Booster Shot: Shel Shok dismissed from Atlantik

>> Sunday, October 12, 2008

Superstar soca producer Sheldon Shel Shok Benjamin is turning a few heads this weekend in Miami. Why? Well, because he's actually here and Destra and Atlantik are not. Benjamin is...or should I say WAS the samples guy for the big band. Granted he is a grown man, so he can go wherever the heck he wants, right? That would be the case if the man who brought us Alison Hinds' Roll, and Daville's Turning Me On was in Florida for a beach holiday.

Nurse Karen with Shel Shok at UWI Fete Miami, Grand Palms Resort, 2008

But let me assure you Mr. Benjamin is definitely not here on vacation. I ran into Shok last night at UWI fete performing on stage with Machel Montano HD. The HD camp rolled into town this weekend with a couple of major gigs lined up, couple of major gigs on the docket including Socavivor: International Flag Party, UWI Fete and, HD Miami at 90 Degrees.

Machel Montano and Nurse Karen at UWI Fete Miami

However, Shok was not permitted to take on any gigs with any other bands while performing as a touring member of Atlantik. So, going to Miami was a definite no-no.

I asked him what happened:

"They said if I go to do the gigs, forget about them. So I went to the gigs. We were not working anywhere so the income was needed," said Sheldon Benjamin.

It doesn't take a soca analyst like MOI to realize that our friends in Atlantik have been noticeably absent from the last couple of major soca limes. No New York. No Miami. No Notting Hill? (....somebody please confirm that one.) The fact is, it costs big dollars to book Atlantik at a time when many bands have been negotiating down their asking price to ensure that they have a presence on the scene. Naturally, there are more factors at play than price alone....however, whatever the reason, Shok's dismissal is evidence that the musicians are beginning to feel the pinch.

Destra with Atlantik Band in Toronto, 2008

Benjamin will not disclose whether the current arrangement with Xtatik is a temporary fill-in situation or a permanent return to his former band Xtatik. Guess you'll have to keep coming back to (Nurse) Karen (Etc) to find out!

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