The Rounds: Soca stars hungry in New York

>> Sunday, March 30, 2008

Good Evening Soca Lovers,

I'm Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay's Rounds. This weekend Jamaica kisses their 20th anniversary carnival season good-bye. Revellers took to the streets today, for a jump in the hot sun.

Closer to home in New York, it was all things Machel Montano at Madison Square Garden's WaMu theatre on Friday night. (Check we together in Toronto in December)

The HD camp and their international cast of friends entertained 16000 fans between the two sold out shows that evening. What fans saw from the audience was an energy packed performance of chart topping soca hits. Behind the scenes, your nurse discovered the conditions weren't the best for some of the performers. With one show at 8 pm and one show at midnight, it's a long day at work for the entertainers. Unfortunately, organizers failed to provide any food whatsoever for the "and Friends" portion of the cast, quietly waiting back stage. So don't study the vibrant energy and smiling faces you can now see all over YouTube, there were a lot of grumbling bellies balling out with every jump and wave.

One of the next big gigs on the Machel Montano docket will be Miami's longest running Memorial Day Long-Weekend Reggae Concert: Best of the Best. I know Machel is not a reggae artist but lately he's been covering Bob Marley's "Waiting in Vain" and he's still performing Dutty Wine in his set, even though most people stopped doing the dance in favour of keeping their insurance policies. So the big concert takes place on Sunday, May twenty five at Bicentennial Park. Mr. Slaughter will be there as a DJ. You know he alway UP IN's a shot of the 2 o'we in the Tribe All-Inclusive in Trinidad last month.

...And this is Walshy from Black Chiney. He go be there spinning too. Miami is his home turf.

The reggae acts include Super Cat, Buju, Beenie, Sizzla, Junior Reid, Barrington Levy, Tarrus Riley…ok, lemme stop. Nuff reggae. Nuff said.

While we on that vibe, I thought I'd let you in on some big news in Britain. Reggae artist Maxi Priest just replaced Ali Campbell as the lead singer of the band UB40. They are best known for the 1983 remake of Neil Diamond's "Red, Red Wine" and now they are set to release a modern take on "I Shot the Sheriff" featuring Mr. Maxi Priest.

Soca shares influences with a variety of Caribbean art forms. One such ORAL tradition is that of Rapso, it's a poetic storytelling style that relies heavily on rhythm and rhyme. In Trinidad, and organization called the Rapso fraternity is getting ready to host the 19th annual Rapso festival in April. People who go, will get a chance to take workshops, and even perform! This year the focus is on education….and me being a poet, I decided to do my part by educating you. So there you have it.

I'm Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay's Rounds. Leave me a comment at the (Nurse) Karen (Etc) blog, online at triple w dot and don't forget to download the podcast. Now back to de docta!


The Rounds: Machel Montano to Release a new album on Delicious

>> Monday, March 24, 2008

Good Evening Soca Lovers,

I'm Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay's Rounds. Happy Easter. Today marks the beginning of the official carnival week in Jamaica. With Lent behind us, our friends in Jamaica have no excuse not to indulge in the fullness of the season. Next Saturday morning is a beachside j'ouvert like no other. Then it's time to don all the pretty costumes next Sunday.

Theatre-goers in Trinidad got a special treat from the Easter bunny at Queen's Hall this weekend. A trini-verson of the Grease musical opened on Thursday. Danny Zuko's gang has changed from the Burger Boys to the Roti Boys, and Sandy Digregorio becomes Sandy Beach. Most of the songs from the original production have stayed the same, but naturally, the rhythms have evolved from 1950's rock and roll to soca and chutney.

A date has been set for the 27th annual International Reggae and World Music awards. The show goes back to New York's Apollo Theatre in Harlem on May 4th. There's not much soca being recognized, however, Machel Montano makes the list with three nominations.

Speaking of Machel Montano, if you missed his twenty-fifth anniversary performance last year at New York's Madison Square Garden. You're in luck! He'll giving two more shows on March 28th in the same world-calss venue at 8pm and 12 am. This year, the amazing production goes beyond all things HD to include a host of guest performers, including international favourites who made a splash at Trinidad's Carnival. With 2008 hits like Congoman and Oil and Music, naturally The Mighty Sparrow and David Rudder had to come along for the ride. But that's not it! Jamaica's Macka Diamond will be there to perform Mo Wuk with Patrice Roberts. Peter Ram will bring the carnival bacchanal of Crop Over with "Pumpin'", while St. Lucia's Rikki T and St. Vincent's Problem Child are gonna represent the Windward Islands with their road march winning anthems.

It's perfect timing for a show of this magnitude. Machel's got a new album dropping in April!

I understand that might be confusing if you're in Trinidad and you've already been pumping the Flame On album since February. I'm not sure how much this new offering will differ from his catalogue of 2008 soca hits, but it WILL soon be released internationally on the Delicious Vinyl label. It's called Wining Season. Boasting the Shaggy remix of the title track, plus Defense - Machel's remake of Lil Jon and Pitbull's 2007 reggaeton song The Anthem, there's hope this latest release will have some crossover appeal.

I'm Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay's Rounds. Be sure to leave me your comments at the Nurse Karen Etc blog at triple W dot mustard seeds dot net! Now back to de doctor.


>> Monday, March 17, 2008

Good Evening Soca Lovers,
I'm Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay's Rounds.

Have you ever felt the pain of heart break? Ever wished you could get something back that you know is gone forever. Around here, we does call dat Tabanca! And last night a few hundred people who vex with winter and missing the soca riddims of T&T crammed into Islandmix in Pickering for Dr. Jay's remedy. Before there was any reason for the tabanca to kick in. Dr. Jay, a big Toronto posse and yours truly were soaking up the oil and music in Trinidad last month. Check we!

When you feel that way, there's nothing better than a good celebration to get you by. So let me tell you what has other people smiling…And if yuh still working through allyuh Carnival Tabanca, you'll soon realize there's plenty more love to go around.

First off, New York's Ma$tamind Productions, the husband and wife duo that's responsible for bring you all those Mastamind Projects and Christmas albums celebrated 3 years in the business on Monday. Three years, five albums, collaborations with artists from all over; including Rikki Jai, Bomani, Sheldon Douglas, Adrian Dutchin, and Maximus Dan to name a few. We say congrats to dem …and keep making that music! This is me with Shawn "Mastamind" Noel, and Natasha Andrews-Noel in Trinidad last month.

Now down in Trinidad, everybody's favourite loverboy was doing a little celebrating he-self. Kees Dieffenthaller of Kes the Band rang in a birthday on Wednesday. In case you're curious, that little baby face and fit body now boasts 27 years on this earth. God bless us all!

In Miami, they are spreading the love Cuban style today with their annual Calle Ocho street fair. It started off 30 years ago as celebration of La Cultura Cubana, but nowadays it incorporates musical elements from thoughout Latin America and the Caribbean. It spans twenty-three city blocks with sixteen concert stages and the best part is, it's FREE. This year Shaggy, Wyclef and Chaka Khan join the action at Carnaval Miami's big Latin-Caribbean party…that features soca music too!

Now over in Jamaica, the carnival surprises keep on flowing. We usually don't expect a lot of new soca music from JamDown, but up and coming reggae star Da'Ville is adding his voice to the mix. He's making the ladies swoon with a SOCA release called none-other-than TURN ME ON! This soca track was produced by Trinidad's Sheldon "Shel Shok" Benjamin. If you didn't know, he the midi guy in Atlantik... and he produced Roll for Alison Hinds…plus a slew of other very big tracks! Here I am with the boys from Atlantik in St. Vincent last July. Shel Shok is the one standing behind me!

So there's no reason to feel sad and lonely when is out there celebrating life. So forget de Tabanca, cuz it go be Spring before you hear my voice next.

I'm Nurse Karen, and those were Dr. Jay's Rounds. Don't forget to subscribe to my podcast, or leave me a comment online at the Nurse Karen Etc blog at triple W dot Mustard Seeds dot Net. Now back to de docta!


The Rounds: Canadian music pirates get shut down in RCMP raid

>> Monday, March 10, 2008

Good Evening Soca Lovers,

I’m Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay’s Rounds. If you were snowed in this weekend, you might enjoy knowing what de soca people were doing on the sunny shores of Jamaica! Friday night the pre-carnival fetes continued at the Bacchanal Jamaica Mas Camp with a special performance from Kes the Band. Kes was in Toronto last month. After the show, lead singer Kees came out to lime with us in the crowd. Watch sweat nah!

Over so, the students at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus revved up their OWN carnival celebrations. One of those fetin’ students happens to be Skinny Fabulous from St. Vincent. He’s finishing a degree in - get this - MASS COMMUNICATIONS! Am I the only one who finds that funny? Anyway, he was on hand to premiere a few of his new releases for Vincy Mas 2008. Here I am with Skinny Fabulous and Mr. Vegas at Club Xcape in St. Vincent in 2006.

The other hot ticket in the Caribbean last night was WOMEN POWER in St. Maarten, Netherland Antilles. Ms. Alison Hinds and El a Kru made sure to show dem why DEY hot.

If you were paying attention last week, you’ll remember that I ended the rounds with a charge to go out and LEGALLY purchase soca music. The idea came to me after a conversation with a friend over at Homebase Entertainment in Grenada, who showed me a link to their Soca City Volume One CD, and Da Mastamind Project 3, both being ILLEGALLY sold on a Canadian website called This week Audiomaxx was finally brought to justice. The Winnipeg based counterfeiting operation was shut down in an RCMP raid on Wednesday after THREE years of duplicating and selling pirated CDs and DVDs. The police seized more than 200 thousand discs to be sold at a dramatic retail discount over the internet. Personally, I can’t believe the nerve of these guys. They actually took the time to superimpose their logo on the cover art to fool shoppers like you and me into believing their product was actually authentic. It is alleged that 30 per cent of all pirated CDs in Toronto were manufactured by the bandits at Audiomaxx. Again, If you WANT soca music, BUY it from a reputable source like Trinidad Tunes or iTunes.

Speaking of iTunes, Soca Therapy has a brand new podcast available free of change for soca fans everywhere. Thanks to MP studios. Now you can subscribe to Dr. Jay’s Rounds…download it your computer…and I’ll keep you up to date with your weekly dose of soca news, artiste gossip and carnival info.

I’m Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay’s Rounds. Please text your comments to 9-3-5-9-35, or post them online at the Nurse Karen Etc blog at triple W dot Mustard Seeds dot Net. Now back to de docta!


**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT** The Rounds podcast is now available!

>> Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Great News!!!
You asked for it, and it's finally here...

Now you can get your weekly dose of Soca and carnival news from around the world downloaded directly to your computer. THE ROUNDS podcast is now available. So now matter where you live in the world, you can hear the only radio segment dedicated to reporting on soca music from an international perspective.
Nurse Karen's brand new podcast of DR. JAY'S ROUNDS is a 3 minute recap of the most important happenings in the world of soca. Each segment is recorded live from Toronto every Sunday from Dr. Jay's Soca Therapy radio program on Flow 93.5 FM.
Stay up to date with new releases, world carnivals, celebrity gossip, and music trends...all on your own schedule.
Subscribe today!


Manual Mp3 Download:
Streaming Audio - Listen (M3u):
...And don't forget to add the (Nurse)Karen(Etc) blog to your favourites. Visit regularly for additional info; articles, news, pictures, video and more...


The Rounds: Will Crop-Over Change in 2008?

>> Sunday, March 2, 2008

Good Evening Soca Lovers,

I’m Nurse Karen, and these are Dr. Jay’s Rounds. This month we’re marching straight into spring with a little help from Jamaica Carnival. Thanks to organizer Byron Lee, Jamaica can now boast 18 years. Last year, Mr. Lee was battling personal health issues and the road parade was cancelled. But in 2008, it’s all systems go. Organizers are excited to announce confirmed appearances from Biggie Irie, Peter Ram, Iwer George and Destra Garcia. Every weekend this month, warm up fetes will take place ALL across the island. Friday night, Alison Hinds got in on the action, headlining at Wet Fete Dreams. AND finally, Byron Lee and his Dragonaires (including X2's Jumo from Guyana) will parade on the streets of Kingston to close out the month on March 30th.
Looking ahead to another important carnival only…1, 2, 3, 4, 5 months from now! The Barbados National Cultural Foundation is happy to have the nation’s largest cultural festival back under their control. At the end of last season former Prime Minister Owen Arthur snatched Crop Over out from the NCF mandate in an effort to separate the organizations commercial and developmental arms.
Well, there’s a new chief in town, and Prime Minister David Thompson is running things HIS way. His government announced that Crop-Over would undergo a few innovations in 2008. What are the changes you may ask? Steve Blackett, the Minister of Community Development and Culture wasn’t specific when he addressed the press last week. But here’s what I was able to glean: 2 things…increased sponsorship, and a greater connection to the emanicipation season which might alter the calendar of events here and there. As always, your nurse will keep you up to date.
If you’re a soca lover in Toronto, Spring is YOUR time. Believe it or not, the Caribana band launches are RIGHT around the corner. Before you know it, exciting new music will be pouring in from all the Summer carnivals. Let me know which country you think will provide the best soundtrack for the Summer. I've heard some nice little samples out of St. Vincent. My 2 cents: expect to hear the name Skinny Fabulous, over and over again.
While you're waiting for those new caribbean releases, make sure you take advantage of the next few quieter months to legally get your hands on some of the best CDs from Trinidad 2008.
Look forward to some amazing fetes that make this city a soca hotspot like no other. From Fire Fete, to the all-new Toronto edition of Gyal Farm (and all things in between), be sure to support events and products that support soca artistes - any way you can.

I’m Nurse Karen , and those were Dr. Jay’s Rounds. Text your comments to 9-3-5-9-3-5 or check my blog online at triple W dot mustardseeds dot net. Now back to de docta!



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