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Machel exhausted from jump and wave; save him Bunji

Trinidad and Tobago soca icon and now six-time Road March winner, Machel Montano, revealed yesterday that it was getting increasingly harder to write a “power soca” hit song.

“Power soca is not that easy to construct,” Montano told the Trinidad Express, “there are only so many ways to say ‘jump and wave’.”

Photo: Soca star Machel Montano inadvertently admitted that  soca is in super trouble. (Courtesy Etceterabuzz)
Photo: Soca star Machel Montano inadvertently admitted that soca is in super trouble.
(Courtesy Etceterabuzz)

There, in a nutshell, is the mark that the International Soca Monarch has made on the artform since its launch in 1993.

This year, Montano defended his Soca Monarch title with “Ministry of Road”, which follows winning renditions with “Advantage”, “Pump Yuh Flag” and “Float” respectively. Not one is even one hundredth as memorable as “Big Truck”—the tune he delivered in 1997 when he declared that he was finished with William Munro’s State-funded competition.

Mr Live Wire cannot confirm that Ras Shorty I is turning his grave at the evolution in soca.

Meanwhile, Bunji Garlin, who walked out on the International Soca Monarch in 2012, produced “Differentology” in 2013—which won him a BET Soul Train Music Award for best international performance—and followed it up with the brilliant trio of “Truck on D Road”, “Carnival Tabanca” and “Red Light District”.

None of Bunji’s tunes managed even 39 plays on the road and, like Differentology, went through Carnival unrewarded by the relevant judges.

Photo: The real Minister of the Road on BBC 1Xtra Bunji Garlin's international fortunes have soared since he turned his back on the International Soca Monarch, two years ago.
Photo: The real Minister of the Road on BBC 1Xtra
Bunji Garlin’s international fortunes have soared since he turned his back on the International Soca Monarch, two years ago.

With Montano nearing burnout from years of jumping and waving, maybe the Ministry of Culture should outsource our soca competitions before the artform finally jumps off the stage and into irrelevance. Even BET seems like a better judge these days.

Put Machel on your bad, stink truck, Bunji!

 

Editor’s Note: Click here to read why Bunji Garlin quit the International Soca Monarch scene. Or scroll down to share your thoughts on the evolution of soca music in the post-ISM era.

About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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6 comments

  1. You should have just titled the article “I don’t like Machel. Here are no reasons why.”

  2. Lasana Liburd

    I say take Chalkie’s advice: Stay ‘way from the ISMs and schISMs…

  3. While it is true that the ISM and fetes in general have exacerbated the whole “waving thing”, let’s not forget who started it all…never mind he could not get a single hand up in the air (except maybe mine) on Fantastic Friday this year. Talk about being blue…but I say he got away, no need to defend next year…but maybe that’s for another article/comment!
    The whole waving problem is in artists who think they can incite waving by simply putting it in the song…or repeating it ad nauseum during a performance. What incites the wave is not about the word, it’s about the feeling a song gives, which explains why you can have waving at Calypso Fiesta even when there are no waving songs. People wave to show appreciation… of course there are some fans who will just wave for their favorite artist but the rest of the crowd needs a bit more motivation than the words “wave it” and that motivation usually comes with the well-constructed and skillfully combined melody.
    MOR was one example of that kind of song…and there was no “wave it” in fact, Machel (or Kernel Roberts) chose to copy (probably a poor choice of words here) Fay Ann’s hook “drop on the ground” which she used in Miss Behave which added value to the song…especially the way it was delivered, with the high energy that masqueraders seem to crave in a Road March song, or maybe it’s the DJs who crave it….(also probably better dealt with in another comment/article.)
    Anyway, the question I want answered is who first used the phrase, and (based on accrued revenue by the users of course) should the users not be paying for its use….? Maybe if COTT can get off the issue of Carnival photography for a second, they may deign to give us an answer.

  4. “Power soca is not that easy to construct,” … really Machel??? Sure fooled me then.