Bouyon is a style of Dominican music which had its origins in the late 80s and early 90s with the band WCK(Windward Caribbean Kulture). The music is highly danceable and is omnipresent during carnival season. Bouyon refers to an "okra stew" in Dominican French Creole or Patois. Some class it as a sauce. Others class it as a soup. This changing mix, potpourri nature of bouyon stew also describe the characteristic of the music. WCK created bouyon by infusing its Soca style with native Dominican forms Jing Ping, Bélé, Lapo Kabwit, Cadance, Cadance-lypso. They also incorporated Zouk(especially the uptempo version, Zouk hard). In Martinique, Bouyon is known as Jump Up music. In Guadeloupe, a controversial form has developed --some has characterised as sexist and violent, to the point of being banned on the island.


Bouyon had its beginnings in the early Soca style of WCK in the late 80s. WCK did a style of Soca similiar to bands like Burning Flames, Jam Band, Seventeen Plus-- heavily rooted in drum machines and synthesizers. Unlike the latter bands, WCK was rooted in two Caribbean musical tradition, both the English and French creole. Dominica, where WCK(Windward Caribbean Kulture) originates, retains a dual heritage of both Anglo and Franco Caribbean musical sensibilities. WCK added native Dominican styles like Jing Ping, Cadence-lypso, Lapo Kabwit, and Zouk "hard" (uptempo zouk, chire), They tried reproducing traditional forms on modern instruments like synthesizers, expanding on their early Soca form creating a distinct genre, which other Dominican and Guadeloupean bands started emulating and replicating the form. Bouyon started spreading in the eastern Caribbean by mid 1990, with super hit songs like "balance batty." With proliferation of FM stations in the 90s and the internet in the 2000s, Bouyon spread and came into its own.


Bouyon makes use of one bass player , one guitarist, one drummer, multiple synthesizer keyboardists, and drum machines-- bands WCK, Triple K. Bouyon incorporates sampling and sound effect, a feature devoid of its early Soca incarnation. A composition might have birds chirping or truck horns blowing in the background. Sampling of popular pop song might be incorporated in a piece. A snippet of a pop song can be the basis of an entire bouyon composition, in terms of melody and rhythm. Samplings are controlled by the synthesizer, keyboard player.

Lyrically, bouyon is sang in English Creole or the Dominican French Creole--Patois. Dominican musicians tend to switch between the two language. Subject matter is typically about having a good time. Singers are like ralliers encouraging the the audience to dance-- jump and wine. Its lyrics are rarily about serious subject  matters.

Rhythmically, bouyon makes use of drum machines, which can take on steel pan textures and tones. Bouyon  mixes the inorganic drum machines and organic--live drums. Melodies, harmonies take on accordion tones, giving an authentic traditional feel.

Related Article: Soca , Zouk

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