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Dear Editor: Will separating Groovy and Power revive International Soca Monarch?

Ian ‘Socapro’ Henry: “As soon as the current ISM organisers made the mistake of removing the separate Groovy Soca and Power Soca categories in 2016, the show has rapidly and steadily gone downhill in terms of excitement and audience attendance. This is no coincidence…”

Martin Raymond: “Sorry, I totally disagree with this opinion. Good songwriting is good songwriting. This is the same argument that was used to separate Soca from Calypso, to the detriment of both…”

In the following Letter to the Editor, contributors Ian ‘Socapro’ Henry and Martin Raymond debate the benefits of a change in format for the International Soca Monarch (ISM):

Photo: Soca star Destra Garcia.

Ian ‘Socapro’ Henry opens:

For every year since 2016, I have been saying that if they want to bring back the International Soca Monarch (ISM) show to the glory of its heyday, then they urgently need to revert to separate categories for the Groovy Soca and Power Soca competition.

You cannot fairly judge both Groovy and Power Soca songs in the same category as Groovy Soca songs rely more on singing ability, lyrics and melody to captivate the audience and judges while Power Soca songs relies on hype, presentation and crowd response and participation.

As soon as the current ISM organisers made the mistake of removing the separate Groovy Soca and Power Soca categories in 2016, the show has rapidly and steadily gone downhill in terms of excitement and audience attendance. This is no coincidence.

I hope the ISM organisers let common sense prevail this year and admit their error and rectify it. We cannot return to the 1990’s when the competition had one general category for all entrants because the music has since evolved.

The Power Soca of today is generally much faster in tempo than the Power Soca of the 1990’s and there is also much more music being produced by our artists today in both the Groovy Soca and Power Soca styles than there ever was back in the 1990’s.

Photo: Soca star Machel Montano (centre) performs during 2018 CPL Eliminator action between TKR and SKNP at the Brian Lara Academy in Tarouba on 14 September 2018.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Once the ISM competition regains its attendances and excitement, in a couple years from now, then it can move to create separate shows for Groovy Soca and Power Soca competitions—as already happens in some of the other Caribbean islands.

This should help market the ISM show to international viewers who are interested in viewing it via Pay-Per-View live streaming but are concerned about the length.

For now, again until the ISM recaptures the large crowds and excitement of its heyday, I think the live streaming of the show should be free for marketing purposes.

Finally, I think the ISM’s organisers need to do more with their official website and social media platforms to promote and follow the careers of its three winners and breakout artists during the year, once the ISM competition is over.

Currently, they only seem to have activity and updates during the Carnival season. In my view—after receiving government funding—they need to be doing much more to promote their event, which should help them to attract more potential sponsors when Carnival comes round.

Photo: Three-time Soca Monarch champion, Aaron “Voice” St Louis.

More sponsors could mean more and bigger prizes, which should help attract the bigger name soca artists who are yet to win the competition.

Caribbean Airlines (CAL) is a good potential sponsor and could offer free or discounted flights to the three ISM winners who, in return, could be asked to mention CAL as the best airline to travel on during their live performances.

Martin Raymond responds:

“You cannot fairly judge both Groovy and Power Soca songs in the same category as Groovy Soca songs rely more on singing ability, lyrics and melody to captivate the audience and judges while Power Soca songs relies on hype, presentation and crowd response and participation.”

Sorry, I totally disagree with this opinion. Good songwriting is good songwriting. This is the same argument that was used to separate Soca from Calypso, to the detriment of both.

Some of the best winning ‘power soca’ songs of the past few years have been excellent compositions and did not only rely on ‘hype’ for the win. From “Stranger” to “Ministry of Road” and “Like A Boss” and so on, in my opinion, all Calypso—and yes, I’m including Soca and Chutney Soca—should be in one competition and judged on 1. Composition (lyrics, melody, arrangement) 2. Rendition (diction, phrasing, delivery) and 3. Performance (presentation).

Photo: Soca star Kees Dieffenthaller performs in the music video for his hit tune “Hello”.

If you want to include Crowd Response, fine. If that was included back in the day Shadow would’ve won in ‘74 and especially ‘77.

The Power and Groovy was an artificial distinction and ‘Power’—a term I dislike with a passion—started declining since 2011 when Kes clearly had the better and bigger song on “Wotless”, yet received one million dollars less because his song was a few bpm slower than the winning ‘Power’.

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119 comments

  1. Does anyone know the payout for the previous backup band and what is the payout of this year’s back up band?

    • Rose-Marie Lemessy-Forde I read her official statement.
      But I heard part of an interview/question in this issue that ended with her saying to the effect as I can’t recall the exact words ‘call meh when the next bacchanal break’. I don’t think ppl are looking for bacchanal but have legitimate concerns.

    • Thanks Rose-Marie. Ian Socapro Henry I read this comment: “In a phone interview with Newsday, she asked how it was nepotism.

      “Soca Monarch has always prided itself on whoever is the band that is backing to be very fair and professional. So if they are calling my band into question, then they are calling me into question because what they are saying is the band, under my management and control, would not be fair to any one of the participants in the competition. (That) would be very concerning to me if that were the case.”
      If that’s the level of maturity and understanding that Fay-Ann has, then she is an accident waiting to happen in the public sector. I guarantee you that.

    • Lasana Liburd ent! Because that’s not “What they’re saying” and that’s not what nepotism means. Chuts! Why not the All Stars or Kes band or even Machel band. These are all professional bands eh. Well by her definition of professional 😏

    • Rose-Marie either she is pretending to be dumb, which is an insult to everyone, or she doesn’t have what it takes for a job in the public sector.
      Wrong and strong. I’m saddened by that.
      What she needs to be saying is the criteria used to select the Asylum and how fair it is to other bands starting with whichever band did the ISM last year.
      Once she isn’t addressing that then she is skirting.

    • Lasana Liburd unfortunately she start bad.. As they say. Both Mel and I had misgivings about her at the helm. My main reason is becasue she is not known as a conciliatory person. And let’s face it…you have to have a winning personality and great negotiation skills to attract a stellar cast. So far I see nothing to convince me that this year ISM heading upwards.

    • Rose-Marie Lemessy-Forde I swear, it is in our genes to turn gold into dust!

    • Rose-Marie Lasana…so Aunty Fay-Anne eh doing nothing to stop him?

    • Mel 🤔 I wonder if it’s the reduced prize money? Either way it’s a loss as I love Voice. But I guess the effort involved in competing might not be worth it if the prize isn’t attractive enough. And power taking precedence anyways…

    • Rose-Marie Lemessy-Forde Prize money this year is actually more than last year so I don’t think it has anything to do with prize money.

    • Ian Socapro Henry wasn’t it 1 million last year for overall winner? 🤔 And this year groovy is 500k?

    • Rose-Marie Lemessy-Forde Nope last year the winner got $300,000 according to what Fay-Ann said in this announcement attached. This year the intention of ISM is to give the Groovy Soca Monarch winner $500,000 and the Power Soca Monarch winner $1 million.

    • So what is her plan to stop the hemorrhaging?

    • Mel Lissa See video at link below to hear Fay-Ann’s plans of how she hopes to revitalize the ISM to its previous glory days “2019 INTERNATIONAL SOCA MONARCH NEWS CONFERENCE” featuring ISM Founder William Monroe and Fay Ann Lyons- Alvarez: https://www.facebook.com/CNC3Television/videos/464025787460893

    • IanI heard this already but today Voice pulled out so my question is when is she going to put her plan into action? Lets’s see who will actually participate – that will decide whether the show will be a hit or another bust

    • Mel Lissa I don’t think you took time to read the article above entitled “VOICE GONE, NO MORE COMPETITIONS FOR THE SOCA MONARCH” in which Voice explained that after he won his first title his team’s goal was for him to win 3 titles in a row and now that he has achieved that he wants to concentrate on taking soca global rather than on competing from hereon. His decision has nothing to do with Fay-Ann efforts to revitalize the ISM show to its former glory days. Also it should be noted that during Soca Monarch’s glory days between the mid 1990’s and 2010 Machel Montano did not compete and yet the ISM was getting bigger and bigger until it peaked in 2013 when Superblue won it with his hit “Fantastic Friday”. Here is the article giving Voice’s reason for giving up all competitions including Calypso Monarch. http://www.looptt.com/content/voice-gone-no-more-competitions-soca-monarch?fbclid=IwAR3W7y_hLLQchiE2RPSlBaKEkoK-xpYVrhhiAolGlNTl6Bu_wOs2-4UeR1E

    • Ian yes I did read the entire thing. I’m not concerned with what Voice does – My question is what is FayAnne doing to keep the stars in the show? Did she meet with Voice? Does she even think she should meet with him and all the others who left? How exactly does she plan to make ISM into what it used to be? I’m sorry but imo ISM will be as big a failure as it has been for the last 3 years unless the stars return

    • Mel Lissa you can’t make a good omelette without good eggs. You’re absolutely right in my opinion.

    • Mel Lissa All the so-called stars don’t have to return to ISM for it to be a success. What is required is for MOST of those who have the biggest hits for THIS Carnival season to compete and for those who have big hits but no longer wish to compete (for whatever personal reasons) to be contracted as special guests to perform before the Groovy Soca Finals competition starts then during the intermission and then after the Power Soca Finals ends.
      During ISM heydays between mid-1990’s and 2010 when MM did not compete Munroe usually ensured that MM was a guest at the ISM Finals. The same clever marketing of ISM that worked for Munore will also work for Fay-Ann especially if she seeks out Munroe’s expert advice in regards to attracting most of the stars who have hits for this 2019 Carnival season.

    • Ian I’ve been to every single Soca Monarch barring the last 3 years – even the one at the Mecca – the first one. 2019 will be another buss show just wait and see. Start by reading the comments on social media. I just read about 200 on various News Boards…nobody seems to know the artists and nobody wants to go. In the last 3 years lots have changed

    • People who want to hear MM, Kes and the other happening artists don’t have to pay to go ISM and listen to unknown artists when they could go to Revel Nation and other (affordable) fetes on the same night. Did you see the size of Revel Nation since MM left? Seems like the entire stadium goes to that party so why would they (the people) revert to ISM to hear MM and the others as a guest?

    • Mel Lissa Did you read my last post?

    • Mel Lissa Well if you are still being negative then you are just not one of the folks who wish to support Fay-Ann as ISM chair which you are entitled to do. However no one is perfect and I am glad that Fay-Ann stepped forward for this daunting job. I think if Fay-Ann does what I suggested that this year’s ISM will be way better than last year’s and if they do the required marketing and promotion of ISM during the rest of 2019 in the build-up to the 2020 edition then it should be an upward curve for ISM from hereon.

    • Ian Socapro Henry I’ve looked at the cast. You’re the eternal optimist yes. I’d be surprised if they have the cast to do any better than last year when Voice was still a big draw.
      Only Blaxx and Iwer left.

    • He’s more than optimistic yes Lasana. Ian I’m not on Fay Anne at all – I don’t care who the chair is but the show is going to buss again this year. People go to ISM to party, hear good soca and see the stars. You seem to forget that when MM did not compete and came as a guest in the 90’s, all the other big stars were there. What exactly will people go there for now?

    • Mel Lissa There are very few people who you can converse with who are more clued up on the history of ISM than myself. I already suggested above what Fay-Ann needs to do to make ISM 2019 a success and better than last year. Last year’s ISM fyi was the worse attended ISM in its long history. All the best to Fay-Ann and her team. If she does what I’ve suggested then this year’s ISM show will be way better attended and will also be a livelier show Carnival spirit wise than last year’s.

    • Lasana Liburd Btw Iwer did not participate in ISM last year. Iwer has a big following. Most of his The Street 919FM staff and listeners will be there at the ISM Finals supporting him provided he makes it into the Finals plus plenty of his South and Point Fortin peeps. The Grenadaians living in T&T are also going to come out strong to support Lil Natty & Thunda who are their current Grenada Soca Monarch and Road March champs. In fact I won’t be surprised if some of Lil Natty & Thunda’s supporters from Grenada fly over for the ISM Finals to support him plus Mr. Killa plus another Greenz artist called Lil V’ghn who has one of the hottest Groovy Soca hits in T&T for 2019 called “Trouble In The Morning”. Take a listen to Lil V’ghn’s hit song below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVt5wXHu5RE

  2. I agree Gerard. I think ISM got carried away, forgetting that as an entity, their success was/is dependent on big Soca stars who can draw the crowds. At some point they got the misconception that the Soca artistes needed the competition. The big names have proven that is not the case.

    • Kirk A Inniss not only that. With machel Monday, kes Tuesday, bunji Wednesday etc. People have seriously better choices. And they still get to see the big soca stars at these events. Also the format of the soca monarch with its long drawn out session is a real turnoff. Fay Ann and them have real work to do to come up with an appealing product. It’s a long way from the heady days of super blue, Ronnie mackintosh etc. Unless you have the biggest names in soca on your stage, any competition will look like a Digicel Rising Stars. Maybe they should even rethink the “competition” aspect 🤔. The ISM brand needs major surgery. Call in an expert. I’m not sure they have that in a new chairman. Well intentioned though she may be.

    • If only calypso got to a level where they didn’t need a competition either. How many calypsonians were able to walk away and thrive?
      Possibly only David Rudder and you can argue he was a performer before he became a calypsonian anyway and just returned to his own calling.
      This probably shows that Soca music progressed whereas other areas of our local carnival culture didn’t.
      Capitalism meets carnival.

  3. FAY-ANN LYONS-ALVAREZ READY TO SAVE ISM COMPETITION
    TTT Live Online, Published on 15 Jan 2019

    This is the beginning of the rest of the life of the International Soca Monarch.

    The promise from Fay Ann Lyons- Alvarez, who was recently appointed Chairperson of the International Soca Monarch.

    Speaking at a Press Conference on Tuesday, she said it’s a daunting task but she can’t sit by and see the competition, which contributed to the development of her career, disappear.

    Dionne Baptiste has more in this report.



  4. the reimagining has to be deep and wide

  5. i disagree. no 2 million no machel no bunji and draw. ISM success was based on it being the biggest show in carnival. if the biggest show in carnical can no longer command the biggest stars and when the production value is in the toilet ppl would stop going to ISM and start going to where the stars or the vibes is. achel Kes Bunji Fay ann and every other marquee star is out of the show…why go?

    The only way the ISM could see a resurgence in terms of drawing a 35000 ppl again is if all the stars return

  6. FAY-ANN LYONS-ALVAREZ NEW CHAIR OF INTERNATIONAL SOCA MONARCH
    TTT Live Online, Published on 14 Jan 2019

    Fay Ann Lyons- Alvarez has replaced Peter Scoon as Head of the team charged with planning and executing the International Soca Monarch.

    This was confirmed by Chair of the National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago- NCC, Winston Gypsy Peters.

    In an interview with TTT News, he said the competition has been on a downward spiral and at the risk of fading into oblivion.

    Mr. Peters said to stop that from happening, the decision was taken to pay closer attention to and invest more in the competition.

    Responding to questions of nepotism and a possible conflict of interest, Mr. Peters said the NCC had absolutely nothing to do with the decision to appoint Mrs. Lyons-Alvarez as head of the ISM team.

    Mr. Peters also revealed plans to return the ISM Semis to the Arima Velodrome.



  7. WIRED – SOCA MONARCH BEST PERFORMANCES
    C News Live, Published on 22 Jan 2018

    Wired looks at the Top Soca Monarch performances over the years.
    Click link below to view video news report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCJsz2l65KU

  8. Glad to see that my campaigns to bring back separate Groovy & Power Soca categories have had a positive result! 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/SocaPhD/posts/10156560266845931

  9. I respect your view as a musician and engineer but you can’t seriously argue that there is little difference between what is viewed as Power Soca today (145 BPM and above) and Groovy Soca (135 BPM and less). The soca music that was viewed as Power Soca back in the 1990’s was generally in the 135 to 145 BPM range, I have the music on vinyl and CD as a DJ so I know what I am pointing out about the BMP’s is accurate.

    The Power Soca music of the 1990’s will generally be viewed today as mid-tempo soca tracks and many of the 1990’s Superblue Power Soca hits like “Get Something & Wave”, “Jab Jab”, “Bacchanal Time”, “Flag Party”, etc I can mix without speed adjustments with many of the faster Groovy Soca tracks of today like “Big People Party”, etc..
    And for your information MM’s “Like A Boss” is actually a 135 BPM track which is technically a Groovy Soca BPM wise which is why he dubbed it a “Power Groovy” back then in 2015 and sped it up during most of his live performances (when compared with the speed of the studio recording).

    So I disagree with you that Power and Groovy was an artificial distinction. Only folks who are totally unaware or unappreciative of how fast Power Soca music of today generally is (150 BPM and above) will try to forward the argument that there is little difference between Power and Groovy. In fact even rhythmically a lot of Power Soca uses different beat patterns to the typical Groovy Soca tracks with Jab Jab style rhythms regularly been used in Power Soca and not in Groovy Soca.
    In my view one of the main factors for the demise of the T&T ISM is because the promoters are trying to rewind the clock back to the 1990’s and not accepting or realizing that soca has evolved since the 1990’s and the Power Soca music of today is generally much faster than the Power Soca of the 1990’s. So trying to judge real Power Soca and Groovy Soca in the same competition is a disservice to both styles of music in my eyes and also to the feters. Within the context of the ISM competition the crowd doesn’t need to clearly hear every word from the soca artist who is performing a Power Soca song on stage once the song is popular enough and the singer can perform the song in a manner to captivate the crowd and get them involved in reacting to their various instructions, etc.

    Superblue has demonstrated on a number of occasions that he can still win an ISM competition even when we could not clearly hear everything he was singing in the verses etc because of the popularity of his song and the massive crowd reaction. Can you remember when Superblue won the ISM with “Bounce” back in 1996 that the crowd invaded the stage during his performance and you could not see Superblue for almost half his performance and yet he still won the competition? .
    See this link here as a reminder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sku4DvsfYC8

  10. Martin Raymond responds:
    “You cannot fairly judge both Groovy and Power Soca songs in the same category as Groovy Soca songs rely more on singing ability, lyrics and melody to captivate the audience and judges while Power Soca songs relies on hype, presentation and crowd response and participation.”
    Sorry, I totally disagree with this opinion. Good songwriting is good songwriting. This is the same argument that was used to separate Soca from Calypso, to the detriment of both.
    Some of the best winning ‘power soca’ songs of the past few years have been excellent compositions and did not only rely on ‘hype’ for the win. From “Stranger” to “Ministry of Road” and “Like A Boss” and so on, in my opinion, all Calypso—and yes, I’m including Soca and Chutney Soca—should be in one competition and judged on 1. Composition (lyrics, melody, arrangement) 2. Rendition (diction, phrasing, delivery) and 3. Performance (presentation).
    If you want to include Crowd Response, fine. If that was included back in the day Shadow would’ve won in ‘74 and especially ‘77.
    The Power and Groovy was an artificial distinction and ‘Power’—a term I dislike with a passion—started declining since 2011 when Kes clearly had the better and bigger song on “Wotless”, yet received one million dollars less because his song was a few bpm slower than the winning ‘Power’.

    • The distinction between Power and Groovy helped the Groovy songs get attention from the judges as far as I could tell, otherwise they were ignored for the hyped up power songs…or maybe I’m remembering it wrong…

  11. We need to get rid of Voice an nailah annoyin voice blackman and things will get better

  12. Earl Best

    Michelangelo was an artist whereas Machel Montano is an artistE. Just saying.

  13. The issues with international Soca Monarch go deeper than song categories. I would love to help them with it. But most likely, I won’t be listened to anyway.

    But I believe in the evidential truth that innovation will come, hell or high water and something better will render ISM obsolete because they fail to innovate. Cultural obsolescence is inevitable. Bouyon Riddem from Dominica and the Dennery Segment from Saint Lucia coming hard as are Grenada’s V’ghn and Skinny Fabulous (whom I filmed a Hairoun Beer commercial with back when) are coming with some HARD ORGINAL riddems. They not waiting for our International Soca Monarch to finally acknowledge talent from the other Caribbean islands. Go look at international comments on Mr. Killa’s “Oil It” video on Youtube.

    Meanwhile, our Trinbagonia soca artists sharing riddems like crazy. I already made my comment about 5 different songs to the same Toco Loco riddem and EVERY SINGLE ONE is on the same subject matter, flexing and seduction. Is bad enough they sharing riddems, at least attempt to make the lyrics and subject matter as varied as Farmer Nappy and Nadia Batson’s use of the same Purple Riddem.

    SO MUCH to explore lyrically about love, relationships, society, issues, people, comedy and spirituality etc. etc. Time to evolve beyond the ole same ole “wine”-“smile”, “bubble”- “trouble” formulaic writing. However, we do not value writers as much as we should or used to.

    People will never get tired of our riddem and melody. We are maestros! We are GENIOUS at that! We HAVE IT! It is the LYRICAL CONTENT and presentation that will quickly become a trope and get stale. Calypso Rose has great song-writing and her songs show our range as Trinbagonians and our rich tapestry of human experience. She is singing at Coachella. She STANDS OUT, because she is older yes, and has swag like crazy and shows reinvention.

    Surely, soca can have some beautiful wierdos too, like Shadow was, like De Fosto was? Where de CHARACTERS? Where our soca-version of a scary, unapologetically Orisha priestess, like a soca version of witchy Stevie Nicks? Where our soca-version of a zany character? Where our soca-version of a Rage Against The Machine? Thank goodness for Nailah Blackman and Voice adding some variety.I still dig Bunji’s work and Kes, when he comes original, is brilliant.

    Other than them, almost every male artist want to be the SAME saga-boy, bad boy character on stage singing about bam bam and every female artist (even if they don’t have to because they have so much more power than just sexiness or sexiness not as natural to them or is a different kind of sexiness), want to be the same sexy bacchanal woman on stage. And sing about the SAME thing. Great for a party yes! Great for a fete. Bad for international concert entertainment that translates to other media and will get uptake outside our Caribbean market and Diaspora (which is, shrinking).

    Could we make an ISM that is a televised spectacle to rival the Grammys or at least Eurovision and have international sponsors? We COULD do it, visually as we have the set design, costume and lighting talent to put on a real show. We can fly down all our Trini-born and Soca loving celebrities to present the performances. But it also means a non-Trini will have to win some of the times. It will also mean a level of transparency and professionalism that well…are we capable of that?

    Are we?

    • If ISM dies in T&T then that will be an international embarrassment for the country as the so-called mecca of Soca because the other Caribbean territories which have adopted Soca Monarch are getting great tourist attraction returns from their Soca Monarch shows with full stadiums and profits for the promoters and country.

    • Jessica you are a veritable Renaissance Woman, and one of my favorite Wired contributors.

    • Jessica Joseph Head of the class. Super has Rag Song this year and he is GIVING some historical context to Carnival.

    • Evolve or die. That is the way of life. This is the social media video age. If the performances on that ISM stage cannot compete with the spectacles you see in videos of other musical events and our range of performances aren’t as varied as say V or Glastonbury or Coachella, then where are we going with this?

      Teddyson John does not need ISM. He can release a music video of some really positive groovy soca and stir the WHOLE WORLD including French speaking countries and a wider international audience. By the end of this year, this video will be 2- 3 million views. How many will be watching ISM on television?



    • Nigel S. Scott Thank you Sir. My pleasure.

    • Visel George There will only ever be ONE Super Blue, so this does not apply to him. Of course he will MASH UP ISM. But only for those there, in the crowd, lucky to see him and feel the energy in person.

    • Jessica Joseph I know. And that’s a sad reality.

    • Nigel S. Scott yuh David Bowie pic make me sad😔

    • Jessica Joseph, Ian Socapro Henry, what I don’t understand, we have a rich culture and history of theatre, why don’t artistes use these resources to help them with the actual performance?
      If you are looking at revenue from television audience, ppl would only tune in if it is worthwhile.
      No matter how good the live show may be, the energy must be channeled through to the viewing audience.
      Why can’t significant prize money also be awarded for best nation-building/song promoting patriotism?
      For international audiences, if Nikki Minaj did a song with MM, why not invite her to perform live?
      Rose is a legacy, winning awards internationally, why not invite her also?
      Another failing is in the build up to the show.
      Where is the team responsible for building up the hype, what do we have to look forward to? Social media, use twitter to build hype.
      These are all to be considered when planning, which as I said should start from Ash Wednesday.
      As @jessica Joseph said, it can’t be business as usual.
      What also seems apparent is we don’t take time to do a post mortem after, to see what went wrong to improve thereafter.

    • Rose-Marie, I know… he was such a talented (and conscious!) artist. Hard to believe it’s been three years already.

    • Nerisha Mohammed No need to do a post-mortem if people are getting the money they wanted out of it and that is good enough, as far as they are concerned. Maybe as the cultural obsolescence dries it up, then they might hasten to improve it for real.

      Why we don’t use our artistic talent, “Ti Boutique” syndrome, a.k.a cheapness. We don’t want to pay $$$$$$$$$ for art, for creative direction etc. Big egos, prima donna behavior, etc. etc.

    • Nerisha Mohammed Most of what you outlined as being required to promote the ISM properly was happening while William Monroe was in charge but ever since the new promoters took ISM over they have faltered badly on promoting the show properly. ISM used to ram the National stadium up until 2013 and 2014 editions because most of the promotional stuff and build-up you are talking about William Monroe and his team were doing.

  14. Question to ask ourselves. Why is Soca Monarch flourishing in the other Caribbean territories where they generally don’t have the budget that T&T has to stage such a show? Could it be that the new ISM organizers that took over from William Monroe are not doing what the previous ISM organizers were doing to make the show successful and attractive to all the biggest Soca artists?

    • Look how many (good) artists dropped out of the competition over the years. So who exactly are we going there to hear?

    • Mel Lissa So it is not a matter of the ISM product not being good any more but rather how the current organizers have been promoting and running the show and have foolishly restructured it to make it into a Groovy Soca show with even less excitement than ever before to do with the true spirit of Carnival.

    • I didn’t like the restructure at all but even more than that I don’t like that the most of the consistent artists left. Not just MM but others like Kes, Destra, Bunji etc

    • Ian well budget is a big part of it. Because let’s face it. If it was worthwhile financially for people like Bungi Kees and Machel to go through the expense of competing, when they could make more money playing 2 or 3 gigs that same night, then you would see big artistes in the competition. But it’s simply not worth the effort for established artistes.

    • Mel Lissa I think if the show is properly promoted and run and they attract good sponsors that the big name artists who are yet to win an ISM title will enter. MM and the other past winners who no longer wish to compete can also be invited to perform as special guests.

    • The thing is that you can see your favourite artist at a few fetes on the same night for the same price. I was shocked to see the turnout for Revel in 2017 & 2018 but it’s a cheap fete with the big name artists

    • Rose-Marie Lemessy-Forde Its not only about prize monies but also about the structure of the competition as well as how well the show is promoted and staged. If the promoters do a better job promoting the show during the rest of the year then more sponsors will come on board and they can contribute to making the prizes more attractive to the big names to enter ISM.

    • Give it back to Munro 🙂 He seem to have the answers

    • Mel Lissa Destra left the ISM because she realized that she is not a competition person. 2015 the year Destra sang “Lucy” her song was the biggest Groovy Soca that year but some how Destra managed not to sing her song properly and talked thru most of the song hence why she did not win. Destra’s lost was Olatunji’s gain.

  15. There’s plenty wrong with ISM. I’m not sure what it would take to get people interested in attending. I realize the thing was dead when I couldn’t even give away the free tickets I got from bmobile . But Ian has a point. It’s better and fairer to have 2 separate categories to judge. But something has to be done to the length of the show. That whole ISM brand needs some expert marketers to renew interest in the product. I rather spend my money (time etc) on Machel Monday which is a much better live production

    • Rose-Marie Lemessy-Forde so why can’t we hand it over to the MM team to see what they do with it?
      Let me tell you, for one of the years, can’t recall which right noe, could be for his 25th anniversary, I got the CDs as gifts for ppl. Yes. It was that good!

    • Nerisha girl they probably can’t afford the team😅. But yes MM stage look like it could be in any big arena in the US. The production.. Lighting, sound etc is really good

    • Rose-Marie Lemessy-Forde on a side note, I was fortunate to finally attend Brian McFarlane’s Christmas show finally. Can anyone tell me we do not have ability to do pull off world class shows with top performances?
      Why do we consistently allow our culture to be dragged down?

    • Nerisha Mohammed how was it? My daughter was in John Thomas “Believe” and I couldn’t afford both😏

    • Rose-Marie Lemessy-Forde omg, it was truly amazing!
      Had a German conductor, amazing costumes, lighting. Honestly, I am glad I was finally able to go!

  16. It has gone downhill because Machel no longer performs