Soul Train Award Winner Bunji Garlin in Atlanta (Caribbean Event Review)

Review By: Marissa Williams ; Photo Credits: Dwayne Johnson

Kickback with Bunji Garlin Flyer

Innovative. Empowering. Necessary. Those are the adjectives that came to mind as I looked on at the ever growing crowd at the ‘Kickback with Bunji Garlin’ event that took place on Thursday March 27th at Thrive Atlanta. The flyer promised a night of intimate conversation with the artiste, but, who really knew what that meant?

The concept was so new to the Atlanta Caribbean scene that many people just seemed to walk through the door with an open mind. At the very least, they expected a soca fete with an appearance by Bunji Garlin and at the most they hoped for a full-fledged Bunji Concert to get their weekend started right. But, what they got was so much more mind-blowing and rewarding. Over  forty-five (45) minutes of intimate and inspiring dialogue with the Viking Of Soca. Bunji spoke on a diverse array of topics including the evolution of calypso/soca music and his career. He also touched on the need for Caribbean people to make their presence known statistically through legal downloads of music so that the music can get the respect it deserves internationally.

Bunji Crowd

I was close to joyful tears as I sat back observing it all, and thought to myself,  ‘Soca music has definitely come a long way from the days of begging DJ’s for a soca song and getting the same rotation at every fete i.e. Dollar Wine, Tiney Winey and if you’re lucky Palance.’

My respect for Bunji Garlin as an artiste and Caribbean cultural ambassador has increased exponentially. A humble and talented man already makes my heart patter. But a humble, talented, culturally aware and articulate man is worthy of swoon status. Bunji definitely made the cut (no disrespect Fay-Ann ;])! Thank you to the visionary promoters that came together to make this a reality. Trends Concepts, DJ Kash, DS Events, DA Avenue and V.P Records yuh large!!!!



Thrive was already a familiar venue to many thanks to the weekly Saturday night events hosted by Trends Concepts. As attendees walked in, they were dazzled by costume displays from various Atlanta carnival bands set up to encourage patrons to play mas for Atlanta Carnival 2014. I saw representatives from Impulse Mas, Inferno, Madd Flava DA Movement and We Kinda Ting. There were also chairs set up around a make shift stage, signaling to those who did not already know-this was definitely going to be a different kind of soca ‘party’.


Caribbean people are notoriously late, so the 8:30 start time made me chuckle a bit inside. But my 8:45 arrival met the pleasant surprise of an almost full venue.(Maybe because it was free ;]).  King AP & One Drop Sounds were delivering the soca music and people were sitting around, chilling, waiting to see what would come next. The audience was engaged from the beginning to the end of the night, eagerly anticipating some kind of Bunji performance. Then it came and all hell and waist lines broke loose. In the words of Fay Ann Lyons-‘you can’t come near soca music and sit down’. And that’s when it happened….


Bunji AddisonAt the risk of sounding like a groupie-Bunji Garlin delivered in every sense of the word. From the 45+ minutes of conversation about his career, about soca music now and about where it can be, to the impromptu interview with his wife Fay-Ann Lyons, to the Q& A session with the crowd, to the impromptu lyrics sessions with DJ Kash to the even more impromptu ‘jump on a speaker box and sing’ session-he delivered!. And, the crowd was with him every step of the way. Addison where you get that big flag? D.J. Kash of V103 F.M. did a great job of moving the interview portion forward and asking the right questions, Tashina of maintained control of the Q&A portion of the night, John Wayne made sure the sound system was ever ready and the DJ’s kept the vibez flowing until an hour way past my week night bedtime. Despite the noisy people at the bar who would not shut up while Bunji spoke-this event was a definite ACE!

The ‘Kickback with Bunji Garlin’ has propelled the Atlanta Caribbean entertainment scene to another dimension in my opinion. I eagerly look forward to the next.


Video Credits: Corey Hamilton of Hamilton Multimedia, LLC

 Marissa Williams is a marketing and Caribbean media professional living in Atlanta (hailing from the twin island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago). She uses her work with the various media entities in Atlanta (print & radio) to showcase Caribbean culture to the world.

Me and Bunji



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