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All-clear for Chutney Soca monarch
Although there is uncertainty over the prize money and sponsorship, the preliminary round of the Chutney Soca Monarch competition will kick off this Saturday at the Samar Entertainment Centre, Penal. Southex CEO George Singh Jr, the show’s promoter, confirmed at a news conference yesterday, that not only will the competition be held, but it will be the biggest since its inception 16 years ago. Financial negotiations are still taking place with the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism, but Singh is confident a reasonable figure will be arrived at.
He said the cost of the hosting the event has reached close to $8 million, twice the investment of last year’s competition, which he attributed to major improvements to the 2011 event. Southex will also host the annual Girls Gone White party at Space La Nouba Night Club, plus a chutney soca street show on Carnival Monday night along Independence Avenue, San Fernando. A total of 130 entrants have registered for the first leg of the Chutney Soca Monarch competition, which Singh believes is largely due to the anticipation of participants copping the grand $2 million first prize. “The first place prize money had created such a frenzy that for the first time in the competition we have recorded over 200 participants.
“With so much people, we held a screening session for contestants just to enter the preliminary rounds” Singh said. “It has now become so big that performers from Barbados, Guyana, Canada, USA and even the United Kingdom have entered the competition making it an international event.” A total of 40 contestants will progress to the semi-final stage of the competition to be held at the Rienzi Complex Couva on February 5. The judges will select numbers 1-37, while positions 38, 39 and 40 will progress based on the highest number of text votes received during designated times.
A total of 15 contestants will compete against defending monarch Ravi B at the grand finals carded for February 19 at Skinner Park, San Fernando. Calypsonian Black Stalin, Rakesh Yankaran, the Malick Folk Performers and the Indira Mahatoo Dancers will be among a sterling cast of performers scheduled for the opening of the preliminaries. A performances by Machel Montano HD is also anticipated. Singh said the NLCB Chutney Soca Monarch continues to be the largest and most important Indo-Caribbean production for the annual Carnival celebration. He believes it is time that chutney soca music reaches the international stage and he has set a goal to take the event to a pay-per-view audience of more than 50,000.
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