Grisha and her team leave Soca Rumble on high note | THE DAILY HERALD

Grisha Heyliger-Marten (left) and her Soca Rumble crew.

PHILIPSBURG–After five years of promoting local Soca music in St. Maarten’s Carnival celebrations, Grisha Heyliger-Marten has thrown in the towel, effectively resigning from the famous “Soca Rumble.”

Since April 2015, Heyliger-Marten and at least five others – including Omari Ferrari, the man who she said was the brainchild behind Soca Rumble – promoted local talent and music during Carnival.

Their primary objective was ensuring St. Maarten artists had an avenue through which they could channel their love for Soca. Fittingly, the motto for the Soca Rumble crew was “SXM Soca to the World.”

The Soca Rumble group are all lovers of Soca music who are also skilled and experienced in hosting major events.

“I gave it a good run and left Soca Rumble on a high note. However, based on my new goals for the future, I have decided it is time to make the change now,” said Heyliger-Marten.

She did not say what her new goals are. However, she quoted a Bible verse, John 15:2, which says, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”

Heyliger-Marten leaves Soca Rumble as a well-oiled machine that is known for promoting local Soca music and the creation of local musical icons. Soca Rumble is also known for its efficiency and professionalism in developing and producing the event each year.

According to her, the Soca Rumble team consistently ensured that the show started and ended on time and all payments relating to the event were made within two weeks of the show.

Heyliger-Marten explained that one of the challenges of hosting the show was getting timeslots on weekdays and not weekends. The local event hardly got the honour of being held on the weekend as much as the international shows did, she said.

One of the things she hoped to accomplish was creating a greater sense of pride in local Soca talent amongst the population, especially the organisers of Carnival.

“St. Maarten has a wealth of talented people, and a show like Soca Rumble should receive a permanent spot on the weekend. If that is done, more people can come out and witness the local artists performing without having to worry about work the following day.

“In other countries, such as Trinidad, Soca music is cultivated from within and they are given preference,” she said.

Another concern is the number of VIP tickets, which St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) has distributed to its sponsors over the years. VIP tickets cut into the revenue pool and makes it especially tricky for promoters to profit and, in many cases, companies receive more than twenty VIP tickets for sponsoring SCDF, according to a press release by Heyliger-Marten. They usually do not sponsor Soca Rumble and other events and many businesses opt to support international shows, with very few supporting local events, she said.

“Trust me, the crowd does not reflect the revenue generated because many of the people at these events enter on VIP passes,” said Heyliger-Marten, who also noted that these issues also affected her ability to produce the show Sabor Latino, which she hosted for four years.

While she originally intended to host Sabor Latino for five years, she said it was simply not financially feasible to do so.

“I decided to work with the local talents on Soca Rumble because I wanted to give back to my community. I have done this for five years despite the challenges, financial and otherwise, but I cannot continue to carry the cost. I want to encourage the SCDF to do more to support local shows and talent. I would like to see the [same – Ed.] kind of support for a local Soca show that went into hosting several other shows this year.”

Soca Rumble ends on a high note, according to Heyliger-Marten. “The foundation for promoting Soca music is set. The only thing anyone who wants to continue the promotion of local talent has to do now is keep building St. Maarten’s Soca music.”

She hopes that another organisation will continue with the events, and that local artists will continue to produce great Soca music. “But, respectfully, I ask that you give it a different name,” she said.

“I want to thank the businesses that supported us over the years. I want to thank especially those loyal Soca supporters who stood by Soca Rumble throughout the five years of its existence. Your support was inspirational and made us work harder to do better each year,” concluded Heyliger-Marten.

Source: The Daily Herald