Booster Shot: Carnival Thursday Goose Chase

>> Thursday, January 31, 2008

Well ah back in sweet t&t for the first time in mussee 4 years. Guess what, de place still hot, lively and beautiful. No better time to enjoy the richness Trinidad has to offer than at Carnival. I reached in last evening..tired after a work week that I'd rather forget. Lucky for me, now that I'm here one all inclusive fete later, I do forget....and ah real glad fo dat. So de lime was by one my best girls in Champs Fleurs. Chatting till late, planning de wardrobe for de season, organizing phones and tickets and food. You know how we do...and now it's Thursday. The plan was Beach House, a daytime all-inclusive in Maracas.

I met up in Cascade with de fellas from Dem Boyz and Dem. You know those nutty clowns from Brooklyn who gutsy enough to go and tief de name Doh Cry Ah Leavin' for their pre-carnival fete? Yeah, dem boys. They hired a maxi...and well rolled out. First, it was late. Then the geniuses had the wrong information about de fete. So we went past Maracas Bay, past Las Cuevas, up to Blanchisseuse...or some kinda sumting like dat. We passed over a bridge so rickety and small that it was rocking to and fro from the weight of the van. These boys are serious Faye-Ann fans. So, when "Get-On" came on the stereo is was bacchanal for so. So mad, in fact that the tweeters completely blew out. Next is was time for extempo over de subwoofer. Sounding good right? All was well until we reach a road that wasn't a road. Nothing but mud and potholes. Ask de one who nearly lose he shoes in the sludge.

Bright! That's when we realised "yuh know, i don't find there's much traffic going this way, eh?" Righto. Children...we were completely lost. And about an hour and a half from the place we were meant to be! Finally...we headed in the direction of BEACH HOUSE. Only 15 minutes from where I'm staying in St. Joseph's/Maracas. Steups, yes! Well after a set of pressure to get fixed up with tickets and ting, we got in. I bounce up a set of de Toronto crew...and then it was time to eat..and drink...and wine!

Several thumbs up. Mine and de crew. For me one highlight was seeing one of my favourite novelists, Earl Lovelace. I met him once in St. Vincent. Back then I was working for the Vincentian Newspaper and I had to cover a lecture he was giving there. He was liming in de rain, still looking healthy and wise. Man, I really respect that man.

Tonight the action is at Tribe all-inclusive. Lucky for me, I'm going with the girls...and we know exactly where to find it. go be real nice! I'm Nurse Karen, and that's your Booster Shot!


The Rounds: Getting ready for the final soca showdown

>> Sunday, January 27, 2008

Good Evening Spex and Good Evening Soca Lovers,

I'm Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay's rounds. I'm sure you've figured it out by now. Dr. Jay is off in Trinidad for his annual pilgrimage to the soca mecca. Last week the Caribbean Prestige Foundation released the finalists for this Friday's soca monarch competition.

As predicted it will be a truly international competition with entries from six different Caribbean nations among just 20 contested spots. Unfortunately, Zoelah did not make it. But Problem Child will be there to represent SVG. St. Lucia's Ricky T is having a great season in Trinidad. The lehgo me riddim can be heard pumping from every sound system…given some extra stamina by Machel's "Jamishness". So it's no surprise that Ricky will be doing it big for Saint Lucie come fantastic Friday.

For Antigua, Tizzy will be in the groovy category showing them why she's hot. Grenada's reigning soca monarchs Luni Sparks and Electrify are in power along with Carricou's sexy Nnika Francis.

Barbados posse…Biggie Irie will be defending his groovy monarch crown against the Soka Junkie hesself, Mr. Dale.

As for Trinidad's contigent. Toronto's own Kerwin Dubois, scored at the very top of the groovy category. Kerwin is a Trini Artist, but he living here now…so we claiming him now. Especially since he's got two smash hits in Gyal Farm and Hear me now. Always, a solid artist and producer, it warms my frigid canuck heart to see him gettin his shine.

Some of you might not remember that this is the traditional carnival season all over the world. In the Caribbean, it's party time in Aruba, Martinique, and Dominica as well. Dominica held it's soca monarch competition just last night!

This weekend, the Carnival prizes were finally handed out from St. Kitts Christmas Carnival. As a smaller carnival in a smaller island the money isn't quite as impressive as what Trinidad's winner's can expect. But I'm sure King Konris was happy to get his meagre four grand for winning soca monarch anyway.

A word to the wise, when you singing soca, whether big or small…earnings are earnings. And this is the time of year when our favourite artists need to be careful about putting away some cash to pay their taxes. If you think about it, when Machel Montano HD commands one hundred twenty five THOUSAND TT dollars per gig. And he's performing nearly every night. You better believe the tax man is paying attention. I had to laugh when I read an article in a Trinidad newspaper warning self-employed persons of their responsibility to report their income. Self-Employed is really just a code word for "Allyuh big balling, stinkin rich, superstars making me cough up 100 US Dollars for an all-inclusive fete." Not too often that I empathize with tax collectors…but after buying all my fete tickets. I tend to agree.

I'm Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay's rounds. Please text me your comments to 9-3-5-9-3-5 or leave them online at (Nurse) Karen (Etc) at triple w dot mustardseeds dot net


The Rounds: The sexy truth behind "Go Down Low"

>> Monday, January 21, 2008

Good Evening Soca Lovers, I'm nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jays rounds. Toronto is cold this weekend. Way too cold. Luckily, there's hot soca music on the airwaves to warm up your situation. Tonight, Trinidad will heat up to the sound of the Soca Monarch Semi Finals competition.

St. Vincent's breakthrough artist, Zoelah, is pumped about performing in both the groovy and power categories. While in Trinidad, the 23-year-old is staying with a brother who lives there. She's also preparing to shoot a video for Go Down Low. Speaking of Go Down Low... Did you ever hear the story behind that song? Apparently Ms Zoelah Boyde was inspired to pen those lyrics by a dishonest boyfriend back in 2003. She was getting ready to leave him for good when he got down on his knees and begged her to stay. Boom Bap, and she counteract with a special request that COULD make even the strongest willed ladies change their tune. "If you want to love me, you've got to Go Down Low…" My girl! Yes Zoelah!

…When you think about wining down to de ground in Trinidad, the month of February is synonymous with Carnival. Well, I hope allyuh know those last few days before lent aren't written in stone. Just like the tens of ither Caribbean nations that decided to change their seasons of fete to increase tourism across the region, several Trinidadian carnival stakeholders are rethinking February mas. The National Carnival Development Foundation, Pan Trinbago, TUCO and The National Bandleaders Association got together a few days ago to do just that. They're discussing a proposal to move the festivities to the last Monday and Tuesday in April. Fixed dates would make it easier to market the festival internationally. It was only a first meeting, but there is some hope that a change could happen in time for 2009. That means snowbirds like us would no longer be escaping the, um, snow to take a jump in Trinidad. If you want mas in February, you may wanna check Guyana for Mashramani at the end of the month.

Guyana's defending soca monarch Malo seemed pretty confident that he'll be keeping his crown in 2008. But only time will tell. On February ninth, two-time monarch Adrian Dutchin and thirteen other competitors will be vying for one of 9 spots in the finals. When that goes down in Georgetown on 16th February, All of us in Toronto will be heading back to Koolhaus for the annual KOS return fete. That is, if I have an ounce of life in me when I reach back from T&T. I'm Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay's rounds. Text your comments to 9-3-5-9-3-5, or post them online on the Nurse Karen Etc blog. Triple W dot Mustard Seeds dot net. Now back to de Docta!


The Rounds: New Possibilities for 2008

>> Sunday, January 13, 2008

Good Evening Soca Lovers,

I’m Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay’s Rounds. We’re two weeks into 2008, and the year is full of possibilities. January 2nd was jump up day in St. Kitts. You already heard it! Grand Master’s Band song called Boom Bam Bam unexpectedly beat out Small Axe Band and King Konris for road march.

In St. Croix, they started a new tradition at Cruzian Christmas Festival. They proved that anything can happen when they crowned their first ever Party Monarch. Congrats goes out to Toby Derima aka Toby Dee of the Xpress band for wowing the judges with his performance of Hands High.

In Trinidad, the possibilities are endless for carnival 2008. The hype has begun for the International Power and Groovy Soca Monarch competitions. The Caribbean Prestige Foundation released the list of semifinalists this week. From the looks of it, the competition is becoming more international than ever! Tizzy is repping Antigua. Mr. Dale, Peter Ram AND Lil Rick made the cut for Barbados. For Grenada, Nnika Francis is back, along with Luni Sparks and Electrify. Then there’s St. Lucia boasting 4 semifinalists in Ricky T, Teddyson John, Allan Piper and Mariann. Then for meh Vincy peeps, it’s Problem Child, Jamesy P and Zoelah.

Highlights on the home turf include the return of Bunji Garlin, who’s in the semi’s with his wife and she daddy…my boy…SuperBlue. Seem’s like Crazy made an impact on the veterans last year cuz Rootsman is trying a ting for 2K8.
Understand, the 62 semifinalists still have to duke it out to see who will compete against defending champs Biggie Irie and Iwer George for this year’s crown. There will only be ten competitors in each category on February 1st. I’ll keep you posted.

It’s going to be a fantastic year musically. January brings us the Air Jamaica Jazz fest January 24th to 27th, and the Barbados Music festival on the 27th too. Then all attention shifts to the soca mecca of Trinidad and Tobago, where the music is coming out fast and furious. With plenty of surprises yet in store.

I’m Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay’s Rounds. Text your comments to 9-3-5-9-3-5 or check me out on Nurse Karen Etc at triple W dot mustardseeds dot net.

Now, back to de docta!


The Booster Shot: Trini Soca Monarch Semifinalists Announced

>> Thursday, January 10, 2008

Happy New Year Soca Lovers,

I hope you didn't miss me too bad while I was enjoying de Christ-mus break. I had mehself a wonderful time. Food, family, fun and fete. Oh yes, and I even put a little bit of the black back in my skin while vacationing in sunny Florida for Old Year's.

Happy New Years from Florida -The Movie, starring me and meh mischevious friends!

So, I know we dun tick off ten days from, you're probably wondering why I waited so long to say "hello". This year is going to be a big one for soca. We're kicking it off with Carnival in Trinidad. Early on the calendar and promising to be full of surprises, the biggest fete in the West Indies will not disappoint. I booked my ticket and ah well ready for the mas.

But first up, it's all about fantastic Friday. You got it...The international soca monarch competition. This just in: 2008 will be more international than ever. You'll see competitors from Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. Plus comebacks from former stars like Bunji Garlin, and his father-in-law Super Blue. You'll see former Xtatik frontliner Peter C. Lewis and veteran soca sweet man Rootsman. (Rack me, rack...he love of we vincy we love him right back!) There are even some newcomers I eh self know nun tall!

Get your first glimpse at the unofficial results below:

Happy 2008! Keep that soca pumping!

  • 1. Allan Piper (St. Lucia)
  • 2. Blaxx
  • 3. Blazer Dan
  • 4. Bunji Garlin
  • 5. Crazy
  • 6. Dawg E Slaughter
  • 7. Denise Belfon
  • 8. Eustace and Phive Pound
  • 9. Fay-Ann Lyons
  • 10. Fireball
  • 11. Keisha Stewart
  • 12. Kurt Allen
  • 13. Lil Bits
  • 14. Lil Rick (Barbados)
  • 15. Luni and Electrify (Grenada)
  • 16. Ms Alysha
  • 17. Nadia Batson
  • 18. Nnika (Grenada)
  • 19. Olatunji
  • 20. Patch
  • 21. Pelf
  • 22. Problem Child (St. Vincent)
  • 23. Ricky T (St. Lucia)
  • 24. Rita Jone
  • 25. Rootsman
  • 26. Sanelle Demspter
  • 27. Sean Caruth
  • 28. Shurwayne Winchester
  • 29. Super Blue
  • 30. Tizzy (Antigua)
  • 31. Young Marcel


  • 1. Ainsley King
  • 2. Brent Anthony
  • 3. C'Donnia
  • 4. Cassi
  • 5. Devon Matthews
  • 6. Eunice Peters
  • 7. Fay-Ann Lyons
  • 8. Farmer Nappy
  • 9. Gary Cordner
  • 10. Jamesy P (St. Vincent)
  • 11. Kees Dieffenthaller
  • 12. Keegan Taylor
  • 13. Laura Pereira
  • 14. Mr. Dale (Barbados)
  • 15. Michelle Sylvester
  • 16. Marianne (St. Lucia)
  • 17. Mr. Chucky
  • 18. Nadia Batson
  • 19. Patrice Roberts
  • 20. Peter C Lewis
  • 21. Peter Ram (Barbados)
  • 22. Skhi
  • 23. Shal Marshall
  • 24. Shurwayne Winchester
  • 25. Terry Seales
  • 26. Teddison John (St. Lucia)
  • 27. Tony Prescott
  • 28. Tizzy (Antigua)
  • 29. Third Bass
  • 30. Tracey D
  • 31. Zoelah (St. Vincent)
  • 32. 3suns



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