Nurse's Lounge: Soca Or Die 9, you voted - Dr. Jay delivered

>> Tuesday, November 4, 2008

No time is like the present to discuss the importance of voting. If you are reading this from the United States, today is your change to make a change. YES WE CAN! The whole world is watching.

When you have a chance to have your say, speak you must. Let me take the liberty to show you how this relates to SOCA!!! If you're into soca and you live in Toronto, there's no doubt you know about Dr. Jay de Soca Prince and his groundbreaking mega-fete Soca or Die. Dr. Jay is the DJ who hosts Soca Therapy, the same radio program that I go on every Sunday to give you "The Rounds." If you're still not sure, I'm going to tell you.

Nurse Karen and Dr. Jay (At KoolHaus earlier this year)

Last Saturday, the two-time soca award-winning "best international dj" and three-time stylus dj award winning "best soca dj" threw a huge fete in celebration of his birthday. Incidentally, I'm a soca scorpio too, so it was a real pleasure sharing the evening with all the other Carnival babies (De Docta, Marxman, Destra and Problem Child)

With Soca Therapy DJ, Marxman (Trinidad 2008)

This event is becoming an institution in Toronto. The KoolHaus, a concert venue which holds a legal capacity crowd of 3500 sells out each time. Patrons get to see performances from acts seldom brought together for a show. This year, he took the concept to a whole new level.

Earlier this Fall, soca lovers in Toronto had the chance to VOTE for the cast of this much anticipated show.

Fans spoke up, and Dr. Jay assembled a line-up no city has seen before. The favourites from 6 countries were given a mandate from the Toronto electorate: Soca or Die!

Here are the top vote getters:

Antigua - Tizzy of EL A KRU

Barbados - Lil Rick, the Hypa Dog

Grenada - Berbice

St. Lucia - Ricky T

St. Vincent - an alleged tie called for both Problem Child and Skinny Fabulous

Trinidad - Machel Montano. However, a scheduling conflict with the World Creole Music Festival in Dominica meant that Destra Garcia would rep the Twin Island republic.

Here's my shortish, but oh-so-sweet review. This fete was refreshingly different.

  1. International - The international cast drew out soca fans with roots throughout the Caribbean. KoolHaus looked like carnival with every nation's flag waving high and proud.

  2. Grenada's Berbice, minutes before showtime

  3. Equal playing field - There were no bands, so all of the sets were equal. Each performer had about 20 minutes to leave a lasting impression on the crowd regardless of their experience level in the business, popularity of their prepertoire or nationality. This meant people like Problem Child could remind us about his older hits, and Tizzy could introduce the crowd to songs they haven't really previously given a chance.

  4. Problem Child, ever so dapper. How does he do it?

  5. Supportive - Maybe you've heard. Ricky T was a no-show. Shortly after the end of Berbice's set, a recorded apology was played indicating that the St. Lucian entry was absent due to some family business at home. I won't mislead you, I was disappointed too...(mostly cause he's good vibes and has a killer wine when he's ready to lehgo). But some fans were irate. Following the announcement there were chants of "F*ck Ricky T" rising from one section of the crowd.

    Thankfully, artists emphasized the importance of putting family first....and the refrain of "Oh Oh Oh Oh Ohhhh, Wham to Dem!!", was a familiar call and response throughout the night. Fans: Ricky T will be in Toronto at Doh Cry Ah Leaving in February. Cool? Cool.

  6. Ricky T and I just three weeks ago in Miami

  7. High Quality - Artists brought FIRE. I could tell that the performers were exuding a special confidence from knowing that the crowd asked for each act directly. The line-up was unconventional with a multi-year chart-topper in Destra performing ahead of Lil Rick who is often considered a niche artist, Tizzy (who spent Trini Carnival 2K8 as a special guest in Destra's band).

With Lil Rick backstage...a not-so-hyper dog.

Skinny Fabulous closed the show. That decision was even surprising to him up until about ten minutes before showtime, as Toronto is still largely unfamiliar with his eight-year repertoire. No one was thinking about that when he gave his Barack Obama style motivational speeck on Caribbean unity, or when he took a running leap off the stage into a sea of flags and his 140 lb frame was thrown into the air over and over. The acts flowed seemlessly, and everything made perfect sense in the end.

If you missed it, don't miss my humble video blog, and be sure to check out the pictures and video EVERYWHERE. People will be talking about this one for a while!

Dre from TriniJungle Juice crossed the border to get in on the action. In so doing he dragged Nadine from Much Music along to host TJJ TV.

Here's what you'be been waiting for....Clips from Soca or Die 9!

2 x 2 cents (comment, nuh!):

natalie November 14, 2008 at 9:24 PM  

It's natalie from
Could you tell me where I can find the interview of destra at soca or die 9 (by tjj) please ??

(Nurse) Karen November 17, 2008 at 1:41 AM  

Hi Natalie,

I don't believe they have posted all of their video footage as yet. The pictures are up though! Enjoy...


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