Machel Montano - Addressing his audience at the Queen's Park Savannah, Carnival Tuesday
By Natasha Ofosu
Photographer Jermaine Cruickshank
Trinidad & Tobago | Sunday 14 February 2016: 22:22 GMT
Soca star Machel Montano has made it three out of three wins by capturing the 2016 National Road March title in Trinidad and Tobago.Montano’s song Waiting on the Stage was played 328 times at carnival judging points across the country, making it the most popular song for costumed masqueraders to dance to on the road on 8 and 9 February. It was miles ahead of Kes the Band’s People, which came second with 29 plays. Montano has won the title eight times, equalling the achievement of Calypso King of the World Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco). Machel’s first title came in 1997 when he sang Big Truck with his band Xtatik. There was a gap of nine years before he triumphed again in 2006, this time with Patrice Roberts on the song Band of the Year. Further victories followed in 2007 (Jumbie); 2011 (Advantage); 2012 (Pump Yuh Flag); 2014 (Ministry of Road); and 2015 (Like Ah Boss). The bulk of Montano’s success coincided with his songwriting and musical partnership with Kernal Roberts, son of calypso legend Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts), which began in the early 2000s. It was something Montano acknowledged at his Machel Monday concert on 1 February when he and Roberts performed acoustic interpretations of his Road March winning songs. Roberts’ pedigree is powerful since Kitchener still holds the record for the most Road March titles 10 in total which he won between 1963 and 1976. He enjoyed two sets of hat-tricks from 1963 to 1965 and 1971 to 1973. The carnivals of the 1960s and 1970s were marked by a fierce rivalry between Sparrow and Kitchener. In the decade from 1963 to 1973 they were the only calypsonians to wear the Road March crown. The arrival on the scene of Superblue (Austin Lyons) revolutionised the music. By the 1990s ‘jump and wave’ soca (a fast-paced offshoot of calypso) was dominating the streets and parties during the Carnival season. Superblue has won nine Road March titles, the first in 1980 and the most recent in 2013. His daughter, Fay-Ann Lyons Alvarez, is the only female to have won the title three times, in 2003, 2008 and 2009. While hat-tricks have been fairly commonplace in the competition’s history, beaver-tricks have been rare. Roaring Lion (Rafael de Leon) remains the sole singer to have scored four consecutive victories from 1935 to 1938 singing gems such as Netty Netty, and Dingolay Oy. He tasted success one final time in 1941 with Whoopsin, Whoopsin.