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Trinidad and Tobago Carnival: Part 8 – Machel Montano

No Carnival writeup would be complete, especially this year without mention of the ever-popular yet ever-controversial [1] Machel Montano.

From an earlier incarnation of his MySpace page [2]:

Machel Montano began his career in 1982 at age seven. As early as 1984, he formed his band Panasonic Express now called XTATIK. Machels debut album TOO YOUNG TO SOCA, released in 1985, was an instant hit which earned him many rave reviews and standing ovations wherever he performed.

In 1986, he appeared on Star Search in Hollywood bringing Soca Music to the screens of US National Television. He was described as a Stevie Wonder of Soca. Machel and XTATIK have performed with many popular international entertainment personalities including: Freddie Jackson, TLC, Third World , Shaggy, El Debarge, Destinys Child, The Boyz, Kris Kross, Buju Banton, Ziggy Marley, Garnet Silk, Shabba Ranks, Bounty Killa and many others.
In 1987, at the age of twelve, Machel became the first Trinidadian and youngest Entertainer to win the Caribbean Song Festival. In 1991 at sixteen, he won the Young Kings Competition. XTATIK won best playing music band on the road for CARIBANA 94 and MIAMI CARNIVAL 94. In 1995 Machel won Party Vocalist of the year and in 1996 XTATIK won Party band of the Year. In 1995 and 1997 Machel & Xtatik journeyed to London and mesmerized the sold out crowds.
In 1997 Machel became the youngest ROAD MARCH KING of Trinidad & Tobago and XTATIKS album HEAVY DUTY has been described as one of the best selling SOCA Albums ever.


In 2007 I watched him play an almost 90 minute non-stop set at the Zen nightclub… that was pure musical brilliance. The first 1/2 he performed his popular tunes (new and old) in a stripped down acoustic styling (think MTV Unplugged). Many of the uptempo numbers were retooled as ballads crossing several genres and the air was crackling with a feeling of spiritual release and oneness.

Machel Montano

Tears came to my eyes several times. I won’t lie! For the second half many of the tunes were re-performed in all their uptempo Carnival frenzy. It was like 2 albums/concerts in one!

Machel Montano


Today is Carnival Tuesday and many are wondering if, after a brief hiatus, Machel will once again be crowned Road March King [3] (he won it in 1997,1998 and 2007). He’s already nabbed this year’s Power Soca Monarch Crown (a fact that is still being hotly debated). Will he take even more Advantage?

Advantage (Official Video)

To learn more about Machel Montao check out:

Machel Montano (official site)www.machelmontano.com [4]
Machel Montano on Wikipediaen.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machel_Montano [5]
Machel Montano on Twittertwitter.com/machelmontanohd [6]


As I’ve previously mentioned where there’s a fete [7] or nightclub street food is not far away. That Friday night in 2007 was no exception. Outside of the nightclub I spotted a corn soup [8] vendor.

Trinidad Corn Soup Vendor

There were also two food stands.

One well lit one attracted many patrons

Trinidad Street Vendor

The other’s dubious choice of neon green lighting made it stand out from the crowd, but not in a good way. Does anyone really think yummy and hearty when they see a neon green glow?

Trinidad Street Food Vendor

Guess who my friend and I ate from?

Trinidad Street Burger

The sign reads “Bake & Shark [9], Burgers (Beef/Chicken), Fries, Soft Drinks, Hops [10] & Cheese)” and at the bottom “Real Trini Style”. Now that’s more like it! We both ordered beef burgers. They come standard on a bed of coleslaw with ketchup. Dont’ be fooled by the plain appearance, my friend and I both agreed that was one of the best burgers we’d ever hard. The patty was redolent with garlic and herbs to a degree that I had never had. And straight off the grill, so so good! It was the perfect end to an awesome evening 🙂

I have done my best to recreate that flavour and taste in this post for Trini-Style Hamburgers [11].

This post was originally published February 20, 2007. It has been updated once since then.

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About Sarina [13]

Passionate foodie, founder of Trinigourmet and Caribbean Lifestyle Maven. Author of "Glam By Request: 30+ Easy Caribbean Recipes" [14]