The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) will award its Luminary Award to Trinidadian musician and soca icon, Machel Montano on Friday, November 18th in Washington, DC. Montano has been expanding the reach of soca, a genre that developed out of a fusion of calypso and Indian music and originated in Trinidad and Tobago.
Since age seven, Montano has been performing before crowds earning rave reviews for his stage presence and rhythmic sound. At age nine, he formed the band, Pranasonic Express. That same year, Montano performed in Madison Square Garden in the Felt Forum as a supporting act for the Mighty Sparrow and some of the era's top calypsonians. He released his debut album in 1985, entitled 'Too Young to Soca.' Throughout his career, Montano has been committed to bringing soca music to mainstream. In April 1986, the burgeoning superstar appeared on the popular television show, Star Search.
"Music is a language of the Caribbean and Machel Montano has been spreading the word about the power of music, and more importantly soca music as a demonstration of the power of Caribbean culture," said Dr. Nelson, Founder and President of ICS. "He is receiving our Luminary Award for his tireless efforts to shine the global light on Caribbean culture and music."
Over his career, Montano has continuously expanded the reach of soca music. In January 2010, Montano became the first soca artiste to attain a headliner slot at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival. In May of that same year, he made history as the only two-time recipient of The Bob Marley Award for Entertainer of the Year at Martins International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA). He was nominated twice for a Soul Train Award and won his first in November 2014 for his captivating performance with 'Ministry of Road.'
Regionally and internationally, Montano is beloved as the 'King of Soca,' winning multiple Road March and Soca competitions in his home country of Trinidad and beyond. In 2008, he won Best Caribbean Artiste of the Year at the 1st annual BET J Virtual Awards. In 2012, Montano became a Triple Crown Winner, by winning the Groovy Soca Title and International Power Soca Monarch competitions. He also performed at the popular Coachella Festival in 2016.
More recently Montano has made his film debut in "Bazodee" a Bollywood style Trinidad made film about finding love across various fault lines.
Montano admits it very difficult to bring soca music to the mainstream and at the same time stay grounded at home, however, he believes he has created a sound that is palatable to all markets, and play on the radio in rotation with other popular songs and genres. It is his dream to see soca enjoyed in the international market, and he travels the world illuminating hearts with his electrifying performances.
About the Caribbean American Heritage Awards The Caribbean American Heritage Awards(CARAH) began in 1994 as the annual signature fundraising event for the Institute of Caribbean Studies(ICS). The CARAH Gala honors those who have made outstanding contributions to US society, promoted Caribbean culture and interests in the US, as well as to friends of the Caribbean, who have contributions to the well-being of Caribbean peoples.
About the Institute of Caribbean Studies
The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) is a non-partisan, non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization established in 1993. It is dedicated to education, advocacy and action on issues that impact Caribbean Americans. The purpose of the Institute is to provide a forum for the public and private sector, non-government organizations, scholars and other members of the community interested in promoting a dialogue and to assist in the execution of actions that result from that dialogue.