A new competition was added to the landscape of competitive events in the short 2016 Carnival season. The first International Soca DJ competition (ISDJ) was launched last week to the media as a platform to celebrate the "gate keepers of the music and culture," according to Harand� Elie, head of Full Moon Ltd.
This company along with Perception Management, headed by Andre Jeffers and Andrew Bailey, make the case for promoting the status of the DJ as part of the mix of talent that draw crowds to parties in the season and beyond.
Elie, Jeffers and Bailey were part of a media conference that laid out plans for this new event which has as its goals, the revolutionising of the phenomenon of disc jockeying, empowering young DJs by creating the infrastructure for a positive showcase of their talent, and becoming a tool for not only cultural branding but also for destination branding, much like International Soca Monarch has done for soca.
Elie is a former operations manger at Soca Monarch producers Caribbean Prestige Promotions, and the template set there has been copied with the potential to promote the art of turntablism in the context of Carnival: "the way in which music is played and mixed by a DJ is one of the most instrumental vehicles for having a good time. It is a catalyst for personal expression that is not officially recognised within Carnival," he said.
Jeffers who said the DJs have ten minutes to show off their best skills. He was keen to say that the competition will be an experience: "Presentation has a lot to do with success, we'll be creating a bit of theatre in the show."
For their efforts, successful DJ will get prizes ranging from $30,000 to $10,000 for the top places with everybody guaranteed an appearance fee of $5,000. Twenty DJs will be selected from video submissions by DJs from here and internationally to move to the final performance at the Queen's Park Savannah Car Park on January 30.
Elie said, "Everything is live. Entertainment value is key so there is no limit to what can be on stage."
The criter a to decide the winner will include showmanship and presentation, beat juggling skills, crowd response and control, articulation and argument for the mic man, dubplate creativity, and soca fusion. Judges will include former Soca Monach head judge Josephine Taurel and music producer Darryl Braxton.
Elie also stresses that the International Soca DJ competition will not follow a soundclash approach.
A soundclash, more popular in reggae and dancehall, is a head-to-head competition where the aim is to "kill" the competitor.
Bailey, however, recognised that there is rivalry between DJs reaching to the point where promoters won't hire DJs if they are affiliated with certain radio stations, but he pointed out that this competition was aimed at levelling the playing field level.
THE INTERNATIONAL SOCA DJCOMPETITION 2016 FINALISTS
1 Delegates International ft Ringo Starr (94.1 BOOM Champions)
2 Black Heart International
3 DJ Ana ft Hype Man Patrick Anthony (HOTT 93)
4 Junior Mafia Sound ft Nigel Snipes
(The Street 91.9FM)
5 DJ Quickstar International ft War Dog
6 The Artform ft DJ Element & Fro Hummer
7 Super Fresh Sound ft Selectah Kieon & Rated R
8 DJ David 868 ft Rome
9 X Caliber Int'l ft Dawg E Slaughter
10 Ultra Simmo & S Carter (RED 96.7FM)
11 DJ Trini Spice
TOBAGO–12 DJ Redo & Killa
BARBADOS–13 DJ Kirk Brown
GERMANY–14 DJ Mika Raguaa
CANADA–15 DeeJay Sizzla
PUERTO RICO–16 DJ Silentkilla
USA-NEW YORK–17 DJ Spice (Team Soca)
18. Soca Rebel
UNITED KINGDOM-LONDON–19 DJ Markee
AUSTRALIA–20 DJ Fasmwa