The Rounds: Biggie Irie to Release his first album

>> Sunday, April 27, 2008

Good Evening Soca Lovers, I'm Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay's Rounds.
If you ask any true soca afficionado why this music hasn't hit big in the mainstream, most of them will tell you this: soca is extremely seasonal and often never gets the chance to grace the sandy shores of neighbouring islands. Well, good news soca lovers, it's beginning to look like that might change!
The Caribbean is growing smaller now that two West Indies produced music TV programs have been licensed to air across the region. About two months ago, Barbados-based ALT entertainment announced that it's 5-year old music video countdown program called "Roamin" would begin to air in 25 new territories, after striking a deal with a CBS affiliate station. The show features reggae and soca music videos, and showcases the local youth-culture of the islands they visit. Every Thursday night viewers in the States, Central America and the Spanish and French Caribbean will finally have a chance to find out what WE ting is all about!
This week, little-old Montserrat celebrated a similar milestone.... The Warren Cassell show will focus on live performances by Caribbean artistes. Claudette Peters, The Mighty Sparrow, Edwin Yearwood and Kevin Lyttle are all slated to appear in season one. The program will air in 17 countries.
Looks like Caribbean integration is happening all around. When it comes to the music, you can't help but notice that regional differences aren't quite so simple to pick out on first listen. That even extends to themes. Earlier this year, Bunji and Hunter had a big hit in Bring It…and I recently found out that two Bajan artistes plan to celebrate the virtues of RUM this year too.
Contone is one of them. He has big TINGs up his sleeve with a song that samples Rehab by Amy Winehouse.
Biggie Irie brought the Caribbean together in 2007 when he became the first foreigner to win the Groovy Soca Monarch crown in Trinidad. Right now he's busy compiling his first ever soca album. For Crop Over he will release 5 new songs. "Break Away" and "Bigg Girlz" are two groovy tunes produced by Dwain Antrobus, the guy who brought us Wining Season and Assume De Position last year. The last 3 songs in production with Chris Allman. Biggie's songs will start to hit the airwaves by the end of May.
South of the border the month of June is National Caribbean American Heritage Month. So, the community of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida will be getting together to celebrate the 14th anniversary of UNIFEST. It's a pan-Caribbean festival organized by the Greater Caribbean American Cultural Coalition. On June 1st, Leon Coldero, Nigel Lewis and Juliette Mills will be bring the soca vibrations.I'm Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay's Rounds. Leave me your comments at the Nurse Karen Etc Blog at triple W dot mustardseeds dot net. Now back to de docta!


The Rounds: Original Square One to Release a new tune for Crop Over

>> Sunday, April 20, 2008

Good Evening Soca Lovers, I’m Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay’s Rounds. Big week my people! It’s carnival time in St. Maarten, Netherland Antilles and they plan to turn up the heat until May 3rd. Last night, Destra and Ziggy Ranking met Keyshia Cole for R&B meets Soca. ON Friday, it’s time for, Faye-Ann, Bunji, Bomani and the Small Axe Band to get the locals in the mood at the Senior Road March Competition.
On your the last edition of the rounds I gave you a peak at America’s upcoming Spring Carnival, so I figured it would only be fair to deliver some Summer Carnival scoop from the Eastern Caribbean.
St. Lucia’s SLU Records tells me that we definitely have not seen the last of Ricky T. He’s just signed on to a summer long U.S. performance tour that will be marketed to 30 million Americans. But the real hype out of Studio 758 is a new Lucian artist who goes by the name of ILAH Man. Irvin Ace Loctar describes him as a cross between Bunji and Sizzla, but still soca. Can’t wait to hear it mehself!
One Island down in St. Vincent, I’m starting to think that 2008 will be the year of the woman! 18-year-old Danielle Veira just released her solo carnival debut called J’ouvert. You might know Danielle from the second season of Digicel Rising Star, you know the competition that brought us Kimberly Inniss, and Kyron Baptiste? Well, jouvert has all the essentials, bass, brass and flawless vocals. Kinda takes me back to a time I’m too young to even remember. Speaking of age, Tortola’s songbird Jalena flew in to SVG today to celebrate her birthday with friends. This former Da Bhann vocalist of German ancestry is excited about the popularity of her new song Boring Flex featuring Problem Child.
Crop Over is finally back on my radar! On Wednesday the National Carnival Foundation held their press breakfast to announce a slew of changes to the festival. The most significant being a change in the route for the Kadooment Day Jump-Up. Mr. Dale attended the press launch after being commissioned to produce an official jingle called We Ready.
While all of them were enjoying free breakfast, poor Barry Chandler had to skip the bacon and eggs. The Jabae frontline vocalist told me that he’s on a strict vegetarian diet to lose a few lovable lumps in time for Crop Over.
When I was in high school, I was on a strict diet called Square One. That band literally MELTED fat with their waist -pelting rhythms. Great News! Alison Hinds, Andy “Blood” Amstrong and Oshaka will be getting together for a special reunion concert on July 26th. They were on air Thursday morning leaking the news that they will be releasing a new song together this season. Oh, and by the way Blood’s got a new album!
I’m Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay’s Rounds. Be sure to download the podcast from and leave me your comments at the Nurse Karen Etc blog at triple w dot mustardseeds dot net


The Rounds: Byron Lee swaps in Chemo for Carnival

>> Sunday, April 13, 2008

Good Evening Soca Lovers!
I'm Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay's rounds. Spring is definitely here. So carnival is blossoming all over this great continent…and beyond.
It all started last month when Byron Lee, who happens to be suffering from cancer, couldn't keep himself away from the 20th anniversary of Jamaica Carnival. The 73-year-old musician was in the middle of Chemo therapy when he climbed atop the big truck for some old time Tiney Winey with his band. On Friday, he finally returned to Miami for treatment.
May is gonna be a very festive season right here in Toronto with big time events like Gyal Farm, and the first ever 2-day long Soca or Die. But don't think we're the only ones pumping the soca. The rest of North America is joining right in.
More news from the International Reggae and World Music Awards: Montserrat's stunningly beautiful Jadine will sing and D Life from New York's Hot 97 will be offering a special LIVE soca mixdown for the crowd at the Apollo on May 4th. By The Way, Alison Hinds was also blessed with a nomination .
You think Trinidad is the only land of Oil and Music? Next weekend, Fiesta San Antonio begins. It's a 10-day multicultural carnival that's enjoying a little more Caribbean influence now that West Indians are flocking to Texas for oil jobs. It's touted to be one of of America's Largest festivals.
No doubt, America's largest festival WEEKEND has got to be the Memorial Day long weekend at the end of May. It plays host to Carnivals in Orlando, Atlanta, and San Francisco. Stay tuned to the Rounds for the highlights of each. With all those carnivals happening next month, Kes the Band is most excited to be performing in Los Angeles next month at the infamous Temple Bar. What can I say? big tings fuh we music!
Back in the Caribbean, St. Thomas ,Virgin Islands is ready for mas again. One of the biggest events on their calendar will happen on April 23rd at the Reichhold Centre for the Arts. Machel Montano and Xtatik will join VI based bands; Jam Tyme and the Bouncers Band for the annual J'ouvert Warm up. Jam Tyme has two new tracks for 2008 in "Champions" and "Jamming on the Road." And the Bouncers have already started to move the crowds with a chune called "Skip n Dip."
Over on another so-called Virgin Island, there's a producer by the name of Alton Bertie. You first heard me mention him months ago when I let you in on Shurwayne's big groovy tune for 2008. Bertie produced it after meeting Mr. Winchester in a Puerto Rico airport. And this weekend, the Tortola-based producer had to fly into the Trinidad airport to receive an award for Carnival Please Stay...the production that went on to win the 2008 Trinidad Groovy Soca Monarch title.
I'm Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay's Rounds. Your comments are always welcome. So check out the Nurse Karen Etc blog online at triple Now back to de Docta!


Booster Shot: Your fastest route to the hottest new soca podcast!

>> Saturday, April 12, 2008

I announced the *new* Dr. Jay's Rounds podcast about a month ago, but I realize I've got some "splaining to do". Some of you wander on to (Nurse) Karen (Etc) by complete fluke. You happen to be on Google searching all kinds of stuff like "Go Down Low Lyrics", "Hypa Hoppa" or "Nurse Karen's phone number" and you end up here.
So, you likely don't know what all this podcast talk is all about.

The posts on this blog that are marked "The Rounds" are based on a weekly soca news commentary that I do live on FM radio every Sunday night in Toronto. The station is FLOW 93.5 FM, a hits station with an urban slant, boasting kick @$$ caribbean programming on Sunday nights.

The show is called Soca Therapy. It features one of the world's top Soca DJ's - none other than Dr. Jay de Soca Prince. Well if I work with him, and he's the doctor...then I must be a nurse! You get it now? We come on from 6 pm - 9 pm on Sundays. Check it nah!

After two great years and some months of synthesizing the week's biggest soca happenings into one slick little report, I finally got the go ahead to record the segment as a podcast. I have to big up Toronto's own MP Studios for all the technical support. It's a big step...and it's waving the soca flag higher!

So, if you don't live in Toronto or you just want to be sure that you never miss an episode of Dr. Jay's Rounds with your nurse Karen...make sure to subcribe to the podcast. It's the only one of its kind, featuring artist news, music releases, carnival info and anything else that might matter to the soca music connoiseur.

If you click this link...

Subscribe to Dr. Jay's Rounds

You will open the world`s only international soca radio report it in the iTunes library. Then all you have to do is click subcribe. It will automatically download to your computer, and you'll hear the latest every week.

Here at (Nurse) Karen (Etc) you can look forward to so much more! As Spring unfolds in Soca City, we're looking forward to Band Launchings, Big Fetes, Caribana...etc! Check here often to find out exactly what ETC means: pictures, videos, exclusive interviews, artist profiles...and general bacchanal, etc.

There's a lot going on besides what you hear on the radio each week. I am lucky enough to hear some of it when I'm interviewing artists for the magazine articles I write. I'm excited to spread the word when DJs, and other industry professionals ask my to whip them up a new bio. It's my duty to represent it when mas camps, and studios request my help with press releases, etc.

Until now, you haven't had the chance to show you how many hard working professionals I have the privilege of connecting with in this crazy soca biz! So get ready for more; unpublished interview quotes, profiles, and true life stories, etc

Leave me your comments, suggestions, comments, and tips. I love hearing from you.
It's going to be a HOT CRAZY SUMMER, and I feel blessed to have you along for the ride!

With love,

(Nurse) Karen (etc!)

P.S. If you are in Canada or the US, you can leave me a a voicemail message by clicking the CALL ME icon on the right hand side. I might even post the audio on the blog!


The Rounds: Kevin Lyttle mourns the loss of his beloved mother

>> Tuesday, April 8, 2008

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

Antigua and Barbuda has a brand new International Music Festival coming June 12 -15. It’s called Romantic Rhythms and it features the likes of Keyshia Cole, Brian McKnight and Kenny Rogers! Shaggy and Maxi Priest will be showing love reggae-style, and in the soca arena, Miss Destra Garcia and Atlantik will balance out the Caribbean vibes. Here's a shot of me with the guys from Atlantik. We were liming at Glow in St. Vincent. You'll notice they aren't wearing the right colour!

If you draw a straight line going east from the Caribbean, you’ll eventually hit the gold coast of Africa. There you’ll find a group called 5Five that’s making a lot of buzz with their song African Gurlz. The local music in Ghana consists of two infectious styles called Highlife and Hiplife. They aren’t all that different from popular Caribbean sounds, because those very African Rhythms are the foundation of OUR modern music. The 5Five hit is a foray into the genre of soca music, and this week the duo is ecstatic to be nominated for FIVE 2008 Ghana Music Awards. We wish them good luck, whether they win Discovery of the Year, Hiplife Artiste of the Year, Song of the Year, Pop Song of the Year, OR Hiplife Album of the Year – Any win is a big forward for Soca Music internationally. And I support dat!

I was fortunate to travel to Africa for the first time last Spring. I was in Ghana during the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of independence from British rule. Here's a picture of me at the Cape Coast slave castle. That was a very emotional day.

The Summer Olympics will be taking place in Beijing this year(if the boycotts are unsuccessful), and today the torch made its circuit through London England. The Royal city made sure the relay acknowledged every element that makes it a world class destination. One of those elements is the annual Notting Hill Carnival. When the torch made its way to Ladbroke Grove at 10 o’clock this morning, a mini-carnival was waiting there for it. That’s the area where Europe’s largest outdoor festival takes place every August. For FOUR hours, Londoners reveled in Caribbean food and music as they looked ahead to the Olympic games.

And this is me, playing mas at the REAL Notting Hill Carnival...

Happy belated birthday greetings go out to a couple of top Caribbean musicians! Kees’s big brother Jon Dieffenthaller turned 29 on Monday. He’s the guitarist from Kes the Band. Over in St. Vincent, Alex “Kubiyashi” Barnwell, was ringing in his Champagne birthday on the very same day. He burst on the scene in 2005, with the Lava Slide Riddim, A production that featured tracks by soca artistes from six different countries. But you probably know him best as the producer of Zoelah’s smash hit Go Down Low.

Last Summer, Kubiyashi was hanging in Toronto for Caribana. Here we are at CIUT 89.5 FM. Kubi's being interviewed on the World Wide Wake Up Show by Jester and Chief.

Lastly, the entire Soca Therapy family wishes to express our deepest sympathy to Kevin Lyttle and his family in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and abroad on the passing of his mother earlier in the week. The mother and son shared a unique bond…and she will definitely be missed. Here's a shot I snapped of Kevin in happier days. He had just performed at Maddzart's Wild Out in Wred party in SVG in 2006.

I’m Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay’s Rounds. Please send me your comments online at the Nurse Karen Etc blog at triple w dot mustardseeds dot net. And don’t forget to download the podcast. Now back to de docta!



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