The Truth about the International Soca Monarch | T'dad 2014

The following article was sent to this site (TriniZagada) by a friend (on-line user names Vushung/Bitter). It is a very interesting read; please read the document in its entirety. Your comments are welcomed and will be published.

Here is the article from the desk of Vushung/Bitter:
The 22nd International Soca Monarch has concluded and the winners have been crowned. The time is long past for us to ask the question - What is the point of this event?

Modern carnival has always had an element of competition within the various art forms. It was only natural then, that a competition would arise to determine the best amongst the Soca fraternity. On paper, this promised to be the most marketable and exciting show that Trinidad carnival can produce. In reality, it is consistently one of the worst shows of the season.

The same artists who draw crowds of thousands to their other events, regularly fail to impress at the ISM. Where does the breakdown occur?

Let's start with the format. Roughly 20-24 contestants are allotted 8 minutes each to produce the best rendition of their song for the assembled and on-air audience. This should be a formula for truly special performances. Instead, what we get is a series of long, overwrought renditions beginning with irrelevant skits and interrupted by frequent attempts to incite audience participation.

Whatever momentum is gained by a successful performance is then immediately undone by the delay until the next. This dead time is not filled by an effective MC. A solution must be found to this problem.

Pre-recorded music is also a problem. If I wanted to listen to a recording of Super Blue, I would log onto YouTube. Surely the best in Soca can do better than this? Of course, if you’re running around the stage trying to hype the crowd, and get out of breath, then it’s probably going to be hard to sing.

This turn of events has evolved out of the successful presentations of past winner and also the breakdown of the judging criteria. With regard to the former, Artists must recognize their own strengths and their limits. If you can't freestyle like Bunji, or dance like Mr. Killa, don't attempt it. For the latter, artists must be given a clear understanding about what is meant and expected. How exactly does one gain the 10 point awarded for "Groove"? My guess is that shouting isn’t the trick
Here's a suggestion; Sing your song, Put on a nice dance presentation and leave the fireworks, high-wire acts, magic tricks and other gimmicks for the circus.


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Dorrick Nurse said…
Very much on point, my friend. But, i am not really a lover of what passes for "SOCA".I have another comment, but i will talk to you about it.