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New blood in Junior Monarch


NATANGA SMITH, [email protected]

New blood in Junior Monarch

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ELEVEN NEWCOMERS ARE included among the semi-finalists announced for this year’s Scotiabank Junior Calypso Monarch competition. And out of that number eight are in the younger category.

The National Cultural Foundation said there was a genuine interest from juniors younger than the previous specified age group and this year a decision was taken to lower the entry age from eight to seven.

You can look out for some healthy sibling rivalry in both categories with Emari Browne Star Browne and younger brother, newcomer Savir De Rock Browne in the 7-12 age group and between Asher Dynamo Murrell and his older sister Faith Miracle Murrell in the senior category. It is definitely a family affair for the Murrells’ with cousin Samara Sammy-Jo Murrell as a reserve also in the 13-18 age group.

There are also two reserves in the senior category in Sammy-Jo and Trevon Callender (The Mighty King) based on scores.

Former monarchs Dynamo and Raanan Raanan Hackett are in their second year in the senior category. This year, the seasoned Rickardo Reid did not make it through to the semi-finals.

Back from last year in the younger category are Elissa Callender-Springer (The Mighty Ballerina, who was a newcomer last year), Browne Star, Hannah Grant (Hannah Glow, newcomer last year), and Markaila Walcott (SanShe, newcomer last year). The new faces are Ayoka Greenidge (A-Glow), Casey Jemmott-Boyce (KCB), Joshua Blackman (Joshua B), Kayla Miller (Kay Starr), Keimani Deane (Master Kei), Kiara Griffith (7Star) and De Rock.

The 13-18 category welcomes Yahandje Daniel (Yahandje), who was a newcomer last year in the younger category. Other new faces are Don-Ross Oliver (Mr Personality), son of calypsonian Donella and Miracle, daughter of musician Billboard Murrell.

Back from last year also are Keressa Chase (Kareesa, newcomer last year), the prolific Kymorhi Trotman (De Overcomer), Quinn Prescott (Quinn P), Teri Williams-Niles (Sparkle-T) and Tinesha Tinesha Drayton, who was a newcomer last year.

Rounding out the senior category are Adonica Shepherd (Lady Nica) and Liana Ifill (Liana).

Fans will get to hear and critique the offerings in the junior competition next week Saturday (June 10) and on June 18 at The Lester Vaughan and Combermere schools, respectively.

The showdown is not until July 9 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, but Summa Sargeant and Chad (De MC) Montplasir have sounded the alarm that they will be defending their crowns in their respective categories.

Raanan, who was the junior monarch in 2014, is looking to dethrone De MC and has hooked back up with writer Christine Eli.

“She wrote my winning song so I said let us see if she can do it again”, he said while at the House of Soca tent launch. He will be performing Who Tekking De Blame.

The 14-year-old Harrison College student is a member of the tent, and while too young for the Pic-O-De-Crop stage, said he is soaking up everything he can.

“Being in the tent is giving me a chance to get my face out there. It is an experience for me and in the development of me transitioning to Pic-De-O-Crop. I have at least four more years in Junior Monarch and I will keep competing till then.”

The youngster said he loves performing and it was always his dream to be on the big stage.

“I love the atmosphere, the audience, the performing. I was in Junior Monarch since I was eight years old. My sister was in the competition and she stopped so I decided I would take on the position.”

Raanan, who has had songs written for him by Mighty Gabby, tentmate Popsicle, Ian Webster and Cheyne Jones, said he isn’t afraid to sing anything.

“I don’t have a problem singing about something, political or otherwise.”

For fun, he likes cricket, and tennis. Career-wise he is looking at being an entertainer or financial manager or both. He said even though he is a former monarch he still has to do chores and he performs at school on occasions: “I get a lot of support from my friends.” (NS)

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