage by a zip liner, to perform his song “Friends for the night” received 33.7 points and $200,000.
As the prizes were being announced at around 4am, the patrons became anxious. They began chanting “Raymond, Raymond” long before he was named the winner.
Ramnarine, in tears, walked calmly to the front of the stage and thanked his thousands of screaming fans. “When I entered chutney soca monarch, it didn’t care about the money. I did this for my people, my culture and about moving forward. I would serve my people and uplift my culture to the highest,” he said before kissing the stage.
The celebration continued on stage as Ramnarine was joined by his wife Niala, brothers Rennie and Richard and members of his band.
He was congratulated by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Southex chief executive officer, George Singh.
Ramnarine, who also topped the semi final round of the competition, told reporters, “I came into chutney soca monarch not thinking about the bright lights and the big stage. Now the journey has just started.
I have to deliver now…I want to go out and I really want to inspire the young ones. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from these loyal fans that I have in Skinner Park. I am lost for words right now,” he said.
Ramnarine said support from his fans, endless prayers and blessing from his parents contributed to his success. “I had my deeya lighting and I was praying for God to protect me and guide me through this. And God has blessed me. I said that 2013 is going to be a much happier year,” he said.
Ramnarine said he intends to visit schools, promoting culture. And he wants to use part of his winnings to help the underprivileged.
1. Raymond Ramnarine – 43.7 points
2. Rikki Jai – 42.6 points
3. Kris “KI” Persad – 33.7 points
4. Kenneth Supersad – 25.5 points
5. Drupatee Ramgoonai – 23.9 points
6. Anil Bheem – 22.9 points
7. A tie with Rick Ramoutar and Lalchan “Hunter” Babwah – 22.5 points
8. Prophet Benjamin – 22.2 points
9. A tie with Omadath Maraj and Sally Sagram – 21.2 points
10. Saleem “Stinky”Beharry – 21.2 points