As the Carnival Season climaxes, Dominica gets ready to celebrate one of its original musical genres – bouyon music.
Bouyon Day is being officially observed today Tuesday, February 21, 2017.
Local radio stations and media outlets are asked to play only Bouyon music on that day and to interview Bouyon artistes. An added feature is the Bouyon Street Jam which takes place in Lagoon from 7 pm to 11 pm on February 21, 2017 featuring Fanatik Band and reigning Bouyon Monarch Carlyn XP, Signal Band and DJ Snow.
In a recent interview, bouyon pioneer Cornell Phillip provided this insight on what bouyon music is.
“When we were growing up there was this cultural movement that was dwindling ….. the members of WCK saw it fit to revitalize the traditional rhythms of Dominica. The way how we attempted to do that is like bringing the acoustic instruments into the electronic age. So in truth and in fact Bouyon music is just the modernization of the traditional rhythms of Dominica.”
He further stated, “In truth and in fact, bouyon music is a direct descendant of jing ping music, lapeau kabwit, bélé, quadrille.”
When asked about the development of Bouyon music since its inception in the 1980’s, Phillip said, “The thing that bothers me is that the music isn’t fully matured, it hasn’t gone global, it hasn’t been accepted as a genre in the world. The fact that we have so many outside influences like the American style music having such a great impact on Bouyon that is a concern to me.”
To address this concern, Phillip proposes building a catalogue of bouyon music, producing original bouyon music with a message that has regional and global appeal. He further noted his appreciation for bands like Triple K and WCK who have introduced a new vibrancy in the Bouyon music.
According to Phillip, the success of Bouyon music will depend on developing a strategy and common goal for its development, and greater collaboration among bouyon artistes.