Montano launched the 3Zero Rum at Ladies First, Pier 1, Chaguaramas. –Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

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Machel Celebrates 30

By Nigel Telesford

In addition to celebrating three decades of music, "Machel Monday" will herald a new beginning for Reigning Soca Monarch and Road March King, Machel Montano. The double champion revealed plans for the concert event on Wednesday afternoon following his performance at "Soca in B Square" held at Woodford Square in Port of Spain. In an exclusive interview with the Express, hosted by telecommunications giant, bmobile, at their Brian Lara Promenade store in Port of Spain, Montano expressed great pride in the overall success of last year's debut event and credited his mother for suggesting moving the concert to Monday. He said:

"We're all really pleased that the event went down so smoothly last year—both in terms of how it looked and sounded and also the impact it had on the festival and the way it made people feel. I think that in celebrating Mr and Mrs Carnival—Sparrow and Rose, we really struck a chord and got people to understand that Machel Montano, the Alternative Concept, the HD Family, Xtatik Limited—all these things are not just about me personally, but it's about building a legacy and a culture that celebrates our own, while still influencing and being influenced by all the other genres and cultures of the world."

Montano explained that in planning this year's instalment, he and promoter, Anthony Chow Lin On deliberately chose not to celebrate his 30th anniversary in music.

"We did not want to celebrate my 30th anniversary because we don't feel old... and we don't want people to get the idea that Machel is ready to retire. So what we'll be doing on Monday is telling the story of Machel and showcasing the concept of 3Zero—which is celebrating the 3 decades and then resetting to zero. One of the high points of the show will be how we teach them how to reset to zero—meaning that three decades of Machel have gone by and now I'm ready to start over, so this will be the zero point—and it's not just me because all the artistes I have worked with and influenced and encouraged over the past three decades will be there to tell the story from their perspective and also to represent resetting to zero to prepare for the next decade."

Montano admitted that staging the concert during the final week of Carnival had a great part to play in ensuring his victories in the Soca Monarch and Road March competitions. He said:

"Long time SuperBlue used to come and destroy Brass Festival the week before Carnival and that momentum would carry him straight through to Soca Monarch and the road on Monday and Tuesday, so this is what the Machel Monday has become: it's the night when we're all playing to 20, 30,000 people and once you get them in the right zone—it's all about public perception and if we lift them up on this night, then they will carry us all the way. Again, it's not just about me: all the acts on the show will be giving their best to set Carnival 2012 right."

Among the special guest artistes billed to perform at this event are: Kerwin Du Bois, Benjai, Kes The Band, Shadow, The IZ, Farmer Nappy, Patrice Roberts and International Pop Star, Armando "Pitbull" Perez.

Though he will be competing with many of these acts in the days following the event, Montano stressed that there was no real animosity among the fraternity. He said:

"This night is not about competition and the performances you will see at Machel Monday will not be the same as RAMA two nights before, or even at Fantastic Friday four days after. This night is all about showcasing your brand as an artiste—yes, we're in the competition and we all enjoyed it and had a time last year, but you know Machel is not about the competition thing and the whole idea behind our concert in the first place is to showcase the music of T&T alongside all the sounds and the genres of the rest of the world—that's what we're all about and that's what we'll be doing on Machel Monday."

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