With both coming close to the title in recent years, but suffering defeat after two days on the road, soca giants Neil “Iwer” George and Kees “Kes” Diefenthaller tasted victory yesterday as their “Stage Gone Bad” made them TUCO’s Road March kings of 2020.
In 2018, Iwer’s “Savannah” lost the Road March title to Machel Montano and Superblue’s “Soca Kingdom” 336-140. In 2019, Kes’ “Savannah Gras” played 207 times but lost to Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin and Skinny’s Fabulous’ “Famalay” which played 346 times. But when they joined forces to produce Carnival 2020’s hottest hit, victory was never in question.
The almost jumbie-like, spirit invoking soca played 291 more times on Carnival Monday and Tuesday than the nearest competitor, “Conch Shell” by Machel Montano, Skinny Fabulous and again, Iwer.
It was Iwer’s second Road March title, but speaking with Guardian Media at the Socadrome on Carnival Tuesday, he said it was his first official Road March as he had to use the court to be awarded the title back in 2000. Back then, his song “Carnival Come Back Again” had to share the honour with soca legend Austin “Superblue” Lyons’ “Pump Up”.But on Tuesday, Iwer, who joined the revelry with Yuma, had predicted a landslide victory.
On that day, masqueraders even demanded “Stage Gone Bad” as they crossed the stage.In the social media shout out to his fans yesterday, George said, “Thank you to everyone for all the love and support this season and on the road. We definitely had a time on the road for the last two days and myself and @kesthebandofficial could not have done it without you all.”It was a sweet Carnival season for both artistes. In Kes’ case, it was his first-ever Road March title.
George also won the International Soca Monarch in power soca category, with the same song. Nadia Batson’s Fatt played nine times, leaving her third in the Road March race.
Speaking exclusively through Kes The Band’s Publicist Team at Overtime Media, Dieffenthaller shared some of his joy at earning the people’s vote in 2020 and gave thanks to all who contributed to the landslide Road March win.
He said: “Doing a track with Iwer was something that I never knew how it could happen, but it did and I think this was the perfect song for both of us to be involved on—it had the energy and the mix of two worlds—and I had a great time bringing it together. I must say big up to Iwer’s management, they kept the boat going on course, growing in the right way and moving steady throughout the journey and nothing was forced and everything was beautiful. To experience it on the road was such a dream come true—blessed love to everyone who enjoyed it, it’s a fun song, I had fun recording it and I’m just glad that everyone has experienced the song in the way that we experienced it…”
Previously a three-time Soca Monarch Winner with his last victory claimed over a decade ago in 2007, Neil Iwer George was equally thankful and ecstatic about winning the two titles which have eluded his grasp for many years.
He told Overtime Media that: “It’s a really great feeling to be in this position now and I must thank my Perception Management Team and of course, Kees for working with me and bringing this dream to life, but like him: I will wait for tomorrow to really speak and share everything that I have in my mind about this occasion and this achievement.”
The duo are scheduled to address the media at the Queen’s Park Savannah from 10 am on Thursday, February 27 and will give statements and address all media enquiries at that time.