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If You Made it To Machel Monday, You Must’ve Seen This…

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On Monday, the energy of Trinidad lingered West. From parts South, East, North and even Tobago,   die hard Machel Montano fans filtered to the Hasely Crawford Stadium for yet another year of an event that’s always extraordinary, even when the lineup isn’t ridiculously ‘international.’

Machel Montano and French Montana on stage on Monday night. PHOTO: Jermaine Cruickshank. 

This year, the sole international act promoted was French Montana. The entertainer who’s been providing humanitarian relief in Uganda with recent efforts to assist his countrymen and women in Morroco launched, touched down in T&T on Monday evening it appeared, and took to Instagram to share the fact that local Immigration officials had ben awaiting his arrival on the tarmac where his private jet landed ahead of his concert appearance. On Monday night, the production of the event, which has drawn thousands over the years, seemed to have strengthened its focus on the promotion of love and unity. There was also a very apparent effort by Machel to introduce the emerging Soca artistes to the people. A performance by Chutney Soca Monarch winners, Nishard Mayrhoo and Neval Chatelal offered patrons a taste of the Indo-Trinbagonian culture- an aspect of the Carnival flavor that’s not always highlighted as much as it really should be.

Nailah, one of T&T’s fastest rising stars, on stage with Jamaican entertainer, Shenseea.
PHOTO: Jermaine Cruickshank.

A stage show that’s always eye-catching, the event this year boasted massive cultural displays from the iconic Mas creator, Peter Minshall who has teamed up with Tunapuna based, Exodus Steel Orchestra to produce “The Eyes of God,” for the road in Carnival 2018. In December, Minshall stressed that he is not bringing a band of his own for Carnival. On stage at Machel Monday however, his masterful creations were larger than life and spoke volumes for his creative mind- certainly still incredibly coherent and full of exuberance. The ‘Soca Kingdom’ themed event was nothing like last year’s show, and while some felt it lacked something, others who live for ‘local’ appreciated the introduction and focus of artistes like M1, Turner, Erphaan Alves who Montano credited as one of his songwriters, Patrice Roberts who thanked Machel for his steadfast training of which she was a student, Nailah Blackman who appeared with Jamaica’s Shenseea, two time International Soca Monarch King, Voice, Machel Montano Music Academy winners, Abdiel Matamora of Trinidad and Tobago and  St. Lucia’s Lu City- a duo that consists of Tyler Auguste and Jean Farrah, who collaborated with Montano on a track called, “Let It Go,” among other young acts.

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Soca Monarch Gets Title Sponsorship. ISM Chair, Fay Ann Lyons Expresses Heartfelt Emotion.

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Her appointment to the helm of the highly revered and sometimes controversial International Soca Monarch’s Caribbean Prestige Foundation has come with its fair share of criticism and Herculean undertaking but for Fay Ann Lyons- Alvarez, it’s all a part of the journey. A short time ago, the former Soca Monarch champ turned boss of the ISM, was presented with a cheque and commitment by the National Lotteries Control Board for title sponsorship of the event.

The NLCB has dedicatedly assisted the Soca Monarch for some 27 years, forking out $35 million over that period, to fund the competition. Explaining that the company is committed to the culture of Trinidad and Tobago, NLCB representatives earlier expressed satisfaction in the rejuvenation of the competition.

On Fantastic Friday – March 1st, competitors from across the Caribbean will vie for two titles- those being the Power Soca Monarch and the Groovy Soca Monarch titles. Already, many are predicting that Grenada’s Mr. Killa will walk away victorious, however, anyone who knows the dynamic of Soca Monarch will understand that presentation is key on show night.

Take a look at the ceremony that took place earlier, as recorded live by influencer David Wears :

#NLCB presents cheque and signs as title sponsor for #InternationalSocaMonarch.#itsfantasticfriday#ISM2019

Posted by David Wears on Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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Shaft’s Master Plan for Artistes Will Blow You Away. Super Songwriter Prepares for Global Connects.

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He’s never too far. He’s a part of the carnival tapestry even when you hardly hear of his pursuits in a season. T&T’s carnival 2019 period has seen Jason ‘Shaft’ Bishop penetrate the airwaves with more than six carnival anthems. He’s the man behind Patrice Roberts’ killer tourism-jingle- like hit, ‘This is The Place,’ and Lyrikal’s monster chipper, ‘Passing Through.” Shaft’s always in the shadows, even when his name isn’t calling much.

Patrice Roberts on stage.
PHOTO : Jermaine Cruickshank.

For years, Jason’s been the songwriter of choice for many. From Destra Garcia who’s hit ‘Lucy’ was written by Bishop, to Machel Montano, Nikki Crosby’s ‘Granny’ persona- who he manages, and certainly Patrice Roberts, with whom he struck gold when they delivered, “Big Girl Now”. His artist repertoire across the islands, includes the likes of Peter Ram, Alison Hinds, King Bubba and Ricardo Drue. Jason ‘Shaft’ Bishop is most certainly the model songwriter in the Caribbean. “I’m an executive songwriter. I’m the only songwriter with such a significant number of songs tabulated since 1999,” he said to us during an exclusive EBUZZTT interview. Jason’s however got his eyes set on international territory these days, telling us that when Carnival is over, he’ll be heading out to Los Angeles where he’ll be treading deep waters outside of his calm Caribbean comfort zone.

Jason writes for each season, one year in advance. Explaining his process to EBUZZTT, he said he offers artistes full concepts based on his vision for the songs he pens. He also personally hand picks who receives which songs, based on character, topic and personality. Ahead of Barbados’ CropOver, he’s already prepared to distribute songs to the artistes who’ll sing them. “I’m heading to Barbados this evening,” he said when we spoke with him on Thursday. Jason’s been hard at work. His team, based in Barbados, has worked arduously behind the scenes, executing his vision of creating a full fledged songwriting business, that also features other elements that would aid all artistes in the execution of their goals. “I’m setting up offices of Shaft Vibes Entertainment in Barbados, Trinidad and New York,” he said, highlighting that artistes will be able to hire professional songwriters for all genres, videographers, marketing specialists and even dancers.

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