Posted on 19/11/2015
New Rules! International Soca Monarch
With Carnival Season just a few months away, Trinidad & Tobago is gearing up for their 24th annual International Soca Monarch (IMS) competition. Each year, the world’s best and brightest soca artists touch down on Port-of-Spain to compete for the titles of Groovy Soca Monarch and Power Soca Monarch.
Earlier this year, the ISM Board of Executives released a statement announcing a ground-breaking change in the competition rules. Whereas the reigning Soca Monarch was once obligated to return each year to defend their title, this year they were able to opt out of the competition. Added to that, there have been even more changes announced for the well anticipated competition, which include eliminating the Groovy and Power categories and delaying broadcast until the night after.
Whilst there have been positive reactions from some soca artistes to the announced changes to next year’s International Soca Monarch competition, others feel that the recent announcements ‘create a problem with judging, as Groovy Soca’s criteria has an innate emphasis on its musical components whereas Power Soca’s criteria places a direct emphasis on performance – and obviously both require different presentation strategies’.
Roberts, who has long lamented the death of power soca said: “We already witness power diminishing, we done realise we getting the better quality from the groovy. “
He also agreed with the decision film the show and package it for a delayed broadcast.
“I find it’s a good decision to get better attendance and people might just stay home and watch it. They does pay for everything else so they could pay to see soca monarch.”
Sekon Sta, the ISM Breakout Star of 2015, also applauded the return to one category.
“I applaud that, the segregation of soca is one of the downfalls of music, there is no way to differentiate the feel of a song by the bpms; it is how it is played rather than the speed. Artistes were forcing music for specific categories rather than being creative and making music for the people,” he said.
In keeping with its new strategic direction which aims to ensure the sustainability of the International Soca Monarch franchise, would these changes continue to indorse the growth of the Soca music industry, or will it have an undesired effect – creating problems in maintaining participant and patron interests?