by Ron Redhead
Congratulations to the 5 Grenadian Artists advancing to the finals of the International Soca Monarch Competition 2019, scheduled for 1 March.
Grenadians can certainly feel proud of the performances of these young talented musicians as they competed among some of the region’s best in the art form and dominated the rivalry thus far.
Competitions such as Trinidad and Tobago’s International Soca Monarch must in my view be exalted for the opportunity it is providing, not just to its local artists but to the entire regional circle of Soca and Groovy musicians, who in recent years have tremendously improved the quality of songs being produced. Additionally, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Soca Monarch Competition should also be classified as another avenue where every regional artist can compete together, gain much-needed experience and develop their necessary skills in the art form. In fact, were we to compare the rise of Calypso in the region back then to this genre of music now, it’s not that different. The high creativity in calypso came about as a result of indirectly and unconsciously integrating different artists, from separate islands and making them compete with each other.
The only difference today, unlike with calypso which promoted periods of territorial wars for titles between islands at that time, is that both Soca and Groovy music seems to focus on the collaborative efforts between the artists or country and not on who or which country wins a crown. These efforts such as the exchanges of songs written by one artist and performed by another to the many popular features and remixes between entertainers from different islands should surely be regarded as the cornerstone of regional integration that we’ve now accepted and come to enjoy. As Caribbean people, we should continue to support, promote and compete at a regional level because it has the potential to foster a critical part of our regional strength which is our unity between our people. The need for further integration of our islands’ carnival cultures is important and we should market it as a regional tourism product.