The Rounds: Byron Lee is alive and fighting for every breath!

>> Monday, November 3, 2008

Good Evening Soca Lovers,

Boy, what a big week for Caribbean Entertainment! First let's go to Dominica For the Festival Musique Creole Dominique. Each year festival organizers work hard to ensure that the best international talent is represented to provide the ultimate entertainment experience. But last night, many Dominicans were left disappointed after a lack-luster performance by Sean Paul. Sucks for them, cause here in Toronto, it was all about Soca or Die 9! And it was saw-weet!....I digress.

Right. So, the real local stars mashing up Dominica this season are a young group called the MFR Band. The acronym stands for Music For Real. They have a song called Sticks and Stones that is on EVERYONE'S tongues even though the tune hasn't been recorded in studio yet for radio play.

Here's a video of MFR Band performing Sticks and Stones
"I see you runnin' ya mouth, but you ain't saying nothin. Blah, blah, blah!"

St. Lucia is taking an leap forward to recognize the potential of THEIR local entertainment hopefuls. Wednesday, a new television program was launched called Guinness Undisputed. It's a talent contest seeking the top vocalists, dancehall dancers and freestylers from Lucia. What's cool about the program is that the contest judges are some pretty reputable local soca personalities. You have Francis "Leebo" De Lima, a reggae artist and soca producer, Nigel Nicholas and Patrice Regis from Slaughter Arts Media Entertainment...the duo who brought you the soca blutooth riddim last year. And Lastly, Mr. Courtney Lewis...he's best known as the 2007 COTT Award Winner for best new male songwriter for Trinidad's Roadmarch that year....Jumbie!

Speaking of the COTT Awards. The action starts now. The 2008 awards gala takes place on November 6th, but a few awards were doled out early. I'd like to big up Noel La Pierre, a member of the Kingdom of Soca extended family. He just won the COTT award for Jazz World Music Composition of the Year, for the song One and Only. Noel made that steelpan sing, and recorded the magic right here in Toronto.

The biggest news of the week is of a somewhat sombre nature. I say somewhat, because the bad news everyone is talking about turned out be a little LESS "bad" than we first thought. I am talking about Byron Lee, the legendary bandleader behind one of Jamaica's foremost musical exports, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires. The 73 year old music veteran has been suffering from cancer for two years. He was undergoing treatment in Miami.

This past week a crazy rumour was circulating internationally that Mr. Lee had passed away. Sadly I must admit, I got caught in it myself. Lemme explain. Recently, Lee's conditioned worsened and he suddenly returned home to Jamaica by air ambulance. The next day the governor general paid him a visit in the hospital to bestow upon him one of Jamaica's highest civilian honours - the Order of Jamaica.

Naturally this sparked speculation among news watchers that a tragic end was close in view. So, heres what your Nurse found out. On Monday, there WAS a death in the Dragonaires camp. Former lead vocalist, Vic Taylor who performed as part of the band throughout the 70s and 80s died at the age of 56. See where I'm going? Byron Lee is not dead. Rather, lines got crossed with persons coupling the gravity of Lee's illness with the untimely death of his old colleague Vic Taylor. I have been communicating with a longtime friend of the Lee family who is receiving updates from Byron's daughter Deanna. Lee is alive and fighting for every breath. This morning her email informed me that he does have his good day and his bad. So join me in continuing to keep both the Lee and Taylor families your thoughts and prayers.

I'm Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay's Rounds. For more information about anything I've mentioned, check me out online at the (Nurse) Karen (Etc) Blog at triple w dot mustard seeds dot net. And as always, you can download The Rounds Podcast for yourself at Soca Therapy dot com.
Now Back to De Docta!

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