Unlike other Riddim Shack installments (here and here) which have travelled widely around the Caribbean and Africa, this one mostly keeps it locked on Dominica in the eastern Antilles. Bouyon developed in the 1980s and to the uninitiated can most readily be described as Dominica’s take on soca (although it actually evolved from various local sounds): clocking in at around 150 bpm, it is all about big hands-in-the-air choruses, sudden percussion breakdowns, synthesizers emulating accordions, steel band riffs and soaring vocal lines interspersed with cries and chants. An informative introduction is Garford Alexander’s 2014 film, This is Bouyon:
A short history and description can also be found in the Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, Volume 9: Genres: Caribbean and Latin America, Bloomsbury 2014, pp.83-4.
This mix is just a bunch of bouyon tunes that I like playing, spiced with a few pieces from further afield: South Rakkas from Florida remixed by Toronto’s Marcus Visionary, Poirier from Montreal channelling Trinidad’s Kes the Band and a raw edit of a production from Paris-based Angolan singer Elizio. The previously unidentified track (#3) which comes off a CD I was given in Dominica with “Old Skool Bouyon” scribbled on it and no other info is actually from Antigua - thanks to @copasetiq for the info!
Swinging Stars - Blaze It Up
Skinny Banton & Klockerz - Tonight A Di Night (Fade 2’s Rub Me Down Edit)
Burning Flames - Tout Moun Dance
Ruff and Reddy Band - Difé
Royalty Band - Siwo
Nayee and Skinny - Signal
Lloyd D Energizer - In The Road
South Rakkas Crew - So It Go (Marcus Visionary Subsoca Remix)
Elizio - Sabi Di Mas (Fade 2’s Mas Ambiance Edit)
Kes The Band - Where Yuh From (Poirier’s Work That Riddim Remix)
Royalty Band - Let We Celebrate
(Thanks to: Hugo Mendez, Franklyn Lockhart, Poirier, @copasetiq.)