This year marks 40 years since soca artiste Machel Montano emerged onto the musical landscape. The Trinidadian artiste, who is a nine-time International Soca Monarch winner, is ready to unleash his musical artistry and string of hits at the inaugural staging of Wi Fete.
A joint promotion between GenXS and WiPay, Wi Fete is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 15 at Sabina Park.
Among the other acts on the line-up are Bunji Garlin, Nailah Blackman, and others to be announced.
"The fans are in for a treat. I will be performing with my band for the first time in eight years in Jamaica, so it will be amazing," Montano disclosed in an interview with the Jamaica Observer at the launch of the event yesterday at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
Montano, whose hit list includes Torro Torro, Fast Wine, One More Time, Big Phat Fish, Like Ah Boss, Bottle of Rum and Happiest Man Alive, shared the highlight of his 40-year journey.
"I think selling out Madison Square Garden in New York is among the highlights. I started at age seven and by nine I was a professional and I was in the Junior Calypso Monarch competition. I won the national monarch competition and I was approached to open for the legendary Mighty Sparrow at Madison Square Garden. And, 25 years later, I would be selling out Madison Square Garden myself," said Montano.
He continued: "This year, celebrating 40 years, I went to Barclays Center and we sold out that show too. For me, selling out those shows in the US are not as fun as performing in Trinidad or in Barbados, or in Jamaica with your Caribbean people. But seeing your Caribbean people come out and support us at these big events is always a highlight for me. Working with all the great artistes I've worked with over the years has been something very special. Nothing could beat being on stage, being on the road for Carnival, and hearing your music playing whether it be with a road march, just the love you get from the people is a highlight, not so much the achievement."
Sean Wallace, director of marketing at Red Stripe, is pumped up about his company's involvement in Wi Fete and the alignment with Montano.
"We try to be everywhere our consumers are enjoying themselves and, of course, hopefully, drinking and living responsibly. Wi Fete, we believe, will be an excellent expression of that enjoyment. It's a big fete. It has King of Soca Machel Montano coming to Jamaica with his band and dancers, so it will be a lot of fun. There wasn't any hesitation to come on board. It was a no-brainer," said Wallace.
Kibwe McGann of GenXS explained how the idea for Wi Fete came about.
"We were in Trinidad at Machel's show and he was selling this concept of unity. And if you understand the movement behind soca, soca is what you call love music, you know, people party, people bounce people, and we wanted to bring that kind of euphoric energy to Jamaica. So it made sense to bring the King of soca himself, bring the person who won the road march, bring the follow-up, the big song of Carnival, export and bring that to Jamaica," said McGann.
"We have some major Jamaican acts to add to the line-up, part of the story of unity. We are also looking at taking the event regionally and that's why we have Caribbean Airlines on board, and a company like Wi Pay which is in 10 Caribbean countries. This is a collective vision of one," he continued.
Wi Fete will kick off at 7:00 pm and run until midnight.
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