Machel Montano singing Soul of Calypso at Calypso Fiesta, Skinner Park, San Fernando. – Photo by Lincoln Holder
The 2024 Calypso Monarch race is a particularly keen one, thanks to the entry of soca star Machel Montano.
Montano’s appearance at the Divas Calypso Cabaret International on its judging night earned him a spot in the semifinals, and his performance at Skinner Park last Saturday saw him through to the finals.
Come Dimanche Gras night (February 11), Montano will sing in third position to see if he becomes the next monarch.
He pulled the number in the draw for positions on Thursday at the Savannah Grass, Kaiso House. He will be one of 12 finalists.
Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) president Ainsley King was at the draw and said, “I also want to congratulate all of the finalists. We saw a very high standard of calypso down at Skinner Park last week Saturday.
“It is clear that we can anticipate a great show on Carnival Sunday.”
Another contender in the public eye is Mical Teja. Teja’s DNA is highly regarded and he has already captured the Young Kings title.
Some people have predicted that Teja and DNA may go on to capture both the monarch and Road March titles, a feat previously accomplished only by David Rudder. Teja will sing in 11th position.
Young yet seasoned performer Aaron Duncan opens the competition. The 2023 monarch, Ta’zyah O’Connor, will sing in second position.
Former monarch Karene Asche will sing in tenth place and the other female contender, Stacey Sobers, will sing 12th.
TUCO also announced 16 entrants to the Road March competition. Nailah Blackman has three entries, with two of them being collaborations, one with Dennis “Pumpa” Liburd (Born to Fly) and the other with Lyrikal (Best Self).
Bunji Garlin – last year’s winner – also has an entry this year, Carnival Contract. Olatunji has also entered the Road March with Inventor. The winning Road March will receive $250,000.
National Calypso Monarch finals order of appearance:
Aaron Duncan – Character
Ta’zyah O’Connor – Focus
Machel Montano – Soul of Calypso
Helon Francis – Representing we
Kurt “The Last Bardjohn of Calypso” Allen – De First Investigation
Dillon “Dilly Suede” Thomas – It Wasn’t Me
Roderick “Chuck Gordon” Gordon – Charlsie
Winston “Gypsy” Peters – Ungrateful
Brian London – Hell
Karene “The Calypso Princess” Asche – No Excuse
Mical “Mical Teja” Williams – DNA
Stacey Sobers – Respect the Tribe