Eye Unit: Happy Birthday Lil Bitts

>> Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sending warm  wishes to Miss Shivonne Churche aka Lil Bitts who will be dressing up as someone one year older for Halloween.  What I mean is...Happy Birthday!  From what I hear, Trinidad's smallest soca darling will be spending the day on a beach with her friends to celebrate the occasion.  Sound nice, huh?

Well Bitts!  Enjoy a much deserved day off today.  Looking forward to happy and successful year ahead.  Keep aiming high!

Love and Soca,

Nurse Karen

P.S.  Here's a nice lil home video of the Bitts at home with her hot shirtless brother (and songwriter) Sherrard performing their big hit from Carnival 2K9 "Hold Meh". Ooh, by the way his birthday was on October 20th. So happy b-day to you both!

Click their names to follow them both on twitter.


Free Download: Hyper Active's Soca Bashment Miami-Style 2K9

>> Friday, October 30, 2009

Nurse Karen and Hyper Leon in Brooklyn, September 2009

When you travel a lot , you soon figure out that every city definitely has it's own flavour when it comes to which songs and artist are hot for Carnival.  The timing of local festivities factors in too.  So when I saw this mix from Hyper Leon, I thought a few of you might get VERY excited.  This mix shows of the top tunes of Miami Carnival 2K9, nothing more, nothing less.  If you were there....this was pretty much what they played at the fetes and on the roads.

So, I gotta say a big thank you to Hyper Leon of Hyper Active Entertainment in New York for letting me post this for you. He's a busy guy, between playing all over the US and keeping the music pumping on FIRE 104.7 FM's" Free Up Fridays" (3 - 6pm) and "Soca Arena Saturdays" (6 - 9 pm).

You can check him out at the links below:


OR check out his DJ styleeeee by downloading his latest CD right   HERE

Full track listing below:


Track 2. Hold Yuh To Soca(Hyper Lee Mix)   By  Gyptain
Track 3. Fly Away By Machel Montano HD & Collie Buddz
Track 4. Break Up 2 Make Up By Ziggy Ranking 
Track 5. Shake Remix By Jamesy P & Luta 
Track 6. Jep Sting Remix By Hunter Ft Kes The Band & Ravi B
Track 7. Rum & Roti By  Patch & Da Ma$taMind
Track 8. Doh Give Me More Rum By Berbice
Track 9. Hold You Down By  Zan
Track 10. Bumpers By  Devon Matthews & Ziggy Ranking
Track 11. Wine For Me  By  Baba Shanta
Track 12. Wickedest Wine By Denise Belfon
Track 13. Standing Up Is Against The Law By Rupee
Track 14. 1 Juk By Lil Rick
Track 15. Glory Glory(Special) By Skinny Fabulous
Track 16. Waistline Roll By  Patrice Roberts
Track 17. Wine To Deh Back By  Allison Hinds
Track 18. Picante By Busy Signal
Track 19. Addicted By Bezo
Track 20. Wine Fast By Zan
Track 21. Looking To Wine By Farmer Nappy Ft General Grant
Track 22. Slow Wine By Machel Montano HD
Track 23. Work It By Patrice Roberts
Track 24. Murdah  By  Shurwayne Winchester
Track 25. Wuk Up On It/Im Not Drunk By  King Shepard/KMC
Track 26. Hot Sun & Riddum(Hyper Lee Mix) By Terencia TC Coward
Track 27. Dah Style Deh(Hyper Lee Mix)/All Nite Tll Morning By  Busy Signal & Statement
Track 28. Fun Fun By Benjai
Track 29. Hard For Me By Problem Child
Track 30. More Sweetness  By  Shayne Bailey
Track 31. Sweetness By Shayne Bailey
Track 32. More Water  By   Zoelah
Track 33. Woye Mama By Berbice
Track 34. Hold Dem/Obsessive Winers  By Lyrikal/Destra, Allison Hinds & Denise Belfon
Track 35. You A Mi Baby(Soca Mix)  By Vybz  Kartel
Track 36. She Cyah Wait(Hyper Lee Mix) By Demarco
Track 37. Plenty Gyal By Bunji Garlin & Beenie Man
Track 38. Yeast By  KMC
Track 39. Whole Night Long By Edwin Yearwood & Krosfyah
Track 40. Awright(Ramajay) By Machel Montano HD
Track 41. Thunda Mix By Kes The Band
Track 42. Heavy T Belly By Busy Signal & Fay-Ann Lyons-Alverez
Track 43. We Done Dey By Bunji Garlin
Track 44. Tanty Say By Benjai Ft Scarface 
Track 45. Drunk Again By Benjai
Track 46. Staggerah By Fadda Fox
Track 47. De Lumbah  By Wayne Marshall
Track 48. Jumper Cable By Young Voice
Track 49. First In Line By Zan Ft General Grant
Track 50. I In Dat By WildFIRE
Track 51. Drunk Man By Tallpree
Track 52. Bachaanal By Destra Garcia
Track 53. Won't Stop By Machel Montano HD
Track 54. Doan Hold We Back By Machel Montano HD
Track 55. Turn It Up By Patrice Roberts
Track 56. Spread Out By Lil Rick
Track 57. Antz In Yuh Sugar Pan By Jamesy P
Track 58. Juk Juk Juk By Stabby
Track 59. Meet Super Blue By Fay-Ann Lyons-Alverez 
Track 60. In De Middle Ah De Road By Edwin Yearwood & Krosfyah
Track 61. Mad House By Problem Child
Track 62. De Beast Leggo By Skinny Fabulous
Track 63. Tusty(Special) By Blaxx
Track 64. Wicked Jab By  Tallpree   

Love and Soca, 

Nurse Karen
P.S.  Never miss an update, follow me on twitter


Eye Unit: Happy Birthday Natasja Saad (RIP)

The video below isn't a soca song, but today I think it belongs here.  Most people in this scene never bothered to pay attention who Natasja Saad is, or rather WAS.  So I'm gonna tell you. Remember these lyrics?

"Easy now, no need fi go down
Easy now, no need fi go down
Work it gently and nuh bruk-up no bone

Whoop Whoop
When you run come around
Ca' now you a di talk a di town, yeah..."

 Of course you remember them.  They are from the title track off the Calabria Riddim, Calabria 2008 by Enur ft. Natasja.  That's the same riddim DJs started to play in every soca fete after Machel Montano, Pitbull and Lil' Jon recorded "Defence"on it.  Natasja was a  beautiful aspiring reggae/dancehall artist from Denmark a Sudanese daddy. In 2006, she made a huge impact on Jamaica's music  scene by becoming the first ever non-Jamaican to win the Irie FM/Red Stripe Big Break competition.  Opportunities began to blossom for her.  Then on June 24, 2007 she performed for the last time at the Portmore Awards in Jamaica. About three hours after leaving the stage her luck ran out, dying tragically in a car accident on her way home. What we know as Calabria 2008 began to rock the international airwaves just shy of six months after her untimely death.

She wasn't just a girl who made one song that happened to get big.  She loved reggae, and she loved the culture and the country that created it. She wrote her first song as a dancehall DJ when she was 13. "Unda Mi Mommy" caught the attention of a Jamaican sound system in Denmark helped to raise her confidence by giving her some airplay.

She eventually came to Jamaica to work as a jockey (as in the horse racing kind), but a hip injury in 1998 caused her to shift her focus more solidly toward her music. Jamaica is where Natasja fought for acceptance and recognition, but eventually breathed her last.  Perhaps this love is best exemplified through her song Jamaica 2 Nice. It's actually a wonder that the song that took her name over borders was a silly ode to a guy playing a saxophone (or sex, depending who you ask).  The bulk of Natasja's catalogue was heady, thought-provoking reggae with a critical view of world injustice ( Check out  45 Questions ).  Whether in English, Patois or Danish, she commanded respect.

Had she survived, I don't doubt that she would have had a real shot at the big time.  Her unique look, unconventional Euro/African heritage, and ability to drop lyrics in authentic Jamaican patois made her a very valuable find for the music industry.  Let's not forget that Calabria 2008 was released the year before as Calabria 2007 in the European market and was just as successful across the ocean. 

I decided to post this little memoir today on the eve of what would have been Natasja's 35th birthday. I first got this video two days ago.  The song called "Better Dan Dem" featuring Beenie Man was released in 2008, after Ms. Saad has already passed.  The video utilizes a cast of female dancehall artistes to stand in Denmark's Queen of Reggae.

R.I.P. Natasja .  Thanks for your music, your words and your legacy.

Love and Music,

Nurse Karen

Photo: http://panachereport.com


Eye Unit: Xante - Jump Start

>> Thursday, October 29, 2009

Here's another one.  I admit, I don't know much about this group.  The sound is a little dated.  Kinda reminiscent of Shurwayne Winchester's uptempo chunes 5 years ago.  Nonetheless, I do applaud them for putting their faces out there.  Videos definitely help raise awareness.

Trini posse, fill me in!

Love and Soca,

Nurse Karen


Booster Shot: New Group Xante - Thick / Temptress

>> Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ever heard of this group?  Here's a couple of new songs / a video from a soca group out of Trinidad called Xante.


Love and Soca,

Nurse Karen


Booster Shot: Caribbean artistes sing your holiday favourites

>> Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's my pleasure to let you know about a special project I lent my voice to this summer.  New York's Ma$tamind Productions has just released a Christmas album featuring a multinational cast of Caribbean Artistes singing Christmas classics.  I don't mean songs like "Santa Looking for a Wife", "Anita", or "Soca Santa".  I mean the ones you hear when you're doing your holiday shopping, pumping from the radio stations, and yes, the ones you sing at Church.

You'll get people like:  Kevon Carter, Mista Vybe, Shawn "Da Mastamind" Noel, 2ntrigue,  and more performing your favourites, in their own special way.

In Trinidad with producer Shawn Noel and Business Manager Natasha Andrews-Noel

As for me, I contributed what I know best, an original spoken word piece called "Questions For Mary". It takes a look at the Virgin Mary through modern eyes, and considers what it would have been like to be a young girl saddled with such an important task that no one else really understood.  Da Ma$tamind backed it up with some beautiful music.  And voilĂ !  Your Nurse is ready for purchase!  LOL...I think that came out wrong.

It's a phenomenal project.  I do hope you will support the initiative by spreading the word, and buying the album. (Actually, for just $8.99 US, you can buy the tracks now by clicking the Amazon.com image and link below)

Happy Holidays!

Nurse Karen

P.S.  For more detail regarding what's on the album, check out this write-up by Mystie Thongs:

 We from the Caribbean Can Sing Too!!!
 Christmas is the one time of year when no one minds hearing the same songs being played over and over again on the radio. In fact for many of us Christmas does not start until we hear our favourite carol being sung beautifully by either an old golden voice like Nat King Cole’s or the latest starlet doing a seasonal cd.
This year, Ma$tamind Productions have decided to give every carol lover exactly what they want but maybe not in the way they are accustomed to having it. Instead of being lulled into the spirit of the season by voices of the outside world Ma$tamind presents A Caribbean Soul Christmas. An album filled with your favourite traditional carols performed by our very own Caribbean artistes, because in their opinion, we in the Caribbean can sing too! And honestly who would know better than them, since they have always worked with the finest artistes, this our very own archipelago of islands, has to offer.
The cast of performers reads like a veritable who’s who in the Caribbean talent pool and just as an extra treat they have chosen to highlight some artistes in a genre and/or in a way they are yet to be formerly known in.
Leading the charge on the something special but different forefront is Nurse Karen from St Vincent, known especially for her soca news segment on Flow 93.5 FM in Toronto. Her emotion-stirring recitation of a poem on the album leaves you simply wanting more.
Lauded vocalists, Naki, Krissy Grant from St. Lucia, Kevon Carter, Audie Hewitt (formerly of famed Trinidadian R&B group H2O Phlo) as well as 2Ntrigue, do not disappoint as they put their own soulful but impressive spin on classics that can make the most ardent follower of old school crooners put Sammy and Old Blue eyes on pause in order to take in the melodious harmonies of these talented young Caribbean singers.
The splendid mix of music does not stop there since on this album, Ma$tamind has invited 3 gentlemen in particular to step outside of their recognized arena to boldly show how skilled they all truly are.
Mista Vybe, usually found tearing up a soca fete, displays his amazing vocal abilities as he slows it all down and simply croons for your listening ear.
Veteran musician/soca guitarist Dean Williams steps out of the background and into his own spotlight playing solo on a carol in a way that raises pores and blows musical imagination, who knew the guitar could sing so sweetly?
Well maybe Kyle Peters might have known. Another solo guitarist on the album he joins the cast as a newbie, but one who is more than able to hold his own amongst these now peers of his. He is one to watch and most definitely pay attention to.
And just when you might think, ok I have gotten my money’s worth Ma$tamind has slipped in just a lil bit extra that will certainly keep you wanting this compilation on repeat all season long.
Joanne ‘Tigress’ Rowley has been known throughout the calypso world as a stirring and strong competitor, for Ma$tamind, she has put aside that competitive vein and taken on the role of soulful matron leading the way for the youngsters, with a powerfully moving rendition of Joy To The World, that makes your eyelids leak freely.
Last but most certainly not least, Shawn ‘Da Ma$tamind’ Noel steps out from his producer booth to sit us all down and school us on just how talented we in the Caribbean are. His producing skills are just one side to him, his strength as a singer, stands out in a way that makes you wonder if we really want that kind of ability sitting in a producing chair and not always onstage with a mic in his hand.
This album promises something for everyone, while each song is sure to reach out and inspire every one of us all, in some way.
With this much talent and ability on display it is no wonder that carol aficionados the world over cannot wait to experience A Caribbean Soul Christmas.  


Eye Unit: Happy Independence SVG - Vibrating Scakes - Our Nation is Born

"...In this moment of history
Tell it in every community
Our nation is born
Colonialism is gone..."
~ Vibrating Scakes

Thirty years ago today, St. Vincent and the Grenadines became an independent nation. For the thousands who travelled home to mark the occasion, those overseas taking time out to celebrate, and the thousands more on those beautiful islands dressed head to toe in their national colours....I salute you.

This blog is about music, soca music to be exact.  If you're reading this, then you probably already know the kind of impact St. Vincent has made to the art form.  None the less, I would be amiss not to educate you on just how much St. Vincent has done for this music called soca.

Our musical heritage is fierce and proud.  I think of writers and arrangers like Frankie McIntosh whose work behind the scenes can be heard on endless soca classics...not just Vincy hits, innah.  Songs like Lorraine by Explainer, Thunder by The Mighty Duke, Tension by Shadow, and the list goes on and on.

 Then there's Granville Straker, another Vincentian who was responsible for most of the 12 inch records in your parent/grandparents collection. Brooklyn's Straker Records brought Calypso and Soca to the ears of thousands internationally, by actually recording, producing and distributing Caribbean music on wax.  This is Vincy heritage...but it's general soca heritage too.   I mean what would soca be if we never had recordings of Black Stalin's "Ah Feel To Party" or Shadow's "Bassman"?  Those are just examples, but the legacy continues.

 As Jamaican dub began to take hold of the entire Caribbean at the end of the 1980's, St. Vincent was first to utilize dub chanting in soca songs to give it a youthful, heart pounding swagger.  We continued to pump out downtempo riddims for the road, and called it Ragga Soca.  The Vincy contribution to soca music is certainly international, right up to the modern day. We salute a new generation of artistes for waving their flag proudly as international music contracts made Kevin Lyttle and Jamesy P into household names the world over.

We think of the veterans like Poorsah and Beckett whose countless songs tell the history of our nation with unabashed honesty, and even criticism. We remember the bands such as Touch, Asterisks, and X-A-Dus whose innovative music is responsible for what we know as the signature Vincy sound.

Thirty years later, as Sweet Vincy continues to make its humble mark on the region and the world, let us continue to work together, achieve and celebrate a bright future together.

For some reason, many people who listen to me on the radio and read my blog seem to think I'm from some place else.  And even though I was born in Canada (a proud of this country as well), St. Vincent and the Grenadines is home.  I am a proud Vincentian through and through.  Today, I finally get to show off my pride!

To mark the occasion, I dug up a special video by one of our most talented Calypsonians, Kenneth "Vibrating Scakes" Alleyne.  When's the last time you saw this one?

In view of the recent violence and tragedies going on in St. Vincent these days, I couldn't think of a better song to remind us that unity is our key to a prosperous future.  Happy 30th Anniversary of Independence St. Vincent and the Grenadines!

Love and Liberty,

Nurse Karen


The Rounds: Celebrating carnival, Scorpio B-days, Creole Day and Independence!

>> Monday, October 26, 2009

Originally aired on "Soca Therapy", Sunday, October 25th, 2009 @ 6:45 pm
Flow 93.5 FM in Toronto

In this edition:
- Celebrating Soca Scorpios - Toronto / International
- LA Carnival / Jacksonville Carnival - USA
- Machel at Antillia Carnival - USA
- Sunshine Awards held on Saturday - USA
- Notting Hill Carnival Doc Screened - UK
- Soca Mix in Fader - USA
- Creole Day - Dominica, St. Lucia, Haiti
- St. Vincent Independence - St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Good Evening Soca Lovers,
I’m Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay’s Rounds. Sometimes I feel like we’re speeding through the 2009 calendar. Coulda sworn it was Summer just the other day...and now...it’s Scorpio season. Soca or Die 10 goes down on Saturday celebrating the birthdays of Dr. Jay, Marxman and a few other soca scorpios including yours truly. But we’re not the only ones. This past week Trinidad’s Jadee, and St. Vincent’s Problem Child had birthdays too, and Lil Bitts has a birthday on Saturday.

If we’re not celebrating one thing, it’s another. West Indians in southern California enjoyed fetes and revelry last weekend for Los Angeles Carnival. This week, the fun moved back to Florida for Jacksonville Carnival yesterday.

Next on the docket is New York City’s Antillia Carnival which will launch in Manhattan on November 5th with a performance by Machel Montano HD. This year’s uber posh preview of Trinidad Carnival will be hosted by former miss Universe Wendy Fitzwilliam, and male supermodel Tyson Beckford.

Last night, New York City also playee host to the 21st annual Sunshine Awards, which recognizes Caribbean achievement in the performing arts. Nominees were chosen from many islands and many creative fields. Where soca is concerned, Shurwayne, Bunji and Fay-Ann all were nominated for best new song, while Alston Beckett Cyrus was honoured for his lifetime contribution to the artform.

As Black History Month in the UK comes to a close this week, a new documentary that showing off the beauty and artistry of Nottinghill Carnival will be screened this week. It’s called "Sequins, Soca and Sweat," and it follows six mas bands through their hectic carnival preparations.

Here in Canada, a well known Montreal club DJ was featured on a major music magazine’s website. Ghislain Poirier’s 25 minute soca mix was selected as this week’s Ghetto Palms feature on Fader dot com. Even through Poirier isn’t known exclusively for soca he has been touring extensively in 2009 promoting raising awareness of the genre and his Soca Sound System EP. We like that kinda thing!

I’m Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay’s Rounds. Before I go, I’d like to wish a happy Creole Day to all my Lucian, Haitian and Dominicans on the outside. And to my Vincy Massive Happy 30th anniversary of Independence.

For more info on anything I mentioned here, check me out online at Nurse dash Karen dot com, or follow me, Nurse Karen on twitter. Now, back to de docta!


Booster Shot: Soca Awards Postponed till December

Hey All!

By now you've probably read this elsewhere. But it wouldn't be right for me to not to share this info with you, now that I've confirmed it's accuracy. Indeed the 7th annual Soca Awards has been pushed back till December 4th. Sure hope no one is stuck with a tickets to Turks and Caicos for the wrong weekend!

Anyhoo, voting is still open. From what I can tell, it will close as scheduled on Wednesday, October 28th.  Don't quote me on that...but hurry up and vote anyway.

Love and Soca,
Nurse Karen

See the official pres release below:
Text Box:             

                                  SOCA AWARDS ORGANIZATION, INC.
Taking Soca to Higher Heights

Source:  www.socaawards.com

The International Soca Awards iSA 7 originally scheduled for Friday October 30th 2009 in Providenciales Turks and Caicos will be postponed until Friday December 4th 2009.

New York, NY (October 24, 2009) – The International Soca Awards iSA 7 originally scheduled for Friday October 30th 2009 in Providenciales Turks and Caicos will be postponed until Friday December 4th 2009.

Newsflash!  The Soca Awards Organization, Inc. in association with Star Life Productions & Monopoly Entertainment, regret to inform the public that there have been a number of elements prohibiting SAO from continuing as planned with the originally scheduled October, 2009 events. Because of certain unforeseen circumstances, SAO has decided to postpone the show until Friday December 4th 2009 in order to “overcome these hurdles,” said the promoters.  “Much of the ground work have been completed and we are confident that with the December date we will be able to produce the biggest International Soca Awards ceremony to date.”

SAO apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the change, and promises that the particular changes have led to the culmination of an even greater 2009 affair.  All scheduled artists, hosts, and performances are still scheduled and will be in attendance.  SAO graciously thanks everyone for the continued support.
Support for iSA 7 is provided by socaawards.com, socatvonline.com, dcelebrities.com, Red Hot Radio 98.5FM, Pour Moi – Cognac, JTE Spirits, Beaches Resort, tropicalfete.com, thefrontlineradio.com, toronto-lime.com, wukupnuff.com, caribbeanmecca.com,turksislandersonline.ning.com, tswradio.com and Soca Mix.
For further information please contact the Soca Awards Organization, Inc. office at (718) 734-5566 / (347) 737-5357 or 649-245-8191, 649-331-6991, 649-242-5405 / Email: socaawards@gmail.com.


Eye Unit: Happy Birthday Problem Child

>> Saturday, October 24, 2009

We have officially begun Scorpio season! I really don't have any stats to back this up, but it seems more people in the soca community were born in the end of October and beginning of November, than any other part of the year. Of course, I probably only think that because I came into the world this time of the year too.

Problem Child is one of them as well, and today is his big day.

When it comes to people who hustle hard in this business, he's definitely a guy who puts in work.  The one they called "Johnny Fontainne" excercises his creativity on a daily basis, whether it's writing, recording, or vibing out on new tracks for inspiration. For someone who works so hard, perhaps the best birthday gift is rest.  From the sound of it, that's just what he got, a lazy day on tour.

In a short while Problem's got a gig in the UK  in celebration of SVG independence day that's gonna have to double as his b-day party. Fans in jolly old England will be treated to some of the top acts from Vincy Mas 2009:

Maddzart: Ragga Soca Monarch
Skinny Fabulous: Soca Monarch
Problem Child: Road March King

plus Mystik Vibration (Bequia's big ragga soca act) and Lively (who's song "Waistline" was the official party starter at everything this year).

I plucked this little video off YouTube for you, so you can learn a little more about Problem Child, courtesy of IslandMix.com. Enjoy!

Have a great performance tonight, and happy birthday!

Love and Soca,

Nurse Karen


Booster Shot: French-Canadian Soca Ambassador featured in FADER

Ghislain Poirier and Nurse Karen after our meet and greet in Toronto

Listen to the Ghetto Palms 76: Poirier Soca Mix while you read:

I got pretty excited earlier in the week, when I found out that FADER online chose to feature a soca mix on their "Ghetto Palms" DJ page. Love it or hate it, the mix I'm talking about wasn't dj-fied by a Caribbean-based or even Caribbean-descended sound. The man behind it is Ghislain Poirier. He's a french-speaking Montrealer of good old Quebecois roots.

We met last spring in Toronto. At the time, he was on an international tour promoting his Soca Sound System EP. He produced 4 tracks of original soca, one that features Trini DJ/Artiste Dawg-E Slaughter. Due to his genuine interest in penetrating the scene (that and his unrelenting pursuance of good media), he looked me up and arranged for us to sit down for a chat.

Later that night, me and my cousin Slimmy checked out his set at downtown's swanky Drake Hotel.  We wukked our waists into a frenzy, as the beats-per-minute increasing incrementally without us even knowing it. The night was incredibly fun.  I had no choice but to give credit where it was due as he digged into his digital crates to pluck rare gems that rarely play at your typical soca party.  It didn't matter. No one in the crowd had a clue about the music - no one but us, that is.   Trying as they may, our critcal ears could not interfere with our waistlines.  The set was incredible.

If you search the internet, you'll find the Poirier brand everywhere. He travels coast to coast in North America, and Europe may as well be the far corner of his playground. He flies. He spins. And he flies again. next month the Poirier Sound travels to; Mexico, France, Belgium, The UK, Sweden and The Netherland.

The media loves him too. Quite frankly, dear soca fan, I think it's about time you get to know him. Despite the misfortune of not having any sunny and spicy West Indian blood in his veins, Poirier is quickly establishing himself as a major ambassador for our music. He takes soca through doors it never dreamed of, and in some cases never knew existed.

Poirier doesn't only do the soca thing though. He's an avid student of world music styles, whose introduction to the anglo-Caribbean stuff came through reggae and dancehall. But soca's maniacal BPM's offered him a new weapon for the clubgoers on every coast, and he gladly welcomes her to his arsenal.

* boom *

Love and Soca,

P.S.   Read the FADER feature HERE
         Follow Ghislain Poirier on Twitter

Wanna send a little big up out to Ghislain Poirier for being a courageous ambassador of Caribbean music, with your Canadian passport.  Kudos on the growing list of accolaides, and we'll catch you in Toronto on November 22nd.

PULSE CHECK:  How do you feel about non-West Indians playing and creating soca music?


Booster Shot: New Nottinghill Carnival Documentary

>> Friday, October 23, 2009

As the month of October comes to a close, our friends in the UK are saying goodbye to "Black History Month" for another year.  On Thursday, October 29, 2009,  a new documentary directed by Stephen Rudder will be screened for the general public at the Wimbledon Odeon.  "Sequins, Soca and Sweat" follows six mas bands as they prepare for Nottinghill Carnival.

Film: Sequins, Soca and Sweat at Wimbledon Odeon
By: Graham Moody

Wimbledon Film Club has teamed up with the Njoya Foundation to present Sequins, Soca and Sweat followed by a question and answer session with its director next Thursday.
Stephen Rudder's film, which will be shown at Wimbledon Odeon as part of Black History Month, is his debut documentary and will also be accompanied by heritage short films and pre-film storytelling entertainment by Jeanette Angela Barrett.
Read the rest here

Hope all who can make it will go and support this event. It's great to see our culture being documented.

Love and Soca,

Nurse Karen


Eye Unit: Happy Birthday Jadee!

Somewhere along the long passage from the Caribbrean to the Diaspora, young people have got the idea that real soca can only be about sex, rum and carnival.  Well children...YOU'RE WRONG.  Soca is not the message, but the MEDIUM. Through it there is freedom to express any number of emotions, experiences and inspirations.

The gospel community in Trinidad would know one such artiste who is doing his part to utilize soca and other genres to reach his generation with the message of Christ.  Remember songs like "Baptize", and "Not In Dat"? The man's name is Jadee, a vocalist with the gospel band "Alter Call".  He's celebrating his birthday today.  That being said, here's my chance to say thanks to Jadee for spreading love and life through his music.

Take a look at the latest video from Jadee called "Keep On Pressing", produced by Precision Productions.

On the road of life, it's not easy to walk the same path in a different way.  So Jadee...today, I join you in thanking God for another year of His grace and mercy.  I wish you ongoing success as you stay faithful to your calling!  Happy Birthday!

 Love and soca,

Nurse Karen

P.S.  if you love soca, but are looking for more food for your soul, click HERE to follow Jadee on Twitter.


Q&A: One day with an artiste...who would it be?

>> Thursday, October 22, 2009

In the years that I've been covering soca, I have to admit I've met some fascinating people.  I'v even made a few good friends.  Artistes, like the rest of us, are regular people with hobbies, quirks and habits that colour their personalities in a unique way.

In life we often admire people who reflect ourselves in some way.  So being a fan, isn't always just about music.  Maybe you admire Fay-Ann Lyons for taking her career to the top while pregnant for the first time.  Maybe Edwin Yearwood's sexy voice puts you in a "certain" kind of mood.  Last night, a buddy told me that Denise "Saucy Wow" Belfon makes him consider dating "big girls"

When I first met mega-diva Destra Garcia, I was surprised to learn how down to earth she is. She had lots of questions for me about St. Vincent as she shared stories about her Grandfather and told me about her desire to learn more about her roots.

Most of us know that Maximus Dan is a huge football (soccer) fan.  Ever wondered if you could beat him on the field?

Ever since interviewing  Machel Montano, I've been curious to know what an HD jam session is like. Sounds like it's an intensely spiritual experience, and I might require a gas mask in order to breathe.

What about experimenting in the kitchen with college student Skinny Fabulous or going Christmas shopping with Lil Rick and his legion of kids.  Clubbing with Claudette Peters anyone?

Today's Q and A is for you!

If you could lime with any soca artiste for one day, who would it be and why?

Please post your 2 cents below!

Love and Soca,

Nurse Karen

P.S.  Here are some responses from our followers on Twitter

whitewinemusic @nursekaren Ras Shorty to understand where it came from

DEPONGCHUNEMAN @nursekaren : Fireman Hooper. The best #soca artist out 2day

Wukupnuff @nursekaren hangin with MJ could be very interesting. As for soca artist I would say David Rudder. How about urself?

ArchValenz @nursekaren Hmm. I'd love to meet Lord Shorty. And my favourite soca artiste of all time, Shadow.

logordo Faye-ann-I have been slacking with exercising and she was always good motivation! Lol 

MsPaigeMusic @nursekaren #qanda i'd lime with @edwinyearwood with the hopes of creating one helluva babymaking soca classic!

xdeguzman RT @nursekaren#qanda If you could hang out with one soca artist for a day, who would you choose and why? // faye ann.. to play wit d baby

ianandreespinet @nursekaren #qanda If I were to hang out w/ a soca artist for a day it would be Isaac Blackman to learn 1st hand soca history & storytelling

LPG13SoundIntl @nursekaren I would lime with Patrice Roberts and help her pick out new outfits for her performances#miniskirtsandpumps aye aye aye!

KWAM1ZZL3 @nursekaren destra...cuz she has a beautiful...voice

 @yoshxl  Alison Hinds and I'd walk a few paces behind her.. O_o

DancehallSoca @nursekaren Edwin Yearwood to learn how he come up wid dem sweet #Soca tunes

riridimples Its a toss btween Black Stalin and Baron

If you want to make some new friends or discuss these responses with the REAL people who sent them in, just go to www.twitter.com/username   [as in enter their username after the slash!]


Boost Shot: Give the gift of Soca, albums for your Christmas list

>> Wednesday, October 21, 2009

With Christmas just two months away, why don't you give the gift of original music to everyone on your list?  Soca fans can talk day and night about raising the music to a higher level, but if we don't put our money where our mouth is...the wait will be much longer than necessary.

Browse the selections below.  You can even click to get a sample of the music, and follow the link to buy you own copy!

Here are a few 2009 titles for the soca lovers on your holiday shopping list...

This great new holiday album features an original poem by yours truly!

Let me know what you think of these gift suggestions.  I will be sure to post some more for you as we go forht into the season!

Love and Soca,

Nurse Karen


Booster Shot: Tyson Beckford and Wendy Fitzwilliam to host Antilia Carnival 2009

>> Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New York City's high society preview of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is back for 2009.  This year the event will be hosted by Trinidad's former Miss Universe Wendy Fitzwilliam and male super model Tyson Beckford, who is of Jamaican descent.  

Here's a little more info on what is planned:

A Taste Of Trini Carnival Returns To New York City

International Soca King Machel Montano to appear at Big Apple Carnival launch

NEW YORK - The spirit of Trinidad and Tobago's Carnival returns to New York on Thursday, November 5, 2009 when the New York-based Caribbean-owned special events company, Antilia, Inc. hosts an evening of entertainment and elegance. The event will feature international soca king, Machel Montano at the penthouse of Tribeca Rooftop (2 Desbrosses Street between Hudson & Greenwich Streets) in New York City. 

For the rest of the story click here 

Love and Carnival,

Nurse Karen


The Rounds: What happens in Miami, makes The Rounds!

>> Monday, October 19, 2009

Dr. Jay's Rounds: Originally aired on Sunday, October 18, 2009
"Soca Therapy" on Flow 93.5 FM

In this edition:
- Miami carnival round up (USA)
- El a Kru new album (Antigua & Barbuda)
- Crossovah's Ricardo Drue shoots a video with Patrice Roberts (USA)
- Lil Bitts starts a new charity organization (Trinidad & Tobago)
- Shurwayne Winchester and Y.O.U. about to celebrate 1st anniversary (Trinidad & Tobago)

Good evening soca lovers, I’m Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay’s rounds. Even though it's carnival time in Los Angeles, I’m back Toronto! Last week at this time I was back stage in Bicentennial Park, Miami for the 25th Anniversary of Miami Carnival. This year two carnival committees joined forces to put on the biggest event in its history. The big show at the end of the parade was featured performers from all over the Caribbean, young and old alike. David Rudder, Swallow, Iwer George, Peter Ram, and Biggie Irie, Skinny Fabulous, Problem Child...DEEP BREATH...Fay-Ann and Bunji...the list goes on. This year, the parade had about 25 thousand paying patrons, not to mention the thousands that lined downtown Miami to see the bands roll by.

Antigua's King Swallow and Nurse Karen

I sure do miss the sun and the music, but I grabbed a lot of good info while i was away...especially for YOU. I got to interview Tizzy for a Miami radio station. Did you know that EL A KRU has a new album out featuring all of Tizzy’s heart pumping songs from Antigua Carnival 2009. It’s called “De Road Show”, and it’s available on iTunes and your favourite online retailers. She says her favourite song on it is a track called “Groovy”. So we all need to buy a copy and give it a listen.

Tizzy in Miami
The next night, I hosted some TV interviews behind the scenes at a fete called Miami Vice. That’s where I got to meet Florida’s own Caribbean boy band, Crossovah. Now, I know they don’t like me saying that..but when you have 4 cuties all you rep different islands, who are cute, fashionable and sing like R&B stars...what else do you call it? Patrice Roberts was there that night too. She told me that she will be featured on a new groovy track called “Nah Leavin’” by Ricardo Drue, who is the Trini member of Crossovah. Ricardo and Patrice shot the video for Nah Leaving yesterday.

Ricardo Drue of Crossovah

While I was in Florida, Trinidad’s bite-sized soca darling Lil Bitts was using her star power to affect change. She and three friends started a new organization called M2BC, that stands for Music to Benefit Charities. They held their first initiative called Do Re Mi Karaoke last week Friday. In a packed high school class room, they raised about a thousand bucks for charity. Nice work ladies!

Nurse Karen and Lil Bitts at the FLOW studios
Lemme see, what else... Shurwayne Winchester and his new Band Y.O.U, had just one official performance in Miami. They absolutely rocked University Fete with a stage performance like I’ve never seen before. There was great music, choreography and energy that was nothing short of contagious! Y.O.U. will be celebrating their 1st anniversary together on October 27th in Trinidad.

Shurwayne Winchester and Nurse Karen in Miami
Last night, I checked out performances by Ms Paige, Mista Vybe and Shyann Bailey at De Enforcas 15th anniversary party at Embers banquet hall.  Congrats you guys... it’s a big year for you. Especially with your first even best international DJ nomination at the Soca Awards. If you haven’t cast your ballot, as of October 6th voting has begun at triple w dot soca awards dot com. Make sure you surf on over to support your favourites.

I’m Nurse Karen and those were Dr. Jay’s Rounds. For more information on these soca stories and more, visit me at Nurse dash Karen dot com. Or follow me....nurse Karen on twitter. Now back to de docta!

kanye west dead dies in car crash


Booster Shot: Artistes doing their Lil Bitts for Charity

>> Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mel, Miki, Bitts and CutieRae
We like to look good.  We like to party.  We like to fete and carry on like every day is our last...but the soca community is more than just music and mas!  Trinidad's bite-sized soca darling Lil Bitts is doing her part for charity with a new initiative called M2BC.  It stands for Making Music to Benefit Charities, or simply the initials of the young ladies involved, Mel (Shivorne Melissa Mitchell), Miki (Tamika Ward-Lewis), Bitts (Shivonne Churche), CutieRae (Elena Rachel Rawlins)

I was very happy with Lil Bitts told me a little bit about the community work, she and her friends were delving into.  As you know, giving back is close to my heart, especially when it comes to the Arts.  Here's what Bitts had to say...

This foundation is a group of young intelligent talented women who have all been blessed with great vocals and the ability to play different instruments. We would now like to share our gift to benefit other young people like ourselves.
We plan to do this by having fund raisers and hosting various events throughout Trinidad. The money made would be used to purchase instruments for numerous homes and orphanages in Trinidad. Our goal is to go to these homes and teach the young people how to play, sing and even put on shows.
However, we do not intend to stop there. We wish to broaden our horizons as time goes on by indulging in different activities around the lines of music and exposing the talent that both we and our fellow colleagues in the music world have.
We had our first event on Friday October 9, 2009 at the Bishops/Trinity East School called "Do re mi...Karaoke".  Students, parents, family members and good friends came out and participated by using their vocal chords whether the sound coming out was good or bad.  The cost was $5.00TT and there were eats and drinks on sale...chocolate and sponge cake, sweetbread, brownies, puffs, juice, soft drink, water and of course no trini event is an event without corn soup.
Special thanks to Mr. Brown and Dawn for use of the Bishops/Trinity School, Gemma an advisor at our school COSTAATT, Gregory Mc Kay for the sound system, Robert and Bux from www.xclusiveventz.com for taking the photos, John Soon hon for designing our logo and everyone who supported and donated to the event.
All in all in a tiny class room we raised $978.00TT.  People sang and danced from 6pm - 9pm and when it was over they wanted more.  All in all it was a successful event and look out for more events coming soon!!!
For more pics from the event you can go to http://www.xclusiveventz.com

Keep up the good work ladies!

Spreading love through music,

Nurse Karen


Nurse's Lounge: Girl Power...No AC Power

So, I dunno what it is about promoters in Miami, why they feel a fete is not a fete unless it's named after some major party in Trinidad.  That's just my personal gripe, considering the fact that neither the all the artistes or the patrons are even from Trinidad in the first place.  It seems a bit odd, but they've been doing it for soooo long, that I'm probably the only one who notices.  Anyhoo..whatever works.

Girl Power has long been THE THURSDAY NIGHT fete of Miami Carnival.  Behind it is IslandsUnited or something so.  The Trini Carnival fete is put on by Island People Mas...so I take it there's a connection. Anyhoo, much like in Trinidad, it's kind where everybody is supposed to be the night it goes down. The only competition I had heard of this year was supposed to come in the form of a fete called Contagious aka Glow, that got shut down at the last minute.  Want to hear bacchanal?  The entire Krosfyah band, and Lil Rick were flown in just for that ONE night to perform at Contagious, only to discover that not enough tickets were sold to warrant opening the doors.  My bajan boys left the city the next day.  Luckily, deposits were paid up in advance..but it can't be cheap flying that many musicians in for NO REASON.

Well, my experience with Miami Girl Power 2009 was memorable to say the least, but probably not for the right reasons. The cast was great.  I didn't get to see Tizzy and a few earlier acts, but I caught the tail end of Alison Hinds (no pun intended). Yet again, I allowed the "soca queen" to escape my grasp without taking a photo, but this time not for a lack of trying.   Girl Power was hot.  Dreadfully hot.  Hot like no air conditioning-sticky-nasty-sweaty-locker-room-meets-sauna-inside-the-mouth-of-a-hairy-dog HOT.  So when Ally came off stage, and I wanted pictures, Miss Lady wanted agua...and I don't really blame her.

During the inexplicable heatwave, I experience one of my highlights...Benjai took the stage and brought out Gailann, who we haven't seen on a major soca stage for a couple years.  Girlfriend was cool and in control, looking well funky in her little square specs.

Nurse Karen and former 1st Lady of the Godfather's Asylum, Gailann

I was backstage searching in vain for Dr. Jay who was one of the DJ's at the fete.  Little did I know the DJ Booth was in the middle of the dancefloor.  I was intercepted by a photographer who mentioned something to be about living in Buffalo.  Next thing I know, he took out two picture of me that were on constant rotation on the big screens on either side of the stage for the rest of the night. Would love to know who he was shooting for.  He caught me before the humid air did, and all other photos from that night looked like I went head to head with a tsunami...and lost. While wandering backstage I bumped into Peter C. Lewis from Trinidad's Synergy TV.  You read my blog, so you know how many times I have planned to meet this dude as his actual office with no luck! Well, we finally got our brief meeting after all.  (Sort of)

Good Old Peter C!

After Benjai, Machel Montano HD took the stage to do their thing. Patrice was first to do battle with the "weather".  Under the lights, and intense heat of the non-airconditioned Mahi Temple, Ms. Roberts sang and danced like it was nobody's business.  She shed a layer or two of clothing and ended up performing in her bra top.  I say this, not to cause alarm, but to illustrate just how steamy it got.  Those of us who watch Patrice know how modest she is when it comes to dressing.  I still remember seeing her perform at the 2009 Groovy Soca Monarch Finals in a one-piece mas costumer, reinforced with bicycle shorts.  She's not the type to peel her clothes on stage.

So highlight number two: Did anyone else see Machel fall when he was taking the stage?  Lemme put out a disclaimer.  I not badminding Boy Boy, but that ish was funny.  Patrice introduced the man of the hour, to come and sing his song on the riddim.  He runs out with a burst of energy and....kerrrrrrrrplop!  Don't worry Machel fans, he didn't buss his @$$ or vocal chords or anything that matters...and I don't think it bruised his ego for more than 10 seconds.  None the less, it made for a a hearty gaassssssssssssppp from all onlookers who were sober enough to notice.  (Naturally, followed by some real ugly belly laughing...mostly from me..and a lil from the rest of the crew liming by the DJ booth...which I finally found in the middle of the room)

People had fun...and I learned a few very important lessons.
1.  Fun is really what it's all about
2.  My new flat iron really fried all the kink out of my hair...cuz that humidity didn't mash me up at all!

All in all, a very informative night!

Love and Soca,

Nurse Karen

P.S.  Big up Richard and Shawn, I appreci-love the support.


Booster Shot: Demarco to Remix "She Can't Wait" with Machel Montano HD

>> Saturday, October 17, 2009

CG 2.0 interviewing Machel Montano in Barbados

Girl Karen, you know what i just hear? 

Yes, yes I saw you had a blast in Miami. Next year someone should take me to Miami!

Its been a while since my last post. Crop Over 2009 feels a bit like a distant memory now, and I'm looking forward to Christmas with all the goodwill in the air and without a shortage of food and alcohol. lol.
After christmas there is Trinidad Carnival 2010 - need I say more?

People I have come across some very interesting information along the way. Demarco is going to be remixing his "soca influenced" dancehall  tune "She Can't Wait", featuring Machel Montano HD. We have 'Hot Wuk', "Bend Ova' and 'Dutty Wined' till our hearts content on several soca influenced dancehall tracks. It's interesting that we are actually going to see a major hit remixed featuring a top soca act. Demarco's "She Can't Wait" debuted last week at #4 on the BoomTribe Caribbean Top 10 Countdown, here in Barbados.  Who knows what it can do for this track to have Machel Montano jump on just a few months before Trinidad. Time will tell.

So far that is all I've got. I am told that the track is being mixed and mastered and will hit the streets of the Caribbean Next week!

I wonder now if Soca and Dancehall have officially signed a peace treaty and we can move beyond some of our differences and maybe start to label a new genre of music ingenious to the Caribbean.

Corey Graham 2.0



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