OVER 120 SWEET SOCA SONGS were judged, but only half of that number for Party Monarch, a trend that continues to be a worry for the National Cultural Foundation (NCF).
“There was a 20 per cent increase in the Sweet Soca entries and a five per cent decline in the Party Monarch this year. The low numbers for the Party Monarch was evident last year and in fact for previous years too,” said Adisa Andwele, the NCF’s event producer.
He told the DAILY NATION yesterday he had seen a trend towards Sweet Soca and even Bashment Soca, rather than Party Monarch.
He also said that in the judging process, listening to the songs had shown a lot of “bashment riddims” to Sweet Soca lyrics.
Five judges deliberated from Friday until yesterday to come up with the 32 semi-finalists.
Andwele declined to say who didn’t make it based on the judging criteria, but some “shareholders” and stage favourites are missing from the lists revealed at a press conference at NCF headquarters.
Marvay, who placed second last year to Edwin, is back again in the Sweet Soca semis. He told the DAILY NATION he was “grateful and super excited to be included in the line-up”. Lil Rick, the 2016 Party Monarch, will defend his crown, and also try to reach the finals of Sweet Soca.
Doing the double are Kirk Brown (back after a hiatus), Faith, Mistah Dale and MRBLOOD. Mikey is in the Party Monarch but a reserve in the Sweet Soca.
Sanctuary, who was a semi-finalist in both competitions last year, is only in the Sweet Soca this year, but he said was “thankful to have the opportunity to redeem himself from last year”.
Faith, the only female who is doing the double, said she is happy to be in the mix.
“I am feeling awesome about both getting in. I am going to work really hard to make sure both go the finals this year. I am confident about both songs as they have strong lyrical content and melody.”
Kirk Brown, who is part of The Alliance (MRBLOOD, Mikey and Kirk Brown And The Energy Band) was ecstatic to be back in competition and making it to both semis.
Marzville, a Bashment Soca finalist, will perform twice on July 7 as part of the Sweet Soca semis to be held at the same venue on the same date for Phenomenal Friday.
Well-known balladeer Shirley Stewart (of Walk Away From Love fame) has also made it to the Sweet Soca semis, along with TC, Natahlee and Nikita.
In the Party Monarch, many will be happy to see the return of Gorg, the popular 2014 champion. Also on the list is 2015 monarch Peter Ram, and veterans Ras Iley and Grynner, and new faces Scribz, Saffiyah, Jahm-r, Holla Bak, Nik-man, Sim Simma and Queen T.
Biggie Irie, 2014 Sweet Soca Monarch and King Bubba FM said previously they would not be competing, but the DAILY NATION could not ascertain if Hypasounds, Joaquin and iWeb who have released songs this year, had entered any of the competitions.
Judging for both was on performance – a maximum of 30 points, melody – 25 points, lyrics – 25 points and arrangement, 20 points.