Bouyon music

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Bouyon (Boo-Yon) is a form of popular music of Dominica which became popular in the late 1980s.[1] The term Bouyon means something akin to "gumbo soup" in the Antillean Creole of Dominica.[1] Bouyon music is a mix of traditional and modern music,[2] and is popular across much of the Caribbean.

Bouyon was developed in the 1980s by bands like WCK, combining elements of kadans (or cadence-lypso), lapo kabwit drumming, the folk style jing-ping, and a quick-paced electronic drum pattern. More recently, deejays with raggamuffin-style vocals have moved to the fore, updating the sound for the New Generation.

In Guadeloupe and Martinique, "Jump up" refers generally to bouyon music.


The nineties in Dominica have been dominated by a new musical form called bouyon music. Bouyon emerged from the attempt of the new generation bands like Windward Caribbean Kulture (WCK) to develop their own style. Bouyon in effect represents the modernization of traditional Dominican music, mainly jing ping and lapo kabwit. Bouyon music is very dependent on the drum machine, cowbell and keyboards with guitars receding into the background. As such, it has a very strident rhythm and is aptly referred to as jump up music by the population in Guadeloupe and Martinique. Bouyon is truly that, music for jump up.

From a language perspective, Bouyon draws on English and Kwéyòl. The lyrics are very trivial. Bouyon involves chanting rather than singing and is very much influenced by dancehall-reggae-rap language style, coming out of Jamaica. Bouyon-muffin is an off shoot of this tendency. While bouyon lyrics comment on everyday life in the cultural sense, they are not explicitly social commentary in the political sense.

With the emergence of bouyon music and tax concessions on musical instruments, new bands have emerged, including Seramix, Wassin Warriors, Rough and Ready and other lesser known bands in rural villages. All however use the same production formulas and thus sound alike. The emergence of computer-based recording studios in Dominica has meant a great increase in the production of local recordings.


The best-known band in the genre is Windward Caribbean Kulture (WCK), who originated the style in 1988 by experimenting with a fusion of Cadence-lypso and Jing ping. While the Cadence-Lypso sound is based on the use of acoustic drums, an aggressive up-tempo guitar beat and strong social commentary in the native Creole language, this new music created by WCK focused more on the use of technology with a strong emphasis on keyboard rhythmic patterns.

They began using native drum rhythms such as lapo kabwit and elements of the music of jing ping bands, as well as ragga-style vocals. Thought bouyon originated in the late 80's as a fusion of cadence-lypso, jing ping and other traditional dances; the chanté mas and lapo kabwit drumming has integrated to become the rhythmic heart of bouyon, the traditional carnival music of Dominica.

Bouyon as popularized largely by the WCK band blends in jing ping, cadence-lypso, and traditional dances namely bèlè, quadrille, chanté mas and lapo kabwit, mazurka, zouk and other styles of caribbean music.[3] From a language perspective, Bouyon draws on English and Kwéyòl. It is popular across the Caribbean, and is known as jump up music in Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Windward Caribbean Kulture[edit]

The band made its debut in 1988 with an album titled "One More Sway" which coincided with the REUNION YEAR (10th anniversary) Independence celebrations. The next album 1990 titled "CULTURE SHOCK" was probably the defining moment for the band. The album included tracks such as "Culture Shock" and "Dance Floor".

The albums that followed showed the creative growth of the band throughout the years. In 1991, the "FOLLOW THE LEADER" album delivered signature tracks such as "Follow the Leader" and "Land Of Sunshine". In 1992, the release of "KANNIBAL" was another step towards the fine-tuning of this new sound. The 1993 release "FOREVER" produced one of the band's biggest hits, "Conch Shell/Vola Vole" or "The Fish Song" (as it was popularly called). In 1995, the band released its most successful album, "TOU CHO TOU FLAM", which generated 7 smash hits out of the 11-track album, one of which was the huge hit "Balance Batty" which is still being played throughout the Caribbean and the rest of the globe to this day. By the launch of the band’s 7th album, "ORIGINAL HOLD DEM", CK mania had taken over Dominica as well as the rest of the Caribbean. That album contained popular tracks like "Mete Veye", "Original Hold Dem", "Nomn La" and "Preg Dance See". The hits just kept on coming and CK music was in constant demand by partygoers and music lovers all over the globe.

To establish their musical strength, prowess and creativity, the band toured the US, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean from 1995 – 1998. They packed dance halls, concert halls, arenas and any open space they played. That set the stage for the next two albums, "TOO MANY COOKS" & "MARATHON", which propelled the band and it’s Bouyon Music into the international spotlight. The 1999 release "SET MY PEOPLE FREE" kept that momentum going and demonstrated again the band’s ability to position itself as true Caribbean cultural champions.

The Y2K release, "PRIDE AND JOY" featured tracks such as “The Buzz, Grand Finale and title track Pride & Joy. The follow-up, "CARIBBEAN HEARTBEAT" stated their position as true trendsetters in the music art form of the Caribbean. In 2002 the band then released "ON TOP". Hits “Emotions & Joy Ride” on this album featured T.C from Barbados. 2003 Album "MORE MUSIC" included hits such as "Send your body" and title track "More music". 2004 marked the band’s release of their most anticipated album to date titled which feature the smash hit “rollin”. Follow up albums included “Calling and “One Boss” which were released in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

Bouyon styles[edit]

Bouyon has diversified into multiple subgenres:

Jump up[edit]

In Guadeloupe and Martinique, "Jump up" refers generally to bouyon music.


Main article: Bouyon muffin

A modern offshoot of bouyon is bouyon-muffin, uses more prominient elements of the Jamaican raggamuffin music. The most influential figure in the development of bouyon-muffin was Skinny Banton who collaborated with the WCK band, using ragga-style vocals to chant on top of bouyon rhythms.[4] Skinny Banton modern style changed bouyon music and an entire generation of Dominican artists. From his SMA days, to Klockerz, WCK and more, he produced hits like “Riddim Like Rain”, “bouyon-muffin” and “Tonight A de Night”.

Bouyon-muffin is the precursor for reketeng music.


Reketeng is a hybrid of bouyon-muffin and hip-hop, popularized by a Dominican group called Bush town clan during the late 90's.[5] It featured ragga-style vocals with hip hop instrumentals over a bouyon riddim. It can be linked with Skinny Banton style of singing over riddims "Bouyon-muffin" which was in existence before the creation of reketeng. Like dub music, reketeng sometimes consist predominantly of remixes of existing recordings and is achieved by a deejay significantly manipulating and reshaping the recordings, emphasizing the drum and bass parts.

In spite of the Bush town clan, other famous bouyon/reketeng DJ's are DJ Cut, DJ Bullet, DJ Infamous, DJ Flip, DJ Easy, DJ Chinoi, etc...

Bouyon soca[edit]

Main article: Bouyon soca

Bouyon soca:, sometimes referred to as Jump up soca, is a fusion-genre that typically blends old bouyon rhythms from the '90s and soca music. Bouyon soca, is a term coined by non-Dominican producers and musicians who wish to attribute the current suucess of bouyon music to other islands. In its native Dominica, the concept of bouyon soca is pretty much unheard of. Bouyon is a very specific and original genre and is very much distinguishable from its "colleague" Soca.

While there may have been the occasional fusion, Bouyon has always maintained a very clear, recognisable and obviously different style from soca. This style of bouyon music was originated in Dominica, but is also very popular in Saint Lucia, Guadeloupe and Martinique.

New Generation Bouyon[edit]

Triple K International (led by Mr.Benji N20) is the most influential figure in the development of the new generation era of bouyon music. Triple K style is highly influenced by the chanté mas (masquerade songs) and lapo kabwit carnival music of Dominica. The band became popular for their energy and getting the audience hyped. Sewo, which was the name of the album, came from the song written and performed by Benji, brought the band one step closer to being one of the most promising bands in Dominica. Sewo allowed that band and Benji to gain more recognition.

Triple Kay Band and Benji became a force to be reckoned with and with his skill of being able to produce tracks that would take the country by storm and his high source of energy when performing on stage. Triple kay and the MFR band began to democratize and local artists were inducted. This gave rise to bands such as Ncore or MFR, Kross Vybez,Benz MrGwada,Asa Bantan, S.O.S, Esclav, Xs Groove, and many more, which goal is to promote Bouyon music and Dominica globally.

Bouyon gwada[edit]

Main article: Music of Guadeloupe

Due to the popularity of Triple K International, MFR, and the New generation of bouyon bands who toured the French Antilles, a popular offshoot of bouyon from Guadeloupe is call bouyon gwada (Guadeloupe bouyon).[6] The jump up had its heyday from the 90s with songs such as Met Veye WCK, but remained stamped background music or carnival. Over the years, thanks to inter-trade with the Dominicans and the mass participation of Guadeloupe at the World Creole Music Festival, the flagship group as Triple kay and MFR band began to democratize and local artists were inducted including the remix Allo Triple kay with Daly and "Big Ting Poppin 'Daly alone.

Bouyon hardcore[edit]

A popular offshoot within the bouyon gwada is call bouyon hardcore, a style characterized by its lewd and violent lyrics. This musical style is characterized by texts "slackness" sexually explicit. It is a form of radicalized bouyon of Dominica. Some call "bouyon gwada" to mark its difference and its themes are often the same: denunciation of bad girl called spleen putrie, naughty vyé or bitch, infidelity, condoning sexual pleasure and sexual intercourse hardcore. Excerpts: "Mouyé pou i rèd,Sa ou Vlé,. Popular Bouyon gwada musicians include, Doc J, GazaGirl, Miky Ding'La, WeeLow, Suppa

Bouyon bands[edit]

Old School[edit]

  • WCK
  • First Serenade
  • Patners In Kryme
  • Raw Reedim
  • Ruff & Ready
  • Seramix
  • Explosion
  • Wassin Warrior
  • RSB
  • Triple K

New School[edit]

  • Triple K International
  • Ncore (formerly known as MFR)
  • Kross Vybez
  • Benz MrGwada
  • Asa Bantan
  • Xs Groove
  • Royalty
  • SOS
  • Outta(Formerly Known As RMC
  • Signal
  • Digital Vybez
  • Lega C
  • Danger

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Shepherd, John; Dave Laing (2005). Continuum encyclopedia of popular music of the world. Continuum. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-8264-7436-0. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  2. ^ Carole Elizabeth Boyce Davies (2008). Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture. p. 390. ISBN 978-1-85109-700-5. 
  3. ^ "Bouyon Music". Music in Dominica. Retrieved December 3, 2005. 
  4. ^ "YouTube:". YouTube: Skinny banton. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  5. ^ "YouTube: bushtown clan – ride & wreketeng infinite". YouTube: Reketeng music. Retrieved September 10, 2005. 
  6. ^ "YouTube:bouyon gwada". :bouyon gwada. Retrieved November 11, 2012.