“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.
This journey was rather short as it took us just a few minutes onto Hope Road to the historic Bob Marley Museum for the launch of “King of Soca” the Biography of Machel Montano as written by his mom, Elizabeth “Lady” Montano.
Machel Montano’s “King of Soca” Biography Launches in Jamaica
Upon our arrival, we were invited by the sounds of vibrant beats of drums indicative of Soca Music and instructed to “follow the path” to the venue for the night. Indeed, we had arrived— a selection of wines was offered for which I opted for “Pink” as I prefer a sweet and smooth wine to ensure the night was started in high spirits.
The vibe of the night was Soca meets Dancehall/Reggae as on the menu was Pasta, Jerked Chicken which was complimented by a sauce of your choice, and Festival provided by Carimed by way of the Swiss Brand which was washed down by refreshing fruit juice from V8.
The first item on the night’s agenda was the formal welcome by Lisa Ghany, Advisor Public Engagement at the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago who introduced the 1st speaker, His Excellency Deryck Murray, High Commissioner for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to Jamaica.
“It is not often that one is in the presence of greatness and asked to say a few words. We are proud of one of our very own Ambassadors in his own works — it is always wonderful to see someone at their very young age show potential and fulfill that potential when they are older”.
Up next was Amashika Lorne, Operations Manager of WiPay, a major sponsor of the launch who spoke on behalf of the WiPay team. She spoke on the importance of documentation and archiving all the moments and also commended Lady for how well she has preserved Machel’s legacy.
The Honourable. Alando Terrelonge MP. State Minister in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport was the next speaker of the night who gave a stellar speech on the importance of Soca and Carnival on Jamaican Culture.
“There is great unity between the island nations— a passion for Soca and Carnival”.
As the proceedings of the evening progressed, we were introduced to the Hosts of the evening DJ Kwesi “Hyper Hoppa” Hopkinson and New York-based Journalist, Patricia Meschino who introduced the woman of the night, “Lady”. The minute she stood on the podium, it was quickly realised that behind every legacy like Machel Montano, is a strong mother. She presented an archive of Machel throughout of years which also included the time they spent in Jamaica as a family, while she completed her Bachelors Degree in Education at the University of the West Indies, Mona (UWI). Machel was soon asked to make his way front and centre as we saw him in a style we were not quite used to as he opted to be seated.
Machel was joined on stage by the legendary hand-drummer and percussionist Bongo Herman whose career dates as far back as the 50s. Here, Machel spoke about the importance of rhythm and how he was able to find his “beat” by learning more about instruments like the drum and that specific sound as played by Bongo, for which his sound as described by Machel is “the heartbeat of Jamaica“.
As the “King of Soca“, went on to share his journey, we learned about his many evolutions from being “Too Young to Soca” to “Like Yuh Self“. He went on to share a time when things were not too well in his personal life and he turned to God and wrote his hit song “Dance with You ft Mr. Vegas”, where he cleverly switched out the word “God” to “Girl”.
Machel Montano’s journey is a true inspiration of being able to do what you truly love, and being able to change (while being your true self) as you navigate through life.
Towards the end of the evening, we were treated to a surprise appearance from the “King of Dancehall” himself, Beenieman who spoke profoundly of his years of knowing and spending time Machel and Lady. They also did an Acapella rendition of their songs.
A great evening was had and I am excited to learn more about “The King Of Soca” by way of this book.
The “King of Soca” book is available for purchase at www.kingofsoca.com
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