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Machel rules the road

By ANDRE BAGOO Thursday, March 6 2014

A NEW Cabinet portfolio has been permanently added to the Road March Hall of fame, with Machel Montano yesterday being announced as winner of the annual Carnival race by a landslide.

Montano’s “Ministry of Road” was played 374 times at judging venues, according to official results released by the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO). But though he sometimes sounds like a politician in interviews, in an interview with Newsday yesterday, Montano said he has no intention of trying out politics.

“Nah, I don’t like to say never, but I have no interest in politics. That is a hard life. I don’t want to be like Jack Warner,” he said, at a press briefing called at the Queen’s Park Savannah.

Montano copped the crown with a song in which he alludes to the political desire for improvement of roadworks. The music video for the song presents Montano as a politician and, at times yesterday, as he celebrated victory, he waxed into high rhetoric.

Second place in the Road March competition was Darryl “Farmer Nappy” Henry with “Big People Party” which was tallied at 59. Rodney “Benjai” Le Blanc’s “Come Out To Play” came in third with 39 plays.

Kerwin Du Bois, who beat Montano in the Groovy Soca Monarch competition with “Too Real”, did not feature in the top three.

“We wish to congratulate Mr Machel Montano who dominated the competition with his song,”a Tuco spokesperson said in a faxed press release.

It was Montano’s sixth Road March win. He previously won in 1997 (“Big Truck”); 2006 (“Band of the Year” with Patrice Roberts); 2007 (“Jumbie”); 2011 (“Advantage”); and 2012 (“Pump Yuh Flag”).

Montano said, “This is Road March title number six? I did not stop to count, but I feel very fortunate this year. We worked hard and it was a tough year for power soca in terms of generating ideas. But even though it was tough in the beginning we got it done and it was easy to record this track and to win.”

Montano said his team had prepared to launch other Road March contenders at the last minute if any competition arose at the last minute, “but we did not see any”.

“We had extra bullets,” the soca singer said. “We had to put some things back in the sack.” He expressed the view that power soca is dying, but said this was part of a natural cycle of ebb and flow.

“Power soca has been dying just like calypso has been dying,” Montano said. “But it is a natural ebb and flow. It is very difficult to write power soca and the people who are writing power soca are running out of ideas. People now want something slower, something groovy.” He said the thought process behind “Ministry of Road” was a decision to make a statement about power soca. He said the song was “a tribute” to power soca.

“This was a salute to power soca,” he said. “It may be dying but we are going to try to keep it alive.” He said things are on a “continuum” and the past and present exist at once.

On second-place “Farmer Nappy”, Montano counted him as being among his camp.

“I’ve always told Farmer, ‘I in front and you should be second because you are in my camp’,” Montano said. Asked how he responded to the views of some that people are fed up of Machel Montano, the soca singer said this view was a minority view as he keeps on winning competitions.

“They could say they are tired of me all they want,” Montano said. “I am here to stay.” He expressed satisfaction with the Parade of the Bands route on Carnival Tuesday, noting things flowed smoothly at the Queen’s Park Savannah. He said last year he had to wait four hours with a band to cross the stage, but this was not the case this year.

“I was impressed with that,” he said. “The Socadome was just like another stage, like Adam Smith Square.”He called for the festival to be disciplined. Montano opened bottles of champagne and sipped with his mother, Elizabeth Montano, at yesterday’s briefing. “I’ve been drinking champagne for the last three days,” the soca singer said.

(SEE Page 18A)

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