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 was developed by the Windward Caribbean Kulture (WCK) and the "First Serenade" band in the 1990s, combining elements of kadans (or cadence-lypso), lapo kabwit drumming, the folk style jing-ping, and a quick-paced electronic drum pattern.

Bouyon in effect represents the modernization of traditional Dominican music, and it is very dependent on the drum machine, cowbell, keyboards and synthesizers with guitars receding into the background.[2] The emergence of tax concessions on musical instruments and computer-based recording studios in Dominica has meant a great increase in the production of local recordings.

From a language perspective, Bouyon draws on English and Kwéyòl. While bouyon lyrics comment on everyday life in the cultural sense, they are not explicitly social commentary in the political sense. More recently, deejays with raggamuffin-style vocals (bouyon-muffin) have moved to the fore, updating the sound for the New Generation


The best-known band in the genre is Windward Caribbean Kulture (WCK). The WCK or Windward Caribbean Kulture, was formed in 1988 by a group of highly creative young Dominican musicians. The band heralded in a new and much needed resurgence of live music and created a new wave in Dominicas musical evolution. They began experimenting with a fusion of cadence-lypso, the native lapo kabwit drum rhythms and elements of the music of jing ping bands.[3] This group came together to fill a void left by several of Dominica's most internationally recognized bands such as Exile One and Grammacks. While the Cadence-Lypso sound is based on the creative use of acoustic drums, an aggressive up-tempo guitar beat and strong social commentary in the native Creole language, the new sound created by WCK, focused more on the use of technology with a strong emphasis on keyboard rhythmic patterns.

The band played a blend of the local Cadence-lypso and traditional Jing ping, chante mas and lapo kabwit rhythms, which would later be labelled "bouyon", a genre which they are credited with creating. Dominican-born Derick "Rah" Peters is considered to be one of the most influential figure in the development of the bouyon genre. 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.[4]

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.

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 Wayne "Skinny Banton" Robinson who collaborated with the WCK band, using ragga-style vocals to chant/rap on top of bouyon rhythms.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] Famous reketeng tunes from Bush town includes "Big pimpin", "ride", "reketeng infinite", etc.

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, J2MO, etc...

Bouyon soca[edit]

Main article: Bouyon soca

Bouyon 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 success 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 fusion-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. 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.[8]

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).[9] 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,.[10]

Dominican-born Bouyon artist; Lincoln “Suppa” Robin and Guadeloupe music producer "J2MO" (Sylver House Records) was one of the most influential figures for the promotion and popularity of bouyon gwada/hardcore. Suppa was stabbed and killed in Guadeloupe on Friday 31 May 2013.[11] General Suppa was the founder of the Gaza Crew, a popular bouyon group from Guadeloupe. Other popular Bouyon gwada artists include, Doc J, Edday, WeeLow, Yellow gaza, Arendi, Sted kila (Dominican artist), Dega Youth, Haterz'Be, Tronixx, Miky Ding'La, Rblaze, etc.

Bouyon bands[edit]

Old School[edit]

  • WCK
  • First Serenade
  • Patners In Kryme
  • Raw Reedim
  • Ruff & Ready
  • Seramix
  • Explosion
  • Wassin Warrior
  • RSB
  • Efex
  • 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
  • Fanatik
  • Koalision

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. ^ "Bouyon Music". Adventure guide. Retrieved December 3, 2005. 
  3. ^ Sullivan, Lynne M. (2004) Adventure Guide to Dominica and St. Lucia, Hunter Publishing, ISBN 978-1-58843-393-0, p. 49
  4. ^ "Bouyon Music". Music in Dominica. Retrieved December 3, 2005. 
  5. ^ "YouTube:". YouTube: Skinny banton. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  6. ^ "YouTube: bushtown clan – ride & wreketeng infinite". YouTube: Reketeng music. Retrieved September 10, 2005. 
  7. ^ "wreketeng". islandmix. Retrieved September 10, 2005. 
  8. ^ "Mr. Benji and Triple K". Retrieved December 3, 2005. 
  9. ^ "bouyon gwada". :bouyon gwada. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  10. ^ "gaudeloupe-clamps-down-on-bouyon-gwada". :dominicanewsonline. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  11. ^ "dominican-bouyon-artiste". :dominicanewsonline. Retrieved November 11, 2012.