KI goes for KO
By SEETA PERSAD Saturday, January 26 2013
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Soca Monarch Veshal Kris 'KI' Persad...
THE youngest ever Chutney Soca Monarch Veshal Kris “KI” Persad will not hold back any musical punches as he goes for the knockout and defend his crown tonight as the competition returns to its traditional venue — Skinner Park — in the southland.
The Chutney Soca Monarch finals is the first major competition as the countdown to Carnival 2013 reaches fever pitch.
The country’s top pan sides will also get down to business this weekend with the National Panorama Single Pan and Small Bands semi-finals taking place today at the Queen’s Park Savannah and the Medium and Large Bands semis will be held tomorrow also at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Tonight, 17 of the best artistes in the Chutney Soca realm will battle each other and defending monarch KI for the $1 million first prize and bragging rights for the next 12 months.
Among them are Raymond Ramnarine, Drupatee Ram-
goonai, Rikki Jai, Adesh Samaroo, Anil Bheem, Micelle Xavier, Prophet Benjamin, Kenneth Supersad, Saleem Beharry, Vikash Sahadeo, Roger Hinds (Guyanese Monarch), Sally Sagram, Hemlata Dindial, Omadath Maharaj, Adesh Samaroo, Rick Ramoutar and Lalchan Babwah (Hunter).
But in an interview last night, on a local television’s seven o’clock news programme, Persad warned his competitors, “I am not going to give up my title so easily.” He also promised a stage production tonight that will blow away the audience and hopefully bring him back into winner’s row for the second year running. “I will bring a lot of energy. That energy is coming from here (punches his chest) and I will bring something different than what I had last year,” Persad said.
CEO of Southex (the organising body for the Chutney Soca Monarch) George Singh who took the competition to Port-of-Spain last year says he heeded the call from fans to return to Skinner Park and he is expecting a large turnout tonight.
Singh issued a call for clean lyrics following the 2011 competition when six-time mon-arch Rikki Jai won a record $2 million with his song, “White Oak and Water.” Many condemned this “rum-song” and Chutney artistes were blamed for not producing constructive lyrics in this national competition.
It was the year that Southex also introduced the new judging system of text voting through bmobile. Many of the artistes have spoken out against this method of judging saying artistes are buying votes from the general public. Singh says the contestants in the finals will be judged by 70 percent text voting and 30 percent judges’ decision.
Also in 2011, first runner up Ravi “Ravi B” Bissembhar courted controversy and a charge of inciting violence when he called on his supporters who did not agree with Jai being crowned, to “throw something on stage.” He was later reprimanded and discharged by a magistrate who warned him to be a better role model for youths.
Ravi B later issued a public apology and has since never appeared in the competition. He is however a finalist in the Groovy Soca Monarch with his song “Ah Bottle Ah Rum Ah Day.” Guest performers for tonight’s show include former Calypso Monarch David Rudder and former Groovy Soca Monarch Kees Diff-
The celebrity panel of judges includes Bollywood’s top playback singer Kunal Gan-jawala and radio announcer Wendy Khan from New York. Also Dimple Mendonca from Guyana with TT top musician Mungal Patasar, cricketer Darren Ganga and Vashtie Doorga.
Also tonight at the show, special tributes will be paid to the living legends of chutney including Rakesh Yankaran, Rasika Dindial, Sam Boodram, Ramrajie Prabhu and Boodram Holass.