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Bunji Garlin Wins International Soca Monarch

February 05, 2005

Results - International Soca Monarch

1st - 442 - Bunji Garlin
2nd - 441 - Shurwayne Winchester
3rd - 417 - Neil Iwer George
4th - 383 - Faye Ann Lyons

Results - International Groovy Soca Monarch

1st- 253 - Michelle sylvester
2nd - 243 - H2O Flow
3rd - 238 - Blackie
4th - 223 - Mini Priest

'Fireman' Bunji reigns!

By Joan Rampersad,

A DRAMATIC performance, which included a bungee jump and a pyrotechnic display, helped Bunji Garlin (Antonio Alvarez) capture the 2005 International Soca Monarch title on Friday night. The moment the MC announced his name, Bunji's image appeared on a giant screen at the back of the stage. He appeared to walk out of the screen and then made a theatrical entrance swinging from a bungee rope. Once Bunji, dressed in black, was firmly planted on the stage, fire appeared from different directions as he launched into his winning selection, "Blaze The Fire." The crowd went wild.

There was even more drama towards the end of the performance. Bunji, in a fireproof suit wrapped in toilet paper, caught on fire. However, he was safely out of his blazing apparel in seconds, successfully ending his act on an exciting note. Fire officials were consulted on the design of Bunji's outfit and were on hand to ensure everything went off smoothly. Bunji scored 442 points to win the title and the $160,000 first prize. He also copped the $10,000 TSTT People's Choice Award. Contacted for comment yesterday, Bunji told Sunday Newsday it felt "real, real good" to retain the title for the second consecutive year.

In second with 441 points, just one point behind the winner, was another crowd favourite, Shurwayne Winchester. The young Tobagonian artiste gave a powerful delivery of his popular "Dead Or Alive" and had the majority of patrons at the Queen's Park Oval on their feet, dancing along. Iwer George was the first artiste to stir the Oval crowd with his "Tension." However his performance was affected by a faulty sound system and although he put much energy into his routine he couldn't do better than 417 points and third place. Other good performances came from Fay Ann Lyons who placed fourth with 383 points, Mr Starr, D Hitman with his "More Rum For Me" and Patrice Roberts with "Islands."

Outside of the first four placings, all other competitors walked away with $20,000 each. Earlier, in the first ever staging of the Groovy Soca Monarch competition, first place went to Michelle Sylvester who two days earlier had copped the Soca Queen title. She sang "Sleeping In Your Bed." Placing second was H2OPhlo with "Come Baby" and third was Blackie who gave an entertaining rendition of "Ah Hook." Also impressing the crowd with his "Body Water" was fourth-placed Mini Priest.