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Fox Facts: Soca Superstar Machel Montano Dominates The International Reggae & World Music Awards

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New York – He promised “bigger and better in 2008” and soca superstar Machel Montano is living up to that promise, as he’s having perhaps his best year yet. Already a veteran of the music business and a legend in his country, Trinidad, Montano has been taking his taste of soca rhythms to the masses for decades and is now being recognized internationally for it.

At the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) held on Sunday, May 4th at the Apollo Theater in New York, Montano walked away with not only the most wins of the night but also the most coveted awards of the night. These include the Bob Marley Entertainer of the Year, Most Outstanding Stage Personality of the Year and Best Calypso/Soca Entertainer awards.

“I am totally overwhelmed and very grateful to the fans, the voters, and especially the awards’ committee,” stated an exuberant Montano. “It’s motivation to put in the hard work for bigger and better things to come.”

Montano has been blazing a trail in Caribbean entertainment since he was a child and is now on a mission to take his crafted and well-honed sound of soca to the worldwide audience. He recently headlined back-to-back shows at the world famous Madison Square Garden in late March, played to fans last week in the Cayman Islands, is set for the “Best of the Best” show during Memorial weekend in Miami and another one at Six Flags New Jersey in July, and is gearing up for Crop Over Festival in Barbados at the end of the summer.

This week alone will find Montano on the set in Miami and Los Angeles as he shoots the video for his latest hit, “Defense – The Anthem,” with reggaeton star Pitbull and rapper Lil Jon. Then he joins Pitbull, Miley Cyrus, Flo-Rida and Snoop Dogg at the KIIS FM (L.A.’s #1 radio station) concert on Saturday, May 10th. All this while seeing the release of his new album, Wining Season, now available online and in stores.

For updated artist and tour information, log on to machelmontanohd.com or visit his MySpace artist profile to see behind-the-scenes pictures as Machel keeps carnival alive year round, around the world.

#International Reggae & World Music Awards A Huge Success

New York – The 27th International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) went off without a hitch on Sunday, May 4 at the Apollo Theater in historic Harlem, New York. The red carpet arrivals were exciting as entertainers from the reggae and soca worlds turned out in their suits and gowns to mingle with media and hopefully pick up an award.

This year’s IRAWMA’s stayed true to its name by handing out the most awards of the night to soca star Machel Montano, a true “world” artist, who also won the most coveted award of the night, the “Bob Marley Entertainer of the Year Award.” Reggae stars Beenie Man (who was missing in action), Tarrus Riley, Ky-Mani Marley and Stephen Marley (also MIA) each walked away with two trophies.

The ladies owned the stage that night, however, with a flawless set from “Best Female Vocalist” Etana, an exciting performance from Jadine, “The Soca Deva,” and spicy appearances from dancehall queens Ce’ Cile, D’Angel and Macka Diamond. The audience was also treated to a heartfelt performance from Ky-Mani Marley, with his rendition of his father’s romantic “Turn Your Lights Down Low.” The legendary Dean Frasier and members of Shaggy’s band and Third World’s band backed the entire show. The most entertaining artist of the night was Shaggy, who told the audience he had bought out the bar and drinks were on him for the rest of the night.

The show ended with the customary congregation of all the entertainers joining vocal forces on stage for Bob Marley’s “One Love,” as the curtains came down on another successful awards show. IRAWMA president Ephraim Martin is already looking forward to a bigger and better show come next year, and thanks all the sponsors and entertainers for making this show possible.

2008 IRAWMA Winners:

1. Entertainer of the Year – Machel Montano
2. Recording Artist of the Year – Beenie Man
3. Best Male Vocalist – Tarrus Riley
4. Best Female Vocalist – Etana
5. Best Song – “She Is Royal”- Tarrus Riley
6. Best CD – “Mind Control”- Stephen Marley
7. Best Crossover Song – “Beautiful Girls”- Sean Kingston
8. Best Gospel Song – “Lava Ground”- Prodigal Son
9. Best Female D.J./Rapper – Queen Ifrika
10. Best Male D.J./Rapper – Beenie Man
11. Best New Entertainer – Sean Kingston
12. Best Calypso/Soca Entertainer – Machel Montano
13. Best Reggaeton Entertainer – Don Omar
14. Best Latin Entertainer- Marc Anthony
15. Best Compas Entertainer – Carimi
16. Best African Entertainer – Lucky Dube- Post Humous
17. Best Soukous Entertainer- Papa Wembe
18. Best Hip Hop/R&B Entertainer- Rihanna
19. Award for Outstanding Contribution to World Music – King Sunny Ade
20. Most Outstanding Stage Personality – Machel Montano
21. Best Music Video – Shaggy “Church Heathen”
22. Best Poet- Mutabaruka
23. Most Educational Entertainer – Buju Banton
24. Most Outstanding Show Band- Morgan Heritage
25. Most Consistent Entertainer – Freddie McGregor
26. Most Promising Entertainer – Ky-Mani Marley
27. Most Improved Entertainer – Junior Reid
28. Best Instrumentalist – Dean Fraser
29. Best Backing Band – Live Wyya
30. Most Popular Selector – Mighty Crown
31. Concert of the Year — Reggae Sumfest
32. Promoter of the Year – Sumfest Production
33. Producer of the Year – Stephen McGregor
34. Songwriter of the Year – Stephen Marley
35. Selassie I Award for Spiritual Service through Music – Tony Rebel
36. Community Service Award – Capleton
37. Marcus Garvey Humanitarian Award- (a) Ziggy Marley, (b) Jay-Z
38. IRAWMA Hall of Fame- Inducted May 4, 2008- (a) Billy Ocean, (b) Claudelle Clarke, (c) Errol Brown, (d) Winston Francis
39. Martin’s International Award of Honor- Given May 4, 2008- (a) Freddy McGregor, (b) Dwight Pinkney
40. Producer’s “Respect” Award- Given May 4, 2008- Ky-Mani Marley
41. Awards of Appreciation for Contributions to the Music Industry- (a) Herman Hall- Everybody’s Magazine, (b) Winsome Benjamin- Entertainer, (c) Karl Rodney- Carib News

Our congratulations to all the musicians who continue to bring Caribbean entertainment to the global audience, and especially to the 2008 IRAWMA nominess, who are all winners in their own right.

Get Ready For Reggae Sumfest 2008

New York – “Reggae Sumfest 2008 is definitely on for July 13-19, and will once again set standards as the greatest reggae show on earth”, announced Johnny Gourzong, executive director of the festival.

2008 will mark the 16th presentation of the festival and, by all accounts, it’s shaping up to be another first-class event. As usual, the festival will kick off with the beach party at Tropical Beach on Sunday, July 13, featuring top sound systems. On Thursday, July 17, top dancehall performers will energize the full capacity crowd, while Friday and Saturday will continue the tradition of offering the finest reggae singers and bands, alongside top international stars.

Dicigel, Ocean Spray and Air Jamaica, the JTB and VP Records have once again signed on as major sponsors of the event while for the first time, Supreme Ventures has signed on as a Silver sponsor, Red Bull has come on board as a Gold sponsor and Jamrock Magazine as a Platinum sponsor. Negotiations are underway with several other companies who have expressed interest in supporting the event. Media support is once again very strong with CVM on board as the official TV station, Irie FM as the official radio, and the Jamaica Observer as Official newspaper. In addition FAME, HYPE TV, RE TV, TVJ, Linkz FM, ZIP FM, Vybz FM, Megajamz, Buzz Magazine, Jamaican Lifestyle and Whaddat.com, have added their support to the event.

After a seven-year stint as title sponsor, Red Stripe has taken the decision not to renew their title sponsorship for 2008. Organizers Summerfest Productions report that while Red Stripe’s contribution was significant and they will miss working with the company on Sumfest it will in no way deter the festival. They believe in the importance of Reggae Sumfest as a national event that contributes in a large way to the overall economy and are determined to make Reggae Sumfest 2008 a big success with the help of their current sponsors.

The line-up for Reggae Sumfest this year promises to be excellent. While not all contracts have yet been signed, a peek at the wish list for the festival revealed that the local line up promises to be as strong as ever. A long list of artists are being targeted, including Beres Hammond, Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Sizzla, Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, Mavado, Busy Signal, Jah Cure, Richie Spice, Macka Diamond, Brick & Lace, Tami Chynn, Erup, Queen I-Frica, Etana, Tarrus Riley, Anthony B, Voicemail, Vybz Cartel, Demarco, Courtney John, and Harry Toddler. No clues were revealed for the international acts, however, it was hinted that negotiations were ongoing with some very ‘big names’.

So while there have been some rumblings in the music concert arena, Reggae Sumfest 2008 promises to once again surpass the standards set in previous years.

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