Eye Unit: Happy Birthday Natasja Saad (RIP)

>> Friday, October 30, 2009

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

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