Q&A: What is Destra's phone number?...and more!

>> Monday, March 30, 2009

The Nurse answers your questions!

In this edition: Bunji Garlin, Destra Garcia, Fay Ann Lyons, Machel Montano, Sheldon Benjamin,  St. Lucia Carnival, Aex Jordan, Tobago Soca Monarch.

Q.  When did Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons get married?

A.  Trinidad’s IT  couple tied the knot in Trinidad on December 23, 2006.

Q.  When was Fay-Ann’s baby born?

A.  Baby Alvarez, Syri,  is the daughter of Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez and Ian Alvarez aka Bunji Garlin. She came to the world via C-Section, on Saturday, February 28, 2009.

Q.  Did Machel Montano have a show in Toronto on March 7? 

A. There was a facebook event advertising an appearance by Machel Montano HD on March 7th.  However, Machel Montano did not have a confirmed booking in Toronto on that date.  The fete that ensued featured performances from Patch (T&T), Berbice (Grenada) and  Fireman Hooper (SVG)

Q.  Is Shel Shok ill?

A.  This question requires some sensitivity on my part. So, I’ve allowed Sheldon Benjamin to address this one himself.

“I don't go by the name Shel Shok anymore and I am not on soca and carnival. As for health, I am very sick but it will be a long road to recovery. I have to be in bed all the time staying off my feet, ”
Sheldon Benjamin (March 28, 2009)

Q. What was the name of Byron Lee’s band in the seventies?

A.  Mr. Lee’s band was none other than Byron Lee and the Dragonaires.  He started the band in Jamaica way back in 1950, by Byron Lee and his friend Carl Brady.  It continues today, even after the death of Byron Lee on November 4, 2008.  So, in the seventies, it was the very same band!!!!

Q.  When is Destra Garcia’s birthday?

A. Soca star Destra Garcia was born on November 10, 1977 in Trinidad.

Q. What is Destra Garcia’s phone number?

A.  LOL.  You must be mad!  You can always ask her manager for that.  Keep in mind he’s also her man, so, try yuh best!!

Q.  When is Fay-Ann Lyons birthday?

A.  Fay-Ann Lyons was born on November 5, 1980....of musical stock.  She is the daughter of Calypsonian Lady Gypsy, and Superblue!

Q.  When is St. Lucia Carnival 2009?

A.  It’s coming soon!  Carnival Monday and Tuesday are July 20th and 21st.

Q.  What is Lava Man’s real name?

A.  When he’s not sending Grenada’s soca crowds into frenzied madness, Lava Man is known as Marcus James.

Q.  Did Alex Jordan leave the BBC 1xtra Soca show?

A.  I asked Alex the same question a few months ago.  Here’s what she said:

“I did. First DJ to ever resign from Radio 1. Well I decided that I wanted to move back to Barbados for a bit as I've been missing my family - and after initially discussing if I could do it from there, logistics wouldn't allow. They are having DT do it and are looking for someone full time in the meantime. My move is to the islands to involve myself in radio/TV/music there, so I'll still be on the scene.”
Alex Jordan (December 5, 2008) 

 Q. Who were the competitors for Tobago Soca Monarch 2009?

A.  The Tobago Soca Monarch competition was held at the Golden Star Entertainment Center, Crown Point, Tobago on February 13th 2009. You already know that Fire Empress took the crown, but here are the rest of the finalists who did battle that night; 

 Baby Vybz, 

Culture B, 

Dave Sampson, 

Jackie Reid, 


Kerrecia de Defender, 


Mauri Hall, 

Mr. Fusion, 

Princess Adana, 

Rheena Riley, 



Wendell Frederick.

More questions?  Post your comments below, or add me on Twitter 




The Rounds: Big Baby Announcement!

>> Sunday, March 29, 2009

Good Evening Soca Lovers, I’m Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay’s Rounds. This is a big news week.  So listen to my every word, you don’t want to miss a very big announcement coming at the end.  

The drama continues after The Caribbean Prestige foundation staged their prize giving ceremony in Port of Spain last week Friday.  Triple crown carnival star Fay Ann Lyons and her husband, Bunji Garlin, still haven’t receive prize money for their 1st and 2nd place finishes at the International Soca Monarch competition, held in February.  Instead, they got all dressed up to bring home letters, saying the cash and prizes were withheld because they didn’t to sign contracts before the show.   So it’s their fault, right?  Wrong!  According to management, the Soca couple didn’t get even get contracts to sign until after the competition... and when they did, the paperwork in question enforced a mandatory donation be made to the Foundation.  That’s like buying a roti, and you not allowed to eat it unless you give back  a piece of goat to de cook.  Steups...I wouldn’t sign that either.  So many artists are kinda vex with the situation, although some did sign the contracts to get 95% of their appearance fee.  Others signed NADA, and still got paid the taxed amount.  Can you say unprofessional?

There is one soca monarch competitor, who’s actually smiling after news they received from the Caribbean Prestige Foundation.  St. Vincent’s Skinny Fabulous got a call to tell him that he was awarded the honour of “Best Stage Presentation”, for his space age rendition of Head Bad (On the Spot).  If you didn’t see it, Skinny filled the stage with an army of Jedi space men, dressed in white...and appeared in a flying saucer....well, it wasn't FLYING! But it WAS a pretty spaceship, hand built and welded mas, covered in shear silver fabric.  The original concept earned him a trophy.  Cash...mussee hard to come by these days.

Benjai, who placed 3rd in the Groovy Soca Monarch turned 33 last Sunday.  To celebrate, he partied it up at the 601 Liquid Lounge in San Fernando Trinidad.  He even treated the audience with a special live performance.

As I move away from all things to do with Soca Monarch, Antiguan artist Pince of Fame is making a temporary move away from Soca.  He released dancehall track yesterday called “Sweet to the heart, bitter to the belly”.  It’s on the Don Official label distributed by VP records. Prince of Fame rose to popularity last Summer with The Times Table song, for Antigua Carnival.  But no fear, there will be soca music on his upcoming album, due out in June.

Last but not least!  Just 4 weeks and one day after the birth of Bunji and Fay Ann’s beautiful baby girl...I finally get to tell you what her name is.  I spoke to the proud parents this morning, and got their blessing just for you. Ready?  Announcing Syri Lyons Alvarez, that’s S-Y-R-I, Lyons is the middle name, and well...you get it.  Congrats again to the new parents, hope allyuh get your money. 

I’m Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay’s Rounds.  For more soca news, check out the Nurse Karen Etc blog at Mustard Seeds dot net. And scoop up the podcast at Soca Therapy dot com slash the rounds.

Help the campaign to Bring Soca to MySpace.  Soca Now!


Booster Shot: Bunji and Fay Ann release Baby's name.

Crazy world isn't it? These days, music fans are fans of every detail of the lives of the people pumping out hits. In this case, Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons are the stars of choice!

On February 28, 2008 Fay Ann ushered a healthy albeit, premature baby girl into this cold cruel world. She came along right after the most successful carnival season of her mommy's life.

She won International Soca Monarch, Groovy Soca Monarch and People's Choice...oh yeah, and a little contest they call Road March too.

Four days later a condition called pre-eclampsia threatened both Fay and baby's life,leading to a birth by c-section an entire month ahead of schedule. Yesterday marked 4 weeks since that day.

So, I phoned Fay-Ann and Ian (Bunji) this morning to get special permission to let you know what they've named their little bundle of joy.


Syri Lyons Alvarez

say it with me now... SUH-RYE! And yes, according to Bunji "Lyons" IS the middle name.

Now that you know...stop asking me! LOL

Love and Soca,

(Nurse) Karen

P.S. Don't want to miss news like this again. Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/nursekaren


(Eye Unit): Happy Birthday Benjai!

>> Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Benjai turned 33 recently and he marked his big day with a performance on Friday at the 601 Liquid Lounge in San Fernando, Trinidad.  The artist whose real name is Rodney Le Blanc, is recognized for his quirky antics and signature sayings on the mic.  Many current day soca artistes have been compared to their dancehall counterparts for their aggressive chatting style, but in my opinion, Benjai's sound harkens back to the golden age of dub, with a laid back sing songy playfulness that reminds you more of jazz scatting than fire flinging lyricism.

Carnival 2009 reminded Trinidad and Tobago that Benjai is very much alive and well.  After a couple of seasons bumping around with the HD Entourage, he was seen in concert gracing the stage with an updated version of his original band of Guntas, Asylum.  

So today, lemme pay a wee tribute to the guy who had had me forgetting that I was in Trinidad to work!  When the tunes "Tanty Seh" and "Drunk Again" came on the loud speaker, I was a screaming 14-year-old girl, just loving the carnival.

Thanks Benjai, and Happy Birthday!

Take in his much criticized stripped down, but completely infectious performance of "Drunk" again at the Grooy Soca Monarch Competition on Carnival Friday 2009. For this, he landed a 3rd place finish with nothing but a smile and his music.


Need more?  I posted the video once before with commentary.  Check it.


Booster Shot: No Money for Fay-Ann, the Bacchanal Continues.

>> Monday, March 23, 2009

Booster Shot:  The soca Monarch drama continues in good old Trinidad.  Last night at the so-called prize giving ceremony, a glamorous post pregnancy Fay-Ann Lyons left without a penny for her soca monarch wins.  The prize distribution and awards ceremony was held at the Cacadia Hotel in St. Ann’s Trinidad. Lyons expected to be awarded TT $1 million and a car for International Soca Monarch.  For Groovy Monarch the prize owed prize is $150,000.  She also earned an additional $50,000 for being voted People’s Choice.   Many artistes boycotted the event.

The organization responsible for staging the soca monarch show, The Caribbean Prestige Foundation, is claiming that Lyons failed to sign a contract with CPF, and as a result no cheque was issued. The document requires her to defend her titles next season, while restricting her from accessing the complete sum owed to her for this year’s success.

According to Newsday, Fay-Ann says the contract in question was presented to her after the competition, stipulating that she give five per cent of her winnings to the Caribbean Prestige Foundation.  I also read that the Toyota vehicle she won, and the cash would be held until said contract was signed. Both Fay-Ann and husband Ian Alvarez...Bunji Garlin, expressed opinions their disgust over mandatory conditions being tied to the prize moneys after the fact.  The CPF Executive President, Greg Fernandez, told the media that contracts were given to all artistes at the draw for positions, days before the finals.

While many artistes admit to receiving their contracts ahead of time, Fay-Ann Lyons and Bunji Garlin are certainly not the only two who refused to sign away five per cent of the prize money.  The list of artists left hanging by the situation includes Nadia Batson, Hunter, Shurwayne Winchester, all who did not receive appearance fees and prize monies.  However, the Guardian is reporting that Blaxx and Kerwin Du Bois, were paid in spite of their choice not to sign the document as well. As you might guess, five percent was deducted without their consent.

It’s a sticky situation, further casting a shadow of doubt over the CPF for its shrewd approach to capitalizing on the soca culture.  If I may throw my voice into the debate, I’ve got to ask:  Mr. Fernandez, do your corporate sponsors at bMobile and the National Lotteries know that your organization was attempting to siphon a percentage of THEIR money back into the CPF purse?  Where I come from, we call that fraud.  If the money your organization received was earmarked for prizes, better yet, if you are going to publicly advertize the rewards at a certain value, you are obligated to pay all of that money to those who worked for it, THE ARTISTS.  Maybe you’d understand me better if I speak in showbiz terms.  PAY THE TALENT.  Sounds to me, this was never about carnival and culture for you anyway.  So, the CPF thinks they have the right to enforce some kind of income tax?  Ok whatever...well next year, I hope you announce that loud and clear while you’re boasting about your million dollar top prize. 

The organizers should be embarassed.  

For my earlier coverage of this schupitness:




EYE UNIT: Drinks Reach - New from Problem Child and Skinny Fabulous

>> Sunday, March 22, 2009

I should be at church.  So, I'm already feeling a little guilty for posting this particular video montage of the latest uptempo video collaboration from SVG's Problem Child and Skinny Fabulous.  The tune is called "Drinks Reach.  From the looks of it, dem boys not stalling at all for Vincy Mas 2009.

Check out this mish mash of pics an clips posted to YouTube yesterday. There's a lot of great footage from right here in Toronto, including a few clips that were once removed from YouTube for the very same boyswillbeboys behaviour. See if you can spot a little cameo appearance of me!


OK....gone to pray now.

Love and Soca,

(Nurse) Karen


Nurse's Lounge: Carlton Brown at LG Fashion Week (video)

>> Friday, March 20, 2009

When I'm not blogging or these days, tweeting, I'm known to make the most of living in one of North America's great cities.  So, I  was pretty excited to have a friend offer me some VIP tix to the Carlton Brown show "Fall With a Caribbean Twist"at LG Fashion Week tonight. 

True, I tend to have a great time experimenting with style, but I know nada about the matter in real terms.  In high school one of my best friends cut me from modeling in the end of the year fashion show.  That may explain why I've been rebelling ever since.

Tonight I played fashion voyeuse, taking in a menswear line by a much talked about Jamaican designer called Carlton Brown.  I know this isn't about soca, but sit tight, Jamaica carnival is happening now, so I figure this man may as well be newsworthy.

LG Fashion Week is a pretty glitzy affair; parties, cocktails and the like with some fashion heaped in for good measure.  The "Brown" event was no exception.  The show began with a special appearance by veteran Jamaican-Canadian model, Stacey McKenzie...who I haven 't seen in the flesh since interviewing her for ECHO TV in, like, 2005. The soundtrack was popular Jamaican dancehall Dub plates from Sean Paul, Brick and Lace and Elephant Man.  

I spotted some of who I consider to be black Toronto's who's who, like Ngozi Paul (co-writer, co-star of Da Kink in My Hair series),  Tonya Lee Williams ( of Young and the Restless fame), fellow poet Dwayne Morgan, and Suzanne Boyd ( former Editor-in-Chief of Flare Magazine and Suede Magazine...not sure what she's up to now, other than looking FAB.)

The clothes -- does my opinion even matter?  Rich fabrics, with paterned overlays in hues that, though muted, make a bold statement for men.  He was trying this one armed man-shrug, that was cute on the runway for sure...but not my cup of tea.  

Though a few styles fails to satisfy MY style appetite, the models delivered a sumptuous buffet of aestetics! Special thanks to whoeveryouare at City TV for not showing up.  The seat was amazing.

Love and Soca,

(Nurse) Karen

P.S. The video was an after thought, but I guessed some of you might enjoy it.  Please let me know if you do!


Soca Now: Tabia endorses the campaign to get soca on MySpace!

>> Thursday, March 19, 2009

I've got to big up a young Vincy soca artiste with a big heart.  Tabia just added her voice and face to the list of people actively supporting the SOCA NOW MOVEMENT! For those of you who thought this was over...think again! We need YOU to keep writing emails to myspace to demand a category for soca.

If you don't know Tabia, she's a young artiste who is actively preparing to make a splash for Vincy Mas 2K9. One of the LIME Soca Dans, Tabia performs and works alongside some of St. Vincent's top artistes including, Fireman Hooper, Jamesy P, Luta and DJ Twenty.

Here's a shot of Tabia and me grabbing a bite at X-cape in St. Vincent 2008

She's just returned from NYC where she completed a series of studio sessions with top producers; The Great Zeee (Juk Up Riddim 2008), and Parry Jack (Zoelah's "Wine Up On Me" 2008)

I've heard an early demo of one of her Ragga Socas (Groovy), and I'm already sold.

Please, show your support for Tabia and the SOCA NOW Movement by listening to her special
 message and getting involved!

Where to connect with SOCA NOW

MySpace Group
MySpace Page
Facebook Group

(Please repost and "retweet" Stay connected and do your part!

... add it now!

Love and Soca,

(Nurse) Karen

P.S. Soca Artists...we can use every one of you to champion this cause! Connect with soca now on myspace and send in your own message to the fans. THANX!


Booster Shot: "Soca Junkiez" fashion line straight from Yard!

>> Tuesday, March 17, 2009

There's a new t-shirt line called Soca Junkiez, and it may surprize you where it's from!

JAMAICA!!!! That's right.  Don't underestimate the land of reggae, jerk and Blue Mountain coffee!  They've got love for Soca Music too.

The line was created by a youth called Neil Davis, a Jamaican with a passion for soca music.  He told the Jamaica Gleaner, he found that soca did not have such a strong foundation in Jamaica and the soca music being played left much for real soca lovers to desire. 

A facebook group called Bacchanal Soca Junkiez was created to give these young people a place to express themselves.  Davis then decided to cash in on what he refers to as the Soca Lifestyle...by creating something to help those music lovers identify themselves.

He bigs up Mr. Dale's chune "Soka Junkie", saying that the lyrics embody everything he wanted a line to represent.

"I set out to develop a brand that would revive soca culture in Jamaica by reuniting self-proclaimed soca junkies who are living life, celebrating the soca lifestyle and who just genuinely love soca music," says Davis.

Jamaica Carnival is just around the corner and Davis' timing couldn't be better...


The Rounds: False alarm, CPF to pay Fay-Ann all she's owed.

>> Monday, March 16, 2009

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

It's St. Patricks's Day Weekend in Toronto, and Calle Ocho weekend in Miami. So, south Florida’s biggest Latin festival is on and popping with a little soca, mixed in for good measure.
Today, Kevin Lyttle appears on the Power 96 stage alongside Shaggy and Brooke Hogan.

A shot I grabbed of Kevin Lyttle at home in St. Vincent, back in 2006

Kevin’s working to push out a sophomore album for the North American market this year. You can expect guest appearances from man like Pitbull, "Mr. Boombastic" – Shaggy, even Fat Joe. Weird, right?

With Destra in Toronto in '08

While we’re talking about new soca albums. Get your hands on these: Trini Jacobs has got one. Destra's got HOTT. I would STRONGLY recommend "On in 5" by Kes the Band. Oh and for the big people... check calypso vet, David Rudder for "Trinidad Stories." You can download them from Trinidadtunes.com or bug your local music seller and make them stock the music YOU love.

King David Rudder in Washington, D.C., in January 2009.

This was a topsy-turvy week for Trinidad’s reigning soca Queen Fay-Ann Lyons. She received a letter from the organizers of the International Soca Monarch competition informing her that her prize money would be slashed due to the economic down turn. Yes, you heard me right! The Caribbean Prestige Foundation was blaming its main sponsor, the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs for going back on its promise to provide a $1 Million first prize for the winner of the Power Soca Category on Fantastic Friday. Just two days ago, there was a big uproar in Trinidad when the news got out that Fay-Ann would be getting just $750 thousand instead.

The Nurse and Fay-Ann, Toronto 2008

Well, I have some good news for you. Late yesterday, the president of the Caribbean Prestige foundation issued a release apologizing for his very SCHUPID error. Fay-Ann will get the $1 million after all, plus all the cash she’s owed for Groovy Monarch and Peoples Choice. He’s now saying that he mistook the Ministry’s recommendation for a directive. That means, he thought the government wasn’t going to fork out the cash at all. Truth be told, they just well cheap and were HOPING to keep a little extra in their pockets. The wretches.

All’s well that ends well I guess!

I’m Nurse Karen, and those were Dr. Jay’s Rounds. Check out Nurse Karen Etc on facebook or mustard seeds dot net for more juicy soca news. And don’t forget, the only soca news podcast, Dr. jay’s rounds is available for download at soca therapy dot com. Now, back to de docta.


Booster Shot: Fay-Ann's Soca Monarch Prize Money Slashed!

>> Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hey All...

Latest scoop...Mrs. Lyons-Alvarez won't be getting TT $1 Million for winning the International Soca Monarch crown during Carnival. According to a letter sent to Fay-Ann (dated March 5) by Caribbean Prestige Foundation President, Gregory Fernandez, the amount is $750,000.  Seems they're trying to soften the blow by saying she's getting a car.  Even in Trini dollars, I'll take the d@mn money, thanks.

Well let me be the first to say: That is total BS. We all remember the announcement in 2008 stating that the 2009 prize for the category would increase to seven figures.

I was at the Soca Monarch shows in two other Caribbean countries where all competitors were well aware that a win at their local Soca Monarch show would mean a chance at a $1 Million prize.

So what happened? My guess is, the same foolishness that caused appearances fees to be quietly slashed unbeknownst to the mainstream media in years gone by.

The official word, however, and I quote and excerpt of the letter to be printed in Kristy Ramnarine's article in tomorrow's Express :

" We write to the statement made by the Honourable Marlene Mc Donald of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, that the first prize of the International Soca Monarch will be to the value of $750,000 and not $1,000,000 due to the economic downturn in the country.

"We regrettably wish to advise that the Ministry is responsible for the payment of the prize money, as such, the organisation has no option but to comply with the Minister's position as failure to do so will jeopardise the payment of the prize money which is due to you. All other prize money due to you remains the same."

Well, ain't that something! They basically saying...agree to it, or get nothing. That reeks of banana republic corruption to me. (Who vex, loss! This kind of governance reminds the world that the Caribbean still has a long way to go.)

Bad economy or not, if I as a journalist print false information I can (and will) be held accountable. So who holds the Trinidad goverment AND the Caribbean Prestige Foundation accountable when they mislead an entire nation as well as hundreds of thousands of soca afficionados around the globe? Who, you may ask? I do.

Pay the woman her dues.

Nuff said.

Love and Soca, 

(Nurse) Karen

P.S.  The Prize-giving ceremony is March 20.  I'll keep on the job to see how much she really gets.  I don't think de Alvarez camp are the type to take it lying down.


Digest: Maniacal March!

(Nurse) Karen (Digest): Maniacal March

We’re Marching forward into Spring, here’s what’s new with Nurse Karen...

Random Newness: This month Nurse Karen is thrilled to conduct a series of artist interviews to assist artiste, Skinny Fabulous in completing his Honours Thesis on the development of the soca genre. Now that the International Soca Monarch competition is out of the way, Skinny has resumed his studies at UWI Mona in Jamaica.

Journalism: Nurse Karen is pleased to contribute to YO! Magazine in St. Lucia for the very first time. Her piece on Zoelah will appear in a special issue available in print and online on Saturday, March 14th. Look for it at http://www.yomagazine.net

Travel: After a hectic schedule in Trinidad, Karen is happy to spend the month of March at home in Toronto. If you missed the action in T&T, Karen put together some YouTube clips, to show you a little bit of what you missed.

See them here: http://mustardseedmedia.blogspot.com/search?q=Eye+Unit
Links are also posted to the group.

Poetry: The February classroom schedule was insanely hectic, but very rewarding. Nurse Karen performed for hundreds of students at Brookview Middle School and Westview Secondary school. This month, she’s focusing on big people. Why don’t you see her perform live at one of these two stimulating events?:

March 13th, Vice Entertainment presents OUTSPOKEN

March 14th, Torontopoets.com presents SATURDAY NIGHT LOVE

Community: The Soca Now Movement is alive and well. Now, there’s an actual myspace page, which makes it easier for people to interact. Add Soca Now as a friend! www.myspace.com/socanow1, and keep sending myspace those letters ca-help@support.myspace.com


Eye Unit: Happy Birthday Kees!

Kees rang in his 28th birthday on March 12th.  Friends and family threw him a  suprise birthday party at Port-of-Spain's 51 Degrees night club.  

Thursday is Karaoke night at 51.  The highlight of the birthday lime was a performance of Sparrows "Congo Man", by Kees' dad  Bunny Dieffenthaller.  Now it's proven music is the root of that family tree.  Kees' mom is a classical musician, brothers Jon and Hans play instruments in Kes the Band, and well Daddy, he may end up the next Trinidadian Idol. 

According to the Trinidad Guardian, it was hard to get Kees to his party.  He insisted that he wanted to spend a quiet evening.  However, the friend who accompanies him faked an emergency bathroom pit stop.  Needless to say, he took the bait. Also...needless to say...dat had to be a woman, cuz he wouldnta stop de car for no man who needed to buss a piss!  ...I'm just saying.  Sorry ladies...

Somebody had to tell you.

Well Kees, Happy Birthday!

For all the sad ladies, I pulled something to make you smile.

Here's Kes the Band performing Our Prayer


Booster Shot: Kevin Lyttle to appear at Calle Ocho 2009

>> Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Miami's Called Ocho festival is just around the corner, and this time around Kevin Lytlle will be performing on the POWER96 stage.  Called Ocho is considered to be America's largest Latin Carnival, and billed as "the biggest block party in the world"!   Lyttle will be taking his unique falsetto soca sound to the streets of Miami this Sunday, March 15. 

If you've been wondering what Kev's been up to lately, you obviously haven't been visiting (Nurse) Karen (Etc) very often!  Anyhoo, lemme fill you in.  He released a sophomore album in Japan in 2008, but there's an album in production for American album as we speak. He's got a single out called "Anywhere" featuring Flo Rida.  In the near future, you should also be hearing collaborations with the likes of Pitbull, Shaggy and Fat Joe.

If you're in the Miami area, make sure and take in a Lyttle soca  (ha ha ha, i kill me) at the POWER96 stage located on SW 8th Street and 17th Avenue in downtown Miami, from 11am to 7pm on Sunday.  They say Shaggy and Brook Hogan will be there too.  Enjoy the party...and let a girl know how it was!

Love and Soca, 

(Nurse) Karen

With Kevin Lyttle, home for carnival in SVG, June 2008


Eye Unit: Video Blog of The Return Fete

>> Monday, March 9, 2009

Event: Dr. Jay's Return Fete
Promoter: Dr. Jay, Soca Therapy, KOS
Venue: Kool Haus Toronto

. Dr. Jay, congrats on another great event. Welcome back!

For the rest of you, this is how we do it where I'm from Enjoy!

If you missed the event play-by-play, I can break it down for you here


Nurse's Lounge: Dr. Jay's Return Fete 2009

My lovely soca family. I ent gonna lie. When I come back from the Caribbean in the winter, the last thing I feel to do is party and celebrate. This weekend was no exception. Dr. Jay and de crew held their annual Return Fete at Kool Haus. The crowd was packed the way I like it: plenty people all over but a good amount of space to spread out and dance.

From the time I got inside, I knew it would be a great night. The crews were out in full force. The energy was high. I was armed with my recorder and some thought provoking questions for the cast. The artistes were amped for a good show. So, let the games begin.

First up was Shawn "Mastamind" Noel. For readers of this blog, you know him best as a top producer, who in just 4 years has produced 6 albums, lodging the Mastamind name firmly in the mind of soca heads like me.

He performed Rum and Roti while Patch was performing the same chune just a few blocks away at the Docks. For Shawn, it was his first time in Kool Haus since he was a part of Asylum Band. The homecoming was sweet. He was accompanied by his wife and manager Natasha, plus Toronto-based Calypsonian Naki Tuitt . (She won Peoples' Choice in 2008 at Caribana's Calypso Monarch Finals) .

Ricky T, caught his flight from St. Lucia this time. This was the make-up performance after missing Soca or Die in November. He paid his dues to the people of Toronto with an energetic show that brought out the flags and rags and powder in abundance.

Then came Zan. Most of you know him for being de dread locked dude in HD who is steady rocking capri shorts and bowties. Lemme just tell allyuh, I for one love off the fashion. More than that, I respect his skills as a very gifted songwriter.

Synergy TV's host of Soca Star, Terrin Callender aka Super Jigga TC wore red pants on Saturday *wink* *wink*. He was last in Toronto spinning tracks for Fay-Ann and Bunji back in December. It was great to see him take the stage as an artiste. New York, it's your turn next. Your favourite Bashment 103 pirate radio dj of yesteryear is returning to BK this weekend. Make sure allyuh go and check him out.

Well if we talking Bashment, you can't leave out Iwer George. De Boss closed out the performance part of the night. Long time I never heard some of those classic Iwer tunes. (Brooklyn, you know he's coming too, right?)

If you missed one of Toronto's most celebrated events on the fete callendar, yes I did grab you a couple of clips. Check them out in the EYE UNIT.

But before you go. Shout outs to a couple of hard working gents from different sides of the tracks: New York's DJ Spice (left), the reigning ISA International Soca DJ of the Year...and Penn from Studio 758 St. Lucia (right). You can hear his musical muscle flexing in all the uptempo productions out of that camp. Great seeing you boys. Keep up the good work!

Soca season 2009 is officially on. More fetes. More music. More fun. MORE SOCA!

Love as always,

(Nurse) Karen


Booster Shot: Serani takes on the Ban of Dancehall music in Jamaica

I was just surfing and came across this very interesting interview conducted by Fader with Serani. Now ah have to warn you the contents of this interview may have explict language be guided accordingly.

Personally, I am disappointed in Serani's view of soca stating "ALL soca is about SEX", when he collaborated on the 2009 track "All I Need"with Shurwayne , which had no sexual content. And it is alarming coming from an artist who is representing the views of many average Jamacians. It is safe to say that Carnival is not part of Jamacians Culture and so the depth of its history may be irrelevant to them. However, making such a blank statement in an interview of that magnitude is an eye opener.

Well ah make you be the judge, but you may come to my conclusion: the dancehall community is making soca music into their scapegoat for the issue facing them. They are frustrated that their own government is censoring homegrown dancehall and not "foreign" soca!

Peace & SOCA


Booster Shot: Study says certain music makes you dumb. We rank the worst!

Take a look at the graph below.  This is not my opinion, but I'd sure like to hear yours!


The Rounds: Soca Makes You Stupid!

Good Evening Soca Lovers,

I’m Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay’s Rounds! He’s Ba-ack!  You already know, your man Dr. Jay and the KOS Family have returned from Trinidad Carnival, and last night they gave Toronto a memorable souvenir in the form of Dr. Jay’s Return Fete.  The crowd was bazodee off with performances from Mastamind, Ricky T, Zan, TC and De Boss, Iwer George.  We may have lost an hour last night, but ah feel we found it this morning, cuz I didn’t get home till about 6 am.  So, go figure!

            Here’s a strange one...a college student from California just published a controversial albeit unscientific report on music that makes you dumb.  The study compares and contrasts the musical tastes of American students and their SAT scores.  And guess what: students who prefer soca music over and above all other genres, have the lowest SAT scores on average! I could hear allyuh sucking your teeth from here.  Don’t shoot the messenger!  If you want to see where other styles ranked, check the blog.

            Today is International Women’s Day.  Trinidad and Tobago is celebrating the occasion with events taking place throughout the country in schools and community organizations. In Port of Spain, they held a 5K walk run which wrapped up with a performance from some of the nation’s top female soca artistes and an all female section of the TCL Skiffle Bunch Steelband.

A date has been set for the 28th annual International Reggae and World Music Awards.  On May 3rd, a bevy of Caribbean artists will descend upon  Jamaica, New York at the York College Performing Arts Center.  Leading the nominations in 2009 is Mavado with 8 nods, then Elephant Man and Beres Hammond with seven.  But our thing is soca, and yes we’re represented too. Machel Montano, who was a big winner in 2008, is definitely back in the ranks.

            Now that the traditional carnival season has come to an end, next stop Jamaica. Alison Hinds kicked off the Bacchanal Jamaica mas camp fete calendar on Friday with a grand performance for an ecstatic crowd.  Bacchanal Jamaica Carnival was started in 1988 by Jamaican soca empresario Byron Lee, who died of cancer just last year. The festival climaxes easter weekend under the  2009 theme: Gone Hollywood!

I’m Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay’s Rounds.  For more information on anything you’ve heard tonight, check me out online at the Nurse Karen Etc blog at triple w dot mustard seeds dot net.  And get your weekly dose of Soca News by downloading the Rounds Podcast from Soca Therapy dot com.  Now, back to de docta!


On de Scene: St.Lucia Carnival 2009 Already Creating a Buzz!!

>> Saturday, March 7, 2009

With Trinidad Carnival just closing off , St.Lucia is already gearing up for one of the best carnival season's yet, come July 15th to 21st . I know, we ONLY in March and the buzz has began.

Bands such as Just 4 Fun ( which is one of the top party bands on the island) has already announced their theme and open registration for repeat revelers, with no costume display out yet ! But certainly those revelers know, when costumes are unveiled the band will close in a matter of days; so of course the talk has began and no carnival junkie wanna miss out on this!

Also newly reformed band ROYALTIES XTREME have teased St.Lucians with the display of one of their potential costumes in a press release today in the YO magazine! Their theme this year is "Africa Our Soul" and the teaser was depicting everything the theme incorporates.And Yes ,I will make you be the judge as well...

Royalties Xtreme for Carnival 2009

In terms of music, there are expected to be early releases beginning this month on local radio stations in St.Lucia ,as well as famous international websites. As to which artist to look out for or which riddim you have to get as a ringtone and what collaboration is the best ; well you have to stay tuned and watch it all unfold here or make a trip to St.Lucia for another Simply Beautiful Mas!

I certainly am excited and anticipating a great Carnival season and as for Nurse Karen and Her Toronto Posse , hope ya ticket booked for St.Lucia Mas 2k9!



Booster Shot: 2009 Mashramani Carnival Results

>> Friday, March 6, 2009

2009 Mashramani - Guyana Carnival Results
Band of the Year
1. Go Girls and Kairi Mystique
Depiction: “Western Bacchanal”
2. Carnival Corner
Depiction: "Mélé Mélanjé"

3. Thunder Bird
Depiction: "Fire and Ice"
First Lapo Kabwit on the road -- The Gutter Lapo Kabwit
Best Pappy Show -- The Religious ones
Best Individual on the road - Rohan James
Best Sennsé on Carnival Monday - St. Joseph group
First Steel Band on the road - Real Steel Band

Best Jou ouvé group -- Newtown pre-school
The award for the lapo kabwit band which played the longest on the road - The Newtown Lapo Kabwit.

Calypso Monarch
1. King Karessah
Songs: ‘Pastor’s Rod’ and ‘Calypso too patriotic’.
“Best Stage Presentation” Award
2. Observer
Songs: ‘Shut up legislation’ and ‘EIO’
3. Tarina
Songs: ‘Endangered Species’ and ‘Gwayé’

Junior Calypso Monarch – Sheldon Alfred / De Professor
Soca Monarch
1. Shellon Garroway/Shelly G
2. Vanilla

Carnival Queen (Miss Dominica) – Kayan Toussaint
Carnival Princess – Chrislin Tavernier
Miss Teen Dominica – Kelcia Righton

Road March
“Rude” -- Vanilla

Costume and Float Parade (Regional)
Full Costume - Medium
1. Region Three
2. Region Five

Full Costume – Small
1. Region Ten
2. Region Four
3. Region Seven in third

King -- Region Ten
Queen -- Region Four
Individual Male -- Region Three

Full Costume – Large
1. The Culture Ministry
2. Sophia Cultural Association
3. Hits and Jams Entertainment Band

Full Costume - Medium
1. Health Ministry
2. House and Water Ministry
3. Region Three

Full Costume - Small
1.  Education Ministry
2.  Region 10
3.  Region 4

Non-Commercial Float
1. The Culture Ministry
2. The Body of Christ
3. Slingshot

Semi-Costume – Large
1. Slingshot
2. Body of Christ
3. Don Gomes

King of the Band - Health Ministry
Queen of the Band -- Culture Ministry
Individual Male - Culture Ministry
Individual Female - Ministry of Labout, Human Services and Social Security

Republic Bank Pan-o-Rama Steelband Competition
1. North Ruimveldt Multilateral School 
2. Plaisance Community High second. 

Junior Solo
1. Akeem Pompey of the Pan Groove Steel Orchestra
2. Michael Smith Jr of the Secret Vision Steelband
3. Allana Noel of the Secret Vision Steelband 

Senior Solo
1.  Michael Smith of the Guyana Police Force Band
2. Clayton Daniels of the Pan Groove Steel Orchestra
3. Ray Sparman of the Guyana Polica Force Band

Church Bands:
1. St Andrew’s Kirk Steelband 
2. One Steel Orchestra 
3. Central Assembly of God Steelband

1. Parkside Steel Orchestra 
2. Magnificent Seven 
3. Pan Groove Steel Orchestra

Pan Jazz Quartet:
1. Parkside Steel Orchestra
2. Pan Groove 
3. Pan Wave 

 Illuminated and Decorated Buildings Competition - Schools
1. St Ambrose Primary 
2. East La Penitence Primary

Illuminated and Decorated Group Competition - Non-Commercial

1. National AIDS Programme Secretariat 
2. Guyenterprise Advertising Agency
3. National Communications Network 

Illuminated and Decorated Group Competition - Commercial

1. Guyana Water Inc won
2. Neal and Massy Ainlim 
3. Bounty Meat Centre, Kitty.

 Adult Calypso Competition - Senior
1. Lester ‘Professor’ Clarke 
2. Roger Hinds, aka Young Bill Rogers 
3. Estelle Simpson
4. Derrick Mangal aka Bright Colours

Junior Calypso Competition
1. Abigail James aka Singing AJ 
2. Shenelly Hunte
3. Tenneicia De Freitas

HIV/AIDS Song Competition
1. Young Bill Rogers 
2. Martin Byrne aka Mighty Voter
3. Dawn Edwards

Chutney Competition
1. Rajesh Dubraj 
2. Sandella Craig
3. Harresh Singh 
4. Beeshan Jairam,  also voted the most promising artist



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