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Groovy Soca Monarch / International Soca Monarch 2006
Date: Friday 24th February 2006
Location: Hasley Crawford National Stadium, Trinidad

Click on thumbnails to see the big picture/entire gallery

Shurwayne Winchester is Soca Monarch 2006

From the time we start off a review with, "Were do we start...," you know it's going to be interesting! It's Carnival Friday, and besides the number of big fetes happening on the night, Trini Jungle Juice had to touch down in the 2006 Groovy Soca Monarch / International Soca Monarch Finals which took place at the Hasley Crawford National Stadium.

With the mad traffic jam taking place all around the stadium and masses of people, we arrived after the Groovy Soca Monarch performances wrapped up, but in good timing for the kick off of the International Power Soca Monarch. We still had 3rd place winner of Groovy Soca Monarch, Chucky, voice in our heads from catching him earlier on TV at the crib before we left... "I wanna see yoooou, inside de parrrrtty." Tobago-born Soca artist, Shurwayne Winchester, won the Groovy Soca Monarch competition singing his very popular mid-tempo Soca tune "Don't Stop." We were told that Shurwayne's performance was flawless, and featured the Shiv Shakti Dancers. Here are the results...

2006 International Groovy Soca Monarch Results (RealPlayer to listen)
01. Shurwayne Winchester - Don't Stop (261 Pts)
02. Patrice Roberts & Zan - Always Be (253 Pts)
03. Chucky - See You (235 Pts)
04. Michelle Sylvester - Face Me (233 Pts)
05. Surge - In Your Timin Girl (227 Pts)
Sean Caruth - Baby Girl (217 Pts)

So, what transpired for 2006 International Soca Monarch Finals? We must say, it was a pretty entertaining show with energetic performances and brilliant stage props by the various artists ... ear-shattering explosives, confetti, fire works, folks blowing fire out their mouths; and that's just stage side!!! General Admission was it's own piece of madness!! In fact, security was not as tight as one would have expected for such a huge event. The few uniformed police we saw were constantly having to send folks back over the fence separating General Admission after they climbed into the backstage area. And from the looks of things when walking in, folks seemed to easily find their way into the VIP area. We guess that was the reason they had a V.V.I.P!

Okay, back to the show. We'll try our best to recap and give you the main highlights. Shurwayne Winchester dethroned Bunji Garlin to capture the 2006 International Soca Monarch title singing "Can't Wait." Big, big congrats to SW from the entire TJJ family. He delivered an exciting performance that featured members of the Laventille Rhythm Section, as well as, pannists from the Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra including, Dane Gulston. You should have seen the crowd, which was said to have numbered more than 40,000...pure bacchanal! Man, Shurwayne was at his finest. He climbed onto the two-level platform towards the end of his performance, where the two pannists were playing and had the crowd moving left to right to the pulsating sounds. He even climbed up on the barrier separating the general audience from the stage as he pumped them up. You got to love when a performer becomes one with the people.

Winchester had beaten Bunji Garlin, who performed "Bomb Song," by just two points to claim the near $1,000,000TT first prize. Iwer George placed third for his rendition of "We Reach". Iwer delivered his tribute to the Soca Warriors and had several members of the Soca Warriors including Sid Gray, Anthony Wolfe, Stephen Charles and Ottis Whittley on stage. He started off his act with Roger George singing the National Anthem.

Let's talk about Bunji now. Garlin opened his performance with video footage of the bombings that took place in Port of Spain and St. James last year. There was also a mini skit featuring people being injured by a dustbin bombing and being attended to by his musicians who were dressed in white bomb squad gear. Hear ting ... in the skit they announced to call in the bomb expert and helicopters flying sound effects start to play. Then who everyone thought was Bunji (well TJJ knew better with the inside scoop that it was a stunt double) began to slide down from the top of the Stadium's covered stand on a long, long wire anchored at the top of the stage. All of a sudden, braps ... Bunji appeared on stage wearing black riot squad gear and the entire crowd went wild. Bunji told the crowd that this might be his last year in the competition, and they were not trying to hear it. Whether or not this is a ploy to secure a three-peat, folks were lovin Bunji and moving to his every command. There were two men flying a radio-controlled helicopters around the stage as Bunji chanted, "Helicopter.... Helicopter!" A loud bomb sounded off on stage as Bunji ran and dived into the crowd to end his performance.

When the announcement came that Bunji lost to Shurwayne, the majority of the crowd started boo-ing. They felt that Bunji was the real winner. It was really a close call, and when you really think about it, both performers got a lot of forwards from the crowd and had them moving. And Bunji used a lot of stage props and antics, while Shurwayne delivered straight vibes. Even Iwer buss de dance with a wicked performance. Here are the results...

2006 International Power Soca Monarch Results (RealPlayer to listen)
01. Shurwayne Winchester - Can't Wait (270 Pts)
02. Bunji Garlin - Bomb Song (268 Pts)
03. Iwer George - We Reach (266 Pts)
04. Nadia Batson - One Island (257 Pts)
05. Rita Jones - Carnival Feeling (254 Pts)
06. Mista Vybe - Ting For D Road (248 Pts)
07. Faye-Ann Lyons - That Is Carnival (246.5 Pts)
08. Miss Alysha - Party (242 Pts)
09. Sheldon Douglas - Gone Loose (239 Pts)
10. Terry Seales - Hello (228 Pts)
11. Sanell Dempster - Forever (223 Pts)

After that, the International Power Soca Monarch guest artistes Machel Montano & Xtatik delivered a nice performance with the usual 2k6 supporting cast - Patrice Roberts, Zan, Mr. Vegas, Red Rat and Benjai. It was interrupted by several fights in General Admission. And the timing is too ironic, as Machel is once again preaching about peace, unity, love and amnesty ... and fight bruck out! Caribbean people... what is wrong with us??!!

The concert ended with Reggae superstars, Elephant Man and Beenie Man. As soon as they hit the main stage they mentioned how they think Bunji was cheated and should have won. They then proceeded to call him up on stage to say a few words. Bunji in true class, came up and gave the crowd a short and sweet freestyle chat. Large up Bunji! Both Beenie & Elephant Man shouted a few times during their performances, "Bunji Garlin is the true Soca Monarch." It was fast approaching 5 AM, and police gave the signal for the show to end. We don't know if it was a good or bad thing, but now Beenie and Ellie start to rinse out all their big tunes ... where was TJJ's video camera??!!! How often do you get to see two big dancehall artists give you all the big hits one after the other in a combination fashion! It was definitely one for the books!!

There you have it folks. Just a couple of things to mention before we run... Faye Ann, Faye Ann ... de costume was sexy too bad! We don't care what people have to say... you continue to do you! Mista Vybe, what happen man ... you left nuff folks disappointed on the night. Where was the energy? All first timers to the competition, large up yourselves ... we looking for you all next year!

Now, another food for thought moment. Do you agree that we should have paid all de big dollars to have Beenie Man and Elephant Man as guest artists in TnT's Groovy Soca Monarch / International Soca Monarch Finals? Do you think Jamaica would extend the same kinda love to Machel Montano & Bunji Garlin (or whichever Soca artists) to perform for Jamaica's Reggae Sunsplash? Study it! The Trini Jungle Juice discussion forums coming soon... we gone!