Winners of the 2013 Aruba’s Caiso & Soca Monarch competition

Courtesy of: The Morning News
By Rosalie Klein

The most important musical event of the carnival season, the grand finale of the Caiso & Soca contest, or Calypso & Roadmarch, was conducted at the Joe Laveist Ballpark in San Nicolas on Saturday, January 19, lasting well through the evening until nearly dawn of Sunday morning.

Pre-finals conducted earlier in the week carved down the field of competitors from 81 songs to 30 competing for the two crowns. Soca, (Roadmarch), will become the theme for most carnival parades, and the Caiso, (Calypso) winner, a classic piece of social and political satire, will entertain lovers of the genre for years to come.

This year, a spectacular event was conducted by the new Musica Foundation, with many carnival pundits complimenting the organization and professionalism of the outcome.

Soca King “Blackie,” Melvin Baptist took the crown for his performance of “Pacquiao” composed and arranged by veteran performer Antoni Gario. Gario was also the author of the “Best Show” winner performed by attorney Lincon “Dello” Gomez, performing as, naturally “King Law,” with “Balancini.”

Both were backed by Gario’s band, Le Groove.

The next generation demonstrate they are picking up the baton of this great institution as Shaun Phillips, – “Mighty Talent Jr.” continues the tradition set by father, Claudius Phillips, the original “Mighty Talent,” Young Shaun has shown he equally has the performing chops to his dad, who has won the contest more times than any other contender. He was also  named “Rookie of the Year,” performing the Caiso, winner, “Chillin’ Chillin,’” composed and arranged by Claudius and backed by his band, OREO.  

Second Caiso winner was Ashmiani Gario, “Pink Diamond” – also continuing the tradition of her dad “Black Diamond” Antoni, with “Don’t Kill The Messenger” composed by her father.  Jonathan Thiel took third place performing as “King Leon.” He composed and arranged his song “Graf,” and was backed by Upgrade Music band.

Proving he is also a “chip of the old block” Soca second place was won by Ashrock Gario performing as “Diamond Chip” with “Savages” another song by his talented dad. Third place went to Richard Quant, “Mighty Tattoo,” backed by Zeta Band with the song “We Going Bananas,” which he composed. Quant also took the prize for Best Costume.           

This was a sparkling year for the Caiso & Soca Monarch events, as Aruba’s musical diamonds dominated the competition in many ways, despite not taking the top spots. 

List of winners:

  • Richard Quant – Best Costume
  • King Law – Dello Gomez – Best Show
  • Mighty Talent Jr. – Shawn Phillips  – Rookie of the Year

Caiso Category:

  • King Jeon – Johnathan Thiel – Upgrade Music – Graf – 3rd place
  • Ashmiani Gario – Don’t Kill The Messenger – 2nd place
  • Mighty Talent Jr. – Chillin Chillin – Shawn Phillips – 1st Place Caiso

Soca Category

  • Tattoo – Richard Quant – We going Banana’s – 3rd place 
  • Savages – Diamond Chip – Ashrock Gario – 2nd place
  • Pacquiao – Blackie – Melvin Baptist – 1st Place Soca Monarch