A little bit of old and a little bit of new as newly- appointed chairman of the International Soca Monarch, Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez confirmed that the Power Soca and Groovy Soca categories have made their way back into the competition branded “Fantastic Friday.”
Speaking to reporters at a press conference held at the Hyatt Regency yesterday, Lyons-Alvarez said, “Anybody who is a Soca Monarch fan knows that Power Soca is Soca Monarch. That’s the basis of Soca Monarch.”
She added: “When you have your monarch not being able to create the same kind of frenzy that the other monarchs are creating in the other countries because of the tempo, because of the BPM (beats per minute) of their particular track; it does not reflect well because we’ve become a society where hands in the air is used as measuring stick to see how much people responding to you.”
The Power category, she explained, was the essence of the genre, which needed to be brought back. “That is what the flag roots, that is the energy, that is what people love.”
Lyons-Alvares said that while big names and seasoned performers are welcomed at the competition, there needed to be a larger focus on the younger faces who would become the future of the competition and the genre.
“We can’t keep telling the stories of when Super Blue used to walk through the crowd or Bunji Garlin lit himself on fire or this young lady named Fay Ann Lyons performed pregnant. We need to keep the product alive so they can experience for themselves how it feels to have 40, 50 thousand screaming West Indian Soca loving fans in one place just enjoying our culture and our artistes,” she said.
As an artiste, Lyons-Alvares said, the one thing the competition lacked was adequate marketing, a problem which she intends to fix by using more modern channels such as through social media.
She was, however, unable to give an idea as to what value this year’s prizes would be as she said it depended on the funding they would receive.
Currently, they are appealing to corporate entities and Government for sponsorship as Lyons-Alvarez said she was willing to have discussions with any ministry that is interested.
Founding father of the competition, William Munro said government funding for the competition was improperly perceived as a “handout.”
However, he said it was an investment into the product that is Carnival.
Keeping the name “Fantastic Friday”, the competition will begin registration at 8 am on January 21 and will end on January 25.
The semi finals will be held at the Arima Velodrome on February 10 at 3 pm and the finals on March 1 at the Queen’s Park Savaanah.
- by Rishard Khan. Photo by Anisto Alves.