Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons *Photo supplied
Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons *Photo supplied

Husband and wife soca couple Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons say that being completely opposite helped them to earn their title as “Soca’s Royal Couple”.

The pair will be representing Team Soca, along with DJ Rusty and DJ Chubb, at the 7th annual Soca Vs Reggae concert on August 2 at Tiger Bay. They will face Demarco on Team Reggae with King Jyrus and Prezidential Elite. Garlin has just released the biggest song of his career so far — Differentology (We Ready). 

Asked what it is like to work so closely with her spouse, Lyons told the Bermuda Sun: “It’s not as hard as one may think, we know where to draw lines and respect each other and everything else falls into place. We are very opposite and that works.” 

And do they stage mini sound clashes in the comfort of their own home? “That goes without saying! We bump heads but not to the point where the aim of finding a solution is not realized,” she said.

Organizer Vejay Steede hailed this year’s event the VIP Edition saying that landing the couple represents the best soca line-up in Bermuda since Machel Montano performed here some 20 years ago.

Bunji Garlin (real name, Ian A Alvarez) has been riding the wave of success since the 1999 Carnival Season when he launched his soca career with the ragga soca tune Send Dem Riddim Crazy. Garlin brought us the Asylum Band which fuses numerous ragga soca artists into one family including Benjai, Gail Ann and Scarface to name a few. Like his wife, Garlin has achieved numerous soca crowns.

With some 10 years in the soca music industry, Garlin has released some nine albums. — Chronicles, Revelation, The Black Spaniard, Graceful Vengenve, Flamestorm, The Next Direction, Global, Fiery and iSpaniard.

Garlin told us that anything could happen on the stage at Soca Vs Reggae: “We tend to be very spontaneous, whereas some may plan out an entire performance we do not as we believe in absorbing the moments as they come. Each event tends to bring a different vibe, but energy entertainment and enjoyment always has a place on our stage.”

His wife, also known as The Lyon Empress, composes her own lyrics and melodies. She came on to the soca scene in 2002 with It’s My Turn Now and made her mark with hits such as Display, which earned the top title at the 2003 Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Road March. 

A front liner for the Invasion band, she went solo in in 2005 and regained the Road March title in 2008 with the infectious Get On.

She became the first lady to claim all major titles of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and even took the Groovy Soca Monarch and Road March crowns in February 2009 while she was eight months pregnant. 

She said of the experience: “It was actually was bitter sweet as on one hand I was doing what I loved and representing my culture on the other hand I had developed preeclampsia and was under constant doctors watch, nevertheless I appreciated everything that happened and see it as a history making moment in my career and life.

“I was always interested in music and performing so I set out to do that, the titles came as a result of hard work and not really desire.”

The Royal Couple of Soca have so far enjoyed successful careers but they are not happy to leave it at that. They are helping young up and coming artists to find their way in the industry through a project they call the United States of the Caribbean.

“We travel and get the opportunity to meet so many young musicians and their talent is undeniable. For that very reason we have embarked on a project to network producers songwriters and artists from different islands with the intention of integration music and culture wise.”