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Bunji, Fay Ann out Soca Monarch race scores of entertainers come out for prelims today
Sunday, January 15, 2012

Celebrated entertainers Bunji Garlin (Ian Alvarez) and wife Fay Ann Lyons Alvarez are two former International Power Soca Monarchs that will not be among the slate of contestants seeking to de-throne the present victor Machel Montano, at this year’s competition staged by Caribbean Prestige Foundation for the Performing Arts (CPF). From as early 10 am today, scores of entertainers are expected to converge at the Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre, St Ann’s, to deliver their musical wares at the preliminary round of the contest now celebrating two decades of cultural elevation and music excellence.

Bunji Garlin confirmed this during a Sunday Guardian interview yesterday, when asked about his strategy to cop the title this year. It was also revealed yesterday that Iwer George did not know if he was eligible to compete in the event. George said he was busy wrapping up work as outgoing chief executive officer of Trini Bashment 91.1FM which he founded, and that the status of his registration was left in the hands of his manager. Shurwayne Winchester, however, another former monarch in the Power and Play Whe Groovy competition confirmed that his registration forms were completed and delivered.

Speaking on behalf of his wife, Bunji Garlin said: “We won’t be competing. We individually made that decision. Our reasons is not one out of malice. In truth and in fact, this Soca Monarch forum provides a lot for us to propel ourselves in the industry. I understand my purpose now in the industry, Fay Ann as well. I am already walking that road. It is working.” Winchester, meanwhile, lauded the quality of music offerings for Carnival 2012 and what he hoped was beyond. “The music on the whole is heavily on the groovy side.” Masqueraders have a choice of seven, rather than one or two songs for the road. That shows growth.

At today’s preliminary showcase which officially starts the race to de-throne Montano, the reigning Digicel International Power Soca Monarch, and Kees Dieffenthaller as the Play Whe Groovy Soca Monarch, a panel of adjudicators would analyse the music offerings of contestants and advance the best, in their expert opinion, to the crucial semifinal round of the coveted music affair. Then, its on to the final on February 17, dubbed Super Red 20...the energy continues! Energy In the City, is the official theme song for the event vocalised by Patrice Roberts.

It was exactly two decades ago, when CPF led by William Munro gave birth to a vision to explore the untapped world of cultural tourism, using the soca music brand. Back then, Angostura was the lone sponsor and the first prize was $25,000, which was won by SuperBlue (Austin Lyons). He went on to cop the title six times. He had to share the monarch title with Ronnie Mc Intosh on one occasion. Montano earned $2 million for his sterling efforts in 2011. The official first prize award remains $1 million, which this year’s champion will take home. Guardian Media Ltd is the official media sponsor of the event.


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