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Friday 22 March 2019
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4 kings in Chutney Soca semis

 Southex CEO George Singh, left, shares a joke with Rajkavir Singh, Southex director and defending Chutney Soca Monarchs Nishard “Nishard M” Mayrhoo and Neval Chatelal at the NLCB Corporate Box, Queen’s Park Oval, Woodbrook. PHOTO BY JOAN RAMPERSAD
Southex CEO George Singh, left, shares a joke with Rajkavir Singh, Southex director and defending Chutney Soca Monarchs Nishard “Nishard M” Mayrhoo and Neval Chatelal at the NLCB Corporate Box, Queen’s Park Oval, Woodbrook. PHOTO BY JOAN RAMPERSAD

FOUR past chutney soca monarchs are among the 37 semi-finalists of this year’s competition that will take place at The Rig, Gulf View, on January 26. Showtime is 8 pm and the show is free.

The finalists will vie for the top prize of $300,000.

The semi-finalists for the event, titled CSM24 Fire and Ice, were revealed by director Rajkavir Singh of Southex, promoters of the event, at the launch of the competition today at the NLCB Corporate Box, Queen’s Park Oval, Woodbrook.

The past kings are Samraj "Rikki Jai" Jaimungal, seven-time winner; KI Persad (three); Omadath Maharaj (one); and Kenneth Salick (one).

Also among the semi-finalists are Chef Jason Peru, known as "The Original Bubblin' Star of TT" and the Caribbean's leading television celebrity chef who has travelled the world including Africa, US, Canada, Venezuela, Guyana; and the popular Jerome “Rome” Precilla just off a successful parang soca season, who has teamed up with Veejai Ramkissoon for the song Bite Up.

At the launch, reigning champs Nishard “Nishard M” Mayrhoo's and Neval Chatelal's decision to defend their title only came late last year, Mayrhoo said.

Hesitantly, he indicated that they were not 100 per cent happy with how the chutney genre is going and felt it was their responsibility for taking it to a higher level hence the reason for defending their title.

But George Singh, CEO, Southex begged to differ. He said from the chutney music he’s heard for this year, he is quite excited about it as it is evolving and that push is coming for the young people.

“In 2019, we are seeing the change continue. It is almost like the changing of the guard with the changing face of chutney soca music and it’s happening now in front of our eyes. New stars are emerging. They are young, energetic and they are motivated. Some of them are thoroughbreds in the wild. There is an energy and vibrancy in the music that I have not seen in a long time and I love it. It drives me,” said Singh.

Joel Morris, head of content, programming and promotions of media sponsor Guardian Media Ltd, commended Singh for staying the course and promoting the competition through good and bad times, and wished him well for future promotions. He said: “We are really excited about the creative ideas he has put forward and I am looking forward to the things that are new and I hope that the public would engage with us and enjoy what we have to present.”

Also bringing greetings on behalf of Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Rodelle Phillips-Simmons, corporate communications manager at the ministry, said over the past 24 editions, the competition has served as a launch pad for many of today’s successful artistes. She added: “Each year’s production continues to exceed the grandeur and calibre of its predecessor; therefore the ministry expects that the 2019 competition will be a highly-coveted event during this Carnival season. The value of this art form goes beyond the music industry; it adds meaningful value to the broader discussion on our national identity. The Trinbagonian thumbprint continues to evolve with cultural fusion; we have clearly demonstrated that it is better to merge our differences to create end-results like chutney-soca music, than be divided by them.”

She then noted the passion and strength of Singh over the years to deliver the service he does, as well as the growth of the chutney genre.

Some 100 artistes made submissions to be considered by a screening committee, and from those who made the cut for the semi-final, only nine will be selected to join the reigning champions on the grand final night on February 16, at Skinner Park, San Fernando.

The semi-finalists:

1. Kavita Ramkissoon

2. Russel Mohammed

3. Kenneth Salick

4. Kerron Tyron Williams

5. Kenneth Supersad

6. Surendra Ramoutar

7. Keiron Lal

8. Anil Pitie & Trevor Gore

9. Veejai Ramkissoon & Jerome Precilla

10. Vedesh Sookoo

11. Nisha Ramsook

12. Anil Rock

13. Neeshan Prabhoo

14. Ravi Babooram

15. Krishna Ramdass

16. Nigel Gobin

17. Imran Beharry

18. Ranjeev Ramdeen

19. Amit Sagram

20. Kess Ramroop

21. Nesar Hosein

22. Andy Singh

23. Jesh Ramnanan & Nisha Baksh Lutchmedial

24. Avinash Sookraj

25. Hemlatha Dindial

26. Rizaan Ali

27. Shiva Lakhan

28. Trishma Maharaj

29. Jason Peru

30. Amit Sooknanan & Amit Dookram

31. Nirmal Adesh Samaroo

32. Lalchan Babwah

33. KI Persad

34. Veekash Sahadeo

35. Samraj Jaimungal

36. Omadath Maharaj

37. Ricardo Melville

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