The Tolly Boy's, creators of the Bouyon in Saint-Martin


It's in a party bus in April 2015 that Youry Fleming, now 18 years old, made his first song: “Tolly she want”. He then sings it to his neighbor of the same age, Mathieu Richardson and Bernard Gumbs, a.k.a Wizito, the youngest of the group, hear them. A few hours later, at a party in their neighborhood of Sandy Ground, Youry asks Wizito to sing his song “to see how people will react.”

Satisfied with the passion it arouses, the three teenagers record their first title the next day in the studios of Madtwoz. So begins the adventure of the Tolly Boy’s (YMW): “everybody started to dance on the song, the offers came and our life changed” recaps Youry, the leader of the group. Since the success of their first title, the three boys regularly perform at Tantra, at Soggy Dollar, etc. “Before, we were just ourselves, but now we're more popular, people recognize us” he says.

Those who missed “Tolly she want”, hardly could miss out on On plonge which is certainly the anthem of the Saint-Martin’s Carnival 2017 edition. The music video, directed by the Guadeloupeans of G-Islands has been seen 511,000 times since its release on YouTube last January 29. A huge success for amateur artists, especially on such a small island. That they arouse admiration or misunderstanding, the Tolly Boy's are not in any case without effect. Just read the comments posted under videos or those pronounced orally. While many praise them, others qualify their words and pictures as pornographic and are shocked to hear the children singing “plonger dans la coucoune.”

It must be said that the Tolly Boy's do not make any music. “In the evenings, we could hear all the time the bouyon but none came from Saint-Martin. Then, we decided to create the bouyon of Saint-Martin”, they explain. Born in Dominica, the bouyon is a style of music that is similar to very fast Soca music with more than suggestive lyrics which earned it of being accused of pornography. ““On plonge”, we did it for fun. We had already done Tolly she want which means she wants my d*** and nobody said anything, then we continued”, they say. When asked if they are aware of shocking some people they say: “we understand when people are shocked because their little girl sings “plonger dans la coucoune” but at the beginning it is not a song for kids, then check with YouTube.” And to add: “Yes we're a bit vulgar but the bouyon, this is what it is.”

They also say that very few groups from Guadeloupe and Dominica are able to accumulate more than 500,000 views in less than two months and believe to have “put back Saint-Martin on the map”, thanks to their success outside of the island. But they are not showing off. “Living from music is not in our interest for now” they say. Especially since Youry graduated from high school last year and took a gap year before resuming his studies, and Mathieu and Bernard are still in school (one in vocational training qualification in nautical mechanic, the other a high school senior). “We're young and we have not yet been contacted by someone serious.” They have already released six songs. In general, they choose together an instrumental, composed by D-mitri, brother of Youry and local beat maker, they all write together, then choose the best text when they arrive in the studio. They do not plan to make an album. Despite their young age and their amateur aspect, they have their heads on their shoulders: “If you do an album, people won't take the time to listen to it and analyze each song. It is better to get them out one after the other”, they say. Their next title is called “Mannequin Challenge”. G-Islands already shot the video. They will release it for the Morning Jouvert on the Dutch side.

Photo credits: Soualiga Media



Fanny Fontan