Resurgence: Part II-Original Bouyon Pioneers (OBP)
The most potent musical combination since Breaker and Starret of the Gaylords, Gordon and Fitzroy of Exile or Jeff Joe and Frere Soul of Grammax has undoubtedly been Rah and Cornel. There has been numerous calls, officially and unofficially, for them to join forces once again as two of the originators of Bouyon music well over two and a half decades ago. They separated, went solo, joined different outfits and led different music groups: Raw Riddim, Franatic etc, but still what they achieved when they combined with pen, vocals, drums and keys has never replicated itself in the Bouyon world.
They once formed the hub of the music we came to love, together with Cornel's brother Irvin who played a big role in the rhythmic elements of the band. And there was the underrated but creative bassist, Keith Goddard, the original "K" in WCK, once an acronym for Wackers, Cornel and Keith.
Now they are back with four of the original members-Cornel " Fingers" Phillip himself, guitarist Ashton "Wackers" Lugay, singer and prolific song writer Derrick " Rah" Peters and Irvin "Smokey" Phillip on rhythm keys and long serving writer and drummer Pelam Jno. Baptiste. Today they have regrouped as the Original Bouyon Pioneers (OBP) with the services of one of the most promising youthful bassist on island, Jervon Alexander, who was not even born when the Bouyon movement began.
Even as you read this article, the original WCK or OBP as they have now been rechristened, have released five songs to supplement their regional tours to islands such as St Lucia after they officially presented themselves as a unified team at Creole in the Park in 2014. "Text Me" and "Redeem de Riddim" are two such numbers written and composed by Rah himself with assistance in musical arrangements attributed to Cecil Joseph Jn. The chorus effects employed by Ashton "Wackers" Lugay on the former do add some dimension to the sound.
While one can identify with the signature vocal style of Rah, I must commend the young Cecil Joseph Jn for his work particularly on the second number. It's real bouncy with some interesting drum patterns and off-beats that instantly appeals to the feet.
Even Calypso famed Sheldon "Shelly de Professor" Alfred of the Triple Kay took some time off during his vacation to do a "Tex me" remix, re- titled "What's up me"- collaborations…the way to go!
Probably the most popular number is " Jammin" done in combination with Kurt Allen of Trinidad and Derrick Rah Peters. This number is actually an adaptation of Bélé number "Anayea ou ti la la" recorded by B- Blood in the 70s, Tradibelle in the 90s and calypsonian Scrunter at the turn of this century.
However, this OBP interpretation, I think, has great potential for gaining traction in other markets, not only because both Kurt and Rah are regional names in the music business, but because the infectious merger of Bouyon, Soca and even traditional Bélé patterns gives it a unique and marketable sound.
"Something to talk about" is a welcomed combination and collaboration which is needed in Dominica's music, utilizing the refrain of a once popular pop hit from the 90s. Hence Tazzy of Triple Kay fame and Rah complement each other well in a composition attributed to Triple Kay's keyboardist and engineer, Kendel Laurant.
Finally, Wackers puts pen to paper with the input of Pelam, Irvin and Rah in a Cornel Phillip's composition "Frienemy": Calypso styled lyrics on a Bouyon rhythm ….interesting!
Fans in Dominica and the sub-region now eagerly await the full-fledged album and trust this resurgence goes the distance.