Crowning of new Chutney Soca Monarch tonight
By Cecily Asson Saturday, February 15 2014
AS THE two main cultures merge into one huge fete in Skinner Park, San Fernando, Southex organisers of the annual Chutney Soca Monarch competition told Newsday tonight’s final will surpass all other shows ever in its 18-year history.
“People are going to see a show they have never seen before,” an excited George Singh, Southex’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and show promoter told Newsday yesterday.
“Nice big fire works display, lots of special effects. You know every year you try to outdo the last show.”
Thousands are expected to converge onto the main grounds at Skinner Park from early today to cheer on their favourite chutney soca artiste among them former monarchs Ravi B, Rikki Jai, KI Persad.
Bunji Garlin and the Vikings Asylum will give a 30-minute performance in a pre-show which begins at 8.30 pm and also includes dancers from Guyana, Singh said.
The show, dedicated to the late chutney singer Rajin Dhanraj, is expected to last six hours and a presentation will be made by Southex to Dhanraj’s family. The official competition will get underway at 9.30 pm with Ravi B appearing in the first position. A total of 20 artistes will compete for $2 million.
“As you know they (Government) are giving out $4.5 million in prizes and that is the biggest pay day ever in the history of the Chutney Soca Monarch,” he said.
The winner is decided by judges and fans’ text votes. Singh stated online and text voting begins at 7 pm and closes at 3 am.
“People may ask why the show starts at 8.30 pm and we open voting at 7 pm,” Singh continued. “The reason is we open one hour before is too make sure there are no problems from a technology point, that everything is working smoothly when the competition begins. We close one hour after in case there is congestion during the show, once it eases up, the votes will eventually go through.”
Singh said controversies about outstanding payments to last year’s contestants, among them winner Raymond Ramnarine who will not defend his crown tonight and a bhajan sung by finalist Hemlatha Dindial at the semifinals which sparked objections from Maha Sabha secretary general Sat Maharaj are now behind him.
“The Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism was expected to be in touch with everybody who was owed money as they had indicated to me that they were going to sort it out before (tonight’s) show.
The ministry is paying the money, it was never me,” Singh said. Dindial, he added, has changed her song for the finals.
San Fernando Mayor Kazim Hosein visited Skinner Park yesterday and met with organisers to make sure all was in place for the smooth running of tonight’s competition.
Chutney Soca finalists
1 Ravi B (Ravi Bissambhar)
2 Reshma Ramlal
3 Olatunji Yearwood
4 Rikki Jai (Samraj Jaimungal)
5 Hunter (Lalchan Babwah)
6 Anand Yankaran
7 Snakey (Heaven Charles)
8 Blaxx (Dexter Stewart)
9 Veekash Sahadeo
10 Rick Ramoutar
11 Omardath Maraj
12 Nishard Mayrhoo
13 Sally Sagram
14 Crazy (Edwin Ayoung)
15 Adesh Samaroo
16 Nadia Madoo
17 Hemlatha Dindial
18 Kenneth Supersad
19 KI (Kris Persad)
20 Kavita Maharajh