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Bunji rocks ‘106 and Park’

By Leiselle Maraj Friday, May 2 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Bunji Garlin (Ian Alvarez) and Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez....
Bunji Garlin (Ian Alvarez) and Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez....

Host of BET’s 106 and Park, Bow Wow (Shad Moss), did his research before interviewing local artiste, Bunji Garlin, and his wife, Fay-Ann, on the show’s episode that aired yesterday, questioning the two about their boycott of the recently concluded Tobago Jazz Experience.

A little bit of freestyling, a little bit of wining and a lot of soca were on display on the popular American music video countdown show when Bunji (Ian Alvarez) and Fay-Ann made their much anticipated appearance.

It comes less than a week after the couple and their band, the Asylum Vikings abruptly cancelled their scheduled performance on April 25 during the festival that ran from April 19-27 at different venues across Tobago. The band refused to perform claiming they were poorly treated as not enough rooms were booked for its 18 members. The Tobago House of Assembly, organisers of the event, said attempts were made to secure additional rooms but by the time they were successful, the band had already left.

During the interview segment, Bow Wow questioned the soca couple about the incident and asked whether the jazz promoters issued an apology. Bunji put aside the incident stating, “An apology was put out, somewhat and in some form but we are not dwelling on that. That happened already, we are here now and we are dealing from this point onward.”

Trini eyes all over the world were glued to their televisions as Bunji made a brief appearance at the beginning of the show, which began at 6 pm local time, chanting “We Ready” with the show’s co-host, Keisha Chanté. The show’s DJ then played the intro to “Differentology” to get things started. The show focused first on Rita Ora, British singer, songwriter and actress who premiered a video, before making way for Bunji’s performance. Chanté, whose father is Trinidadian, made the intro for Bunji who spoke and sang in an undiluted Trini accent.

He took the stage with Fay-Ann in tow to the cheers of the audience members waving different Caribbean flags, most of which were Trinidad and Tobago’s. Decked in a red jacket and black jersey with jeans, he continued to work his magic with “Differentology”, the song that has won him much recognition around the world, particularly in the US market where he copped Soul Train and MTV music awards last year. The song was played in the opening minutes of an episode of hit US medical drama Grey’s Anatomy and was recently played during a NBA game.

With Fay-Ann as his “hype woman”, the “Viking” moved the crowd as if it were a Carnival fete, freestyling about his appearance on the show while the “Vi-Queen” gave them a taste of her waist.

After the performance, Bow Wow said the crowd was going crazy for the artiste, making way for both hosts to conduct a short interview. Bow Wow asked Bunji about the origins of his name, to which Bunji explained that it came while watching documentaries on bungee jumping. “I realised the further down you pulled the rope, the higher it goes on release and I applied it to my life. The more I am pulled down, when I’m released, I go higher.”

He was then asked about his hectic schedule earlier this year, performing nine full shows in one night. Bunji said he was accustomed to this pace, having performed for 15 years during Carnival seasons and it was easy because the band boasts of two frontline singers: him and his wife who he described as one of most dynamic female singers in Trinidad and Tobago.

When asked about their upcoming work, Fay-Ann mentioned she is working on her new album with Canadian producer Boy Wonder (Manuel Alejandro Ruiz) and Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Angela Hunte among others while they both spoke about upcoming performances at Summer Jam on June 1, Caribana, Labour Day in New York, in Belgium among other gigs.

The couple did not leave the audience empty handed but gifted copies of his 2013 CD featuring “Differentology” to each member of the crowd. Those who were not lucky enough to be in the live audience took to Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites to proclaim their excitement. Among those were the man himself who tweeted, “Celebrate all you want but know that the road is very long. Now is when all need to be pushing. Every hand on deck. We are Soca.”

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