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Stage set for Chutney Soca semis

By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com

The stage is set for the semi-finals of the 2013 Lotto Plus Chutney Soca Monarch at Rienzi Complex, Couva this evening.

Southex, producers of the event, was forced to return to the venue after being denied a bar and dancehall licence in the Chaguanas Magistrates' Court last week.

The competition was planned to take place at The Rise carpark in Chaguanas.

But producers were confident that a last-minute change in venue will not affect the quality of the competition.

Top names will battle for a place in the grand finals of the competition at Skinner Park, San Fernando on January 26.

Raymond Ramnarine, lead vocalist of the band Dil-e-Nadan, returned to the competition after 13 years and has been creating a stir with his chutney song "I ain't marriding no more".

Ramnarine said his decision to return to the competition followed numerous requests from his fans.

He said his mission was to improve the quality of chutney music and create a sense of unity in the industry.

Three brothers, Neeshan (Hitman), Navin and Naresh Prabhoo, have also qualified for the semi-finals. They are the sons of chutney icon Ramrajee Prabhoo.

This year, nine women have also made it to the semi-finals, hoping to take the crown from reigning king Kris KI Persad. Persad will defend his title at the grand finals.

Southex chief executive officer George Singh said this year is expected to be one of the biggest in the history of the competition.

The 45 Chutney Soca Monarch semifinalists Jason Ramlal, Kenneth Salick, Jude Nidhan, Ranjeev Ramdeen, Michael "Soca Elvis" Salloum, Navin Prabhoo, Naresh Prabhoo, Lalchan "Hunter" Babwah, Veekash Sahadeo, Rajin Dhanraj, Oneil Bhajman, Michelle Xavier, Rick Ramoutar, Boodram Holass, Reshma Ramlal, Hemlatha Dindial, Kerron Tyron "Wakerman" Williams, Kreem Noel, Nigel Gobin, Devon "Prophet Banjamin" Samuel, Omadath Maraj, Oscar Benjamin, Chris Garcia, Dave Lall, Saleem Beharry, Brent Evelyn, Natalia Wohler, Neeshan Prabhoo, Anil Bheem, Ambika Yankaran, Kavita Maharaj, Sassy Ramoutar, Leon Coldero, Rikki Jai, Sally Sagram, SW Storm, Kenneth Supersad, Dollyboy, Drupatee Ramgoonai, Anant Hansraj, Sara Ali Yankaran, Adesh Samaroo, Raymond Ramnarine, Terry Gajraj and Joey Ramoutar.

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