Machel Montano and Super Blue Lead


                                                                                   By William Skinner

Machel Montano                               Super Blue
Last Friday night, a cultural awakening visited the Caribbean in the form of Machel Montano and Austin Lyons (Super Blue). The occasion was the Play Whe International Power Soca Monarch Competition, held at the Hasley Crawford Stadium in Trinidad and Tobago. These two soca maestros clearly demonstrated that it is our cultural icons who will guide us to perfecting the true Caribbean Nation.
 The generational clash was real, and it exposed that, excellence knows no age and true artistes understand that the real beneficiaries of excellence are the people! We can all remember Machel Montano as a baby on stage singing: ‘Too young to soca.’ And those of us, somewhat older, would remember Super Blue singing the pulsating Ethel, the 1981 Road March.  
Machel Montano has developed into a powerhouse while Super Blue, has now resurfaced with the captivating hit ‘Fantastic Friday’.  Calypso /soca lovers were wondering when the twain will meet. We have lost so many maestros: Kitchener, Duke, and a mere fortnight ago, Penguin, and so many are now in semi retirement: Sparrow, Rose, come to mind. Still we have Chalkdust and Stalin, along with Baron holding the pole up, no doubt watching and feeling good that the art form, which has been bastardized from time to time and declared dead occasionally, can still surprise us like the zombie that we all hear and talk about but are mortally afraid to encounter.
The judges had an easy task last Friday night(they declared the contest a tie) because the offerings were so fantastic. They did what good teachers do, give their top students A’s, and let them reel and come again. So, we can expect or at least hope, for another showdown and another clash but the generational bridge would have been constructed for all of us to cross. In other words there is full unity, graciousness and leadership in the soca world. The young is respecting the old and the old is respecting the young. There is peace, growth and good will in the soca village.
However, after carnival, we will be back to watching another group of Caribbean citizens-almost called them artistes- at work, our not so distinguished political leaders ! They can’t understand the youth; they seldom know how to be gracious and the judges can only write: Fail Failed or Failing on their report cards. They have no rhythm; no presentation and there are no meaningful lyrics to stimulate. It’s a barren show with the political jokers and for the foreseeable future that will be what we have to watch. Perhaps Super Blue and Machel Montano need to call a leaders’ conference, invite them and show them what leadership, inspiration and vision are all about. 

William Skinner is a social commentator on Caribbean cultural and political matters.

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