Masqueraders crossed the stage at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, Trinidad on Tues. Feb. 21, 2023 to Bunji Garlin's "Hard Fete", produced by St. Thomas native Gregory Hodge. By ERNICE GILBERT/ V.I. CONSORTIUM
A Soca hit song produced by St. Thomas native DJ Avalanche, called “Hard Fete” by Bunji Garlin, has won Trinidad’s coveted Road March title for carnival 2023. This is the first time that a Virgin Islands-produced rhythm has won this title in Trinidad. It’s a monumental and historic achievement for DJ Avalanche, whose birth name is Gregory Hodge, and it has placed the U.S. Virgin Islands among a rare group of countries to have contributed to a Road March song in Trinidad.
Below, footage captured by the Consortium showing the carnival band “Rogue” crossing the stage to Hard Fete on Carnival Tuesday in Trinidad.
According to official results from the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO), Hard Fete was the most-played song at judging points with 135 plays.
Nailah Blackman’s and Skinny Fabulous's "Come Home" was second with 106 plays.
Machel Montano and Patrice Roberts's "Like Yuh Self" placed third with 50 plays.
Following the win, Bunji Garlin said, “Thanks to DJ Avalanche for letting us get to grit on this beat and make some magic. He sent me a whole set of beats and when I asked about this one after my bro Pumpa had sent me it to hear we were ready to go!!!! Big big big love to the V.l massive.”
Ms. Blackman congratulated the winner. "Congratulations to the 2023 Road March king!" she wrote on her social media platforms. She said she has "always admired" Bunji Garlin from "day one in this Road March race — it has been nothing but love!"
The young Soca star also thanked those who supported her song. "I also wanna say thank you to the patrons and fans that have shown “Come Home” so much love and allows us make a forever stamp in soca, carnival and the culture. Come Home is a love song to carnival and LOVE is all I’ll ever have to offer!"
Skinny Fabulous and Soca legend Machel Montano — the latter whose contribution titled "Like Yuh Self" featuring Patrice Roberts came in third — also thanked Bunji Garlin, with whom both Skinny Fabulous and Mr. Montano share the 2019 Road March title, "Famalay".
Virgin Islands talent has been living a stamp in various fields — from sports, to fashion and music.