For some time, exponents of the more up tempo, party-oriented version of the soca artform have benefitted from two Crop Over competitions to showcase their talents.
Now there’s a third with the introduction of the new Bashment Soca competition. Many fans support this arrangement because they believe it gives every artiste a fair chance in each competition.
However, there are whispers of discussions about going back to having one competition integrating what are now the Sweet Soca and Party Monarch competitions. Artistes have expressed mixed views about such a move.
Veteran calypsonian TC is supportive of the idea of one competition.
“We are having a drag in terms of the 140 plus BPMs. Let’s be realistic and open the competition up and if you want to go with the power, you do that or if you want to go with groovy, you go with groovy and just level the playing field,” she told Bajan Vibes following her participation in last Sunday’s Party Monarch show at Bushy Park.
“We have a serious weight on Sweet Soca now simply because the environment dictates that. We have got to work the one competition. I stood side stage tonight and I said if this does not prove to the NCF (National Cultural Foundation) or to everyone that we need to get back to just one competition and bring 15 competitors to the venue and go with it, I don’t know what will,” TC added.
Mr Blood, a former Party Monarch and Sweet Soca Monarch, believes keeping the two events as separate competitions is the smarter thing to do. He takes the view that if a decision is taken to revert to one competition, one of the tempos would suffer.
“I don’t think that after separating them and giving each tempo its own competition you should go back. All we have to do is get good fast songs again. What will happen is, something is going to suffer. There was a time when the ragga soca suffered because people thought there was no room for the songs because they were too slow,” Mr Blood said.
“Now we have a case where there is a separate competition for that and it’s really running the route. We just have to get good fast songs together again and get them played. If they don’t get played, obviously no one is going to know them,” he added.
2016 Party Monarch Lil Rick agrees with Mr Blood that going back to one competition is not the right way to go. “I don’t think they should go back to one. I think they need to have the sweet and the party. We had one before and we switched to two because groovy songs never really got a chance. I think we should remain,” he said.
“Fast songs back then were kicking and a man with groovy songs never had a chance. Obviously if you switch that around now, a man with fast songs could never win,” Lil Rick told Bajan Vibes.
Mikey said he believed everything was a cycle and, as a result, he considered it was only a matter of time before a switch back to one competition was made.
“Whatever happens, happens. Everything is a cycle. They are going to go back because they’re thinking that people aren’t into up-tempo anymore but the ragga soca is getting faster. The faster they get, they are eventually going to get back to up-tempo, then they will separate again. The only thing that is constant is change and I always adapt to suit,” he added.
iWeb, who said he really didn’t have much of an opinion on the issue, said he believed the competition planners were already heading in that direction.
“It’s just a matter of waiting and see how it goes. I don’t have a preference to be honest, I think whatever will be will be,” he said.