ST GEORGE’S, Grenada -- A former Grenada culture minister would like to see a future local band touring with soca performers such as Mr Killa and Tallpree.
The two Grenadian artistes, who participated in weekend carnival competitions in Trinidad, are “ambassadors” and “exceptional talents”, said former minister Arley Gill, who now works in Dominica.
Mr Killa, whose real name is Hollice Mapp, was placed in a three-way tie for second with Iwer George and Destra in the International Power Soca Monarch competition.
Machel Montano retained the Power Soca Monarch title, which he jointly won with Super Blue in 2013.
Wilt “Tallpree” Cambridge participated in the Groovy Soca Monarch competition but was not among the top finishers.
However, Gill argues that Tallpree, who sang Jab Jab Nation, was done a “serious injustice” by the judges.
“Tallpree gave an outstanding performance and should have been in the top three. Jab Jab Nation was easily one of the best written songs of the night. The use of language in that song is second to none,” Gill said.
“Tallpree was composed, had effective and appropriate portrayals, and there is no sensible explanation to keep him out of the top finishers; none whatsoever. But that's competition.”
The most heated debate, however, centred on the results of International Soca Monarch (ISM) and the three-way tie involving Mr Killa, Iwer George and Destra.
Many Grenadians and Trinidadians, including some blogging on the ISM Facebook page, claimed that Mr Killa was the clear winner.
Some suggested that the 29-year-old Grenadian may have been marked down by the judges because his performance was said to have overrun the time stipulated for the on-stage presentation of each artiste.
Others intimated that Montano remains the biggest attraction at the Power Soca Monarch and that it’s in the best interest of ISM organizers to ensure he remains the winner.
“Only Machel of the lot can guarantee you, as a promoter in Trinidad, at least 10,000 spectators”, commented one Trinidad-born broadcaster now living in Toronto. “So it will always be that way, as long as Machel delivers a good performance.”
In assessing the Power Soca Monarch competition, Gill said that while Mr Killa was “outstanding” in his presentation of Rolly Polly, he believes the Grenadian performer “should have been much tighter with his execution with his supporting ladies or the Rolly Pollies as he affectionately refers to them. He appeared to be uncertain at times, with what next he should do”.
But, added Gill, “the truth is professional choreography might have given Killa the edge on Machel. I would not say that he defeated Machel, but based on the criteria he would have comfortably defeated both Iwer George and Destra”.
According to Gill, Montano did not have “the strongest composition in a night of weak Power Soca performances from the Trinidadians. So Killa would have run an extremely close second”.
Gill said that in the aftermath of this year’s performances in Trinidad by Tallpree and Mr Killa, efforts now must be made to sustain Grenada’s presence in the soca world.
“We need these two artistes to continue to hold the fort, while we put together a band to accompany them on the local, regional and international stage. And other young artistes should step up their game to join them at the regional and international levels,” Gill said.