I just want to take this moment to say: I am so grateful that bouyon artistes have finally moved past ‘producing songs’ by speeding up five words from a popular international tune and looping that under a bouyon ‘riddim’.
Truthfully, aside from the pioneers, and a few hits spread across generations, bouyon music has left a lot to be desired. For years, lyrical content was my main issue, songs often came off as crude and or lacking depth. Coupled with that, the instrumentation for several songs was similar, and two bands appeared to dominate- yet only retained relevance the month leading up to the two days of carnival ‘jump up.’ It was a bore, basically.
Recently, however, bouyon songs have been, for the most part, more than just five or six words or a Dominican spin on Billboard top 100 songs; there are actual verses, chorus and original melodies with more variations.
I can’t say I have enjoyed all the bouyon releases for 2018. But what I can say is: it is obvious the singers have heard the cry to bring something new and different to the table.
From late 2017 to now there has been a noticeable change in the world of bouyon. The rise of new artistes like Trilla G and Keks Mafia and the growth of groups like Signal Band, I believe, has triggered something, and the genre seems to be undergoing some form of evolution. Bands and artistes alike have produced music with local lingo, satire, social commentary, pun and melodies that may very well survive generations and receive airtime outside of the carnival season.
Another huge and commendable change is the availability of bouyon music. Thanks to 365 Music and the use of Youtube and iTunes anybody from anywhere in the world can listen in on what bouyon artistes have to offer. I’d been growing weary of only having recordings from live performances not suitable for radio play. But now, most artistes have their songs professionally produced and sometimes with music videos!
My only concern? This music is still exclusively for a Dominican audience. Yes, Dominicans can relate to bouyon and that’s great, but it’s time for the rest of the region and the world (not diasporas) to understand as well. It’s about that time to start making music for audiences outside of Dominica and work on being more relatable. I want to be able to send bouyon songs to my friends in Taiwan, St. Lucia, Canada and Switzerland and I want them to enjoy the music without asking for clarification every 30 seconds.
Truth is, and I’m sure everyone knows by now, bouyon has potential. Several other regional artistes have noticed and have incorporated that style in their own music to produce some sort of hybrid genre enjoyed by many. I believe with the new kids on the block we’re on to something revolutionary. All I see is a world of possibilities and great opportunities ahead, all for the love for bouyon.