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No worries

reigning junior calypso monarch not nervous about upcoming competitions

by Latoya Burnham

Aisha Mandisa Butcher is worried about one thing – getting her feet wet in the big calypso arena this year.

She isn’t thinking about nerves, she is not even stressing about the fact that she will be performing back to back on Friday and Saturday in two major competitions. She is only thinking about getting the experience this year for the years to come.

The youngster, who recently turned 19, is the reigning queen among the seniors of the Junior Calypso Monarch competition, and has also been selected as one of the 18 facing the judges in the Pic-O-De-Crop Semifinals on Friday night.

She said that as this was her last year in the juniors level, she thought it was time to test what the next stage would be like.

“I guess I’ll be finishing Junior Monarch this year, so I guess it is just the next level to get the feel of it. It doesn’t feel that different and maybe that’s because of the practises I had in the tent, so I get accustomed to singing two songs and things like that,” said the soft-spoken, almost unassuming young woman.

She debuted her songs, Care and Modern Slavery in the Cave Shepherd All Stars Calypso Tent this year, and received an encore for Care just last weekend when the tent threw open its doors at Solidarity House to an impressively large audience.

Care is also the song she will be performing to defend her junior crown, but Mandisa noted it was not about a choice between the two, but what came first.

“I felt that it has … It was actually the first one I had. I only did Modern Slavery like a few weeks ago. So Care was the main one I was always going to sing. It wasn’t like I chose that over Modern Slavery when I had both of them, Care was just the one I had first. So I went with that one.”

And for her encore she sang the last verse of the song which speaks to her personally because it tells of the woes of trying to develop young talent at her now alma mater, the Barbados Community College.

Having just completed her degree in music from the institution, and with one crown to defend and another to try to win on back-to-back nights, Mandisa said she has been trying to preserve her voice.

“I’ve been thinking about my voice yes. It has been giving me a bit of trouble but I’ve been trying to stay hydrated and just try to relax as much as is possible right now,” she said, adding however that her practice sessions have been going well.

She acknowledged that there was still some work to be done to prepare for the semifinals, but is confident that she will be good and ready come Friday to face the judges.

And as for the competition, the young woman is taking it one step at a time.

“I don’t really pay attention. Most people would be like, competition, yes it’s pressure, but for me, once I do everything that I’m supposed to in the song in terms of performance, melody, diction, everything, I am very contented,” said Mandisa.

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