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16 junior bards battle for 2016 Monarch title today

By JULIEN NEAVES Monday, February 1 2016

TODAY 16 young calypsonians will vie for the crown of Junior Calypso Monarch 2016, including returning champ, Aaron Duncan, who has won a record four times, and who won Junior Soca Monarch title last week. The competition will be held at the Queen’s Park Savannah.

Among those seeking to take the crown for the first time are last year’s second place winner Desle Julien, who has been writing and singing calypso since age six, and Sharissa Camejo, who comes from a musical family.

Newsday caught up with the two young calypsonians last week during the drawing for positions at City Hall Auditorium, Port-of- Spain.

Julien, a 16 year-old student of St Mary’s College, first got into calypso while in second year at Tunapuna Boys RC. He recalled there was a Carnival “jump up show” and the teachers were going around asking if anyone wanted to perform.

“And little as I was, six years-old, I was like ‘me me’,” he recalled with a laugh.

He sang Iwer George’s “Fete after Fete” and said he had the energy and the “vibes. After that performance his music teacher recognised his talent and got him involved in Music Festival and singing with the school choir.

That same year, at age six, he began writing calypsos, a practice he continues to this day. He first entered the TUCO Junior Calypso competition in 2010, making the finals twice, last year and this year. In 2015 he placed second overall with his song “D King”, a tribute to the Mighty Sparrow. Julien recalled that it was a “fantastic feeling” coming second.

“(For) me writing my own songs I was always at a disadvantage from others because they get help out,” he explained.

He noted that at times he has felt like quitting the writing and purchasing a song, but his mother has always pushed him to keep on writing. For this year he penned “Sweet 40”, a song paying homage to the TUCO Junior committee and the show which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. He described the semi-finals two Saturdays ago as “great” recalling a great response from the crowd.

For the final leg of the competition, Julien noted that all the competitors are good, adding that the judges will have a tough time.

His mother, Debbie- Ann Trotman, reported that he has been rehearsing “morning, noon and night” in preparation for the competition. Julien believes that “practice makes permanent” adding that it comes naturally for him.

He believes that he has a good chance of bringing the crown home tomorrow.

Meanwhile, 14-yearold Sharissa Camejo of Holy Name Convent, Port-of-Spain, has been counting down the days to the finals.

She is the daughter of Enrico Camejo, lead guitarist for soca artiste Bunji Garlin

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