T&T | Soca star Machel Montano wins Calypso Monarch Crown

T&T | Soca star Machel Montano wins Calypso Monarch Crown

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago February 12, 2024 - In the heart of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on a radiant Sunday, February 12, 2024, Machel Montano transformed the Calypso Monarch finals at the Dimanche Gras show into a spectacle of soca brilliance, captivating the audience at Queen's Park Savannah.

Reflecting on his journey, Montano shared his inspiring story of how his studies in Carnival Arts deepened his appreciation for the art form's roots, fueling his creativity for the winning masterpiece, Soul of Calypso.

“Ah think this is the greatest one because it was not one that was designed by me. This is a moment I could never have dreamt. I was trying to win ah next Road March so I could be up there with Kitchener, but ah didn’t know going back to school would bring me here. And that is the greatness of God, you can’t dream up what the creator could dream for you if you just follow what you need to do," he said.

“So, it has to be great, when you experience something that you could not have thought of, and it was so easy. When I say easy, it was a lot of hard work, but it was effortless, it was joyful,”

His victory not only earned him a $350,000 Grand Vitara, which he lovingly gifted to his mother, Elizabeth "Lady" Montano, but also a $500,000 cash prize, embodying a triumph of passion and heritage.

Machel Montano in his usual energetic performance at the 2024 Calypso Monarch finals which he won at Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain on February 11, 2024.Machel Montano in his usual energetic performance at the 2024 Calypso Monarch finals which he won at Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain on February 11, 2024.The competition was fierce, with former monarch Karene Asche securing second place with her powerful message in "No Excuse," advocating for resilience and integrity in the face of adversity.

Roderick "Chucky" Gordon, a previous titleholder, clinched third with "Charlsie," a poignant plea for slavery reparations to King Charles III.

Mical Teja, the Young Kings winner, captured fourth place but was a standout, igniting the crowd's enthusiasm with his hit "DNA," signaling his rising star in the soca world.

Montano – a ten-time Road March champion and six-time Soca Monarch – began his song in a traditional calypso style akin to a kaiso by multiple past monarch Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool.

However, he later removed his scholar's robes to unleash a blast of soca, to make the point of the compatibility of the two art forms.

The evening was marked by exceptional performances across the board, yet Montano and Teja emerged as the crowd's darlings, with Montano's innovative fusion of traditional calypso and vibrant soca particularly resonating.

His stage presence was electrifying, seamlessly blending homage and innovation, especially when joined by calypso legends Trinidad Rio and Weston "Cro Cro" Rawlins, to the delight of fans.

A touching moment unfolded as a young boy among the dancers revealed his musical lineage, pointing to his mother, calypsonian Terri Lyons, and ultimately to his grandfather, soca icon Austin "Super Blue" Lyons, drawing a heartfelt response from the audience.

This unforgettable night not only showcased the rich tapestry of Trinidad and Tobago's musical heritage but also celebrated the spirit of community, resilience, and joy that defines the nation's culture.

Machel Montano's victory is a beacon of inspiration, symbolizing the soulful journey of an artist who bridges the past and the future, elevating the calypso and soca genres to new heights. With this victory, Machel the soca monk has won every major title in calypso and soca, including the Junior Calypso Monarch (1986), Young Kings Monarch (1991), two Groovy and five Power International Soca Monarch titles, as well as ten Road March titles.

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