"William Munro is the Berry Gordy of soca music."This affirmation, and comparison between the Soca Monarch founder and the founder of the Motown record label was made by joint 2013 Play Whe International Power Soca Monarch SuperBlue (Austin Lyons) on Monday evening at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain.
Lyons had just collected the first prize he shared with Machel Montano. The occasion was the prize-giving function for the Flavorite Supreme Ice Cream National Schools Soca Monarch, Digicel International Groovy Soca Monarch and International Power Soca Monarch competitions.
Held before a standing-room-only audience, the function was attended by a number of government ministers, diplomats, sponsors and artistes, including Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism Dr Lincoln Douglas, Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Community Development Minister Winston Peters, Minister of Labour Errol McLeod, Minister of Science and Technology Rupert Griffith, Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, Philippines consul Dr Marie Advani, NLCB director Brian Sawh, Digicel CEO John Delves, T&T Guardian general manager Douglas Wilson and Tuco head Lutalo "Bro Resistance" Masimba.
The three-hour programme was co-hosted by Mark Anthony and Wendell Constantine and included performances by the champions and others guests, including Montano, SuperBlue, school monarchs Jeromy Rodriguez and Ferdinand Smith, Sheldon Blackman, Fya Empress, Patrice Roberts and 3Canal, the latter accompanying SuperBlue.
In his address, Culture Minister Douglas disclosed that the Government is working towards encouraging radio stations to play a higher percentage of local music. He said one inducement could be increased tax incentives for stations. Douglas said the Government is committed to establishing a 50 per cent quota for local music on the airwaves.
Saying T&T is a virtual factory for producing music, pan and mas, the minister said the country's population is not large enough to support its production of music. He suggested that international music agencies be sought to distill, market and promote T&T music internationally. Guardian Media Limited (GML) was one of the major sponsors of the competition.