Boney M is a name that is bound to get one nostalgic. If you were born anytime around the 70’s or 80’s, you are bound to have their songs engraved in your memory. The repetition of words, the catchy tunes and boisterous music made their compositions unforgettable and consequentially timeless. Such compositions are hard to find nowadays. The Euro-Caribbean vocal group was created in the 70’s by German record producer Frank Farian. Originally based in West Germany, the four original members of the group's official line-up were Liz Mitchell and Marcia Barrett from Jamaica, Maizie Williams from Montserrat and Bobby Farrell from Aruba. The band has sold 80 million records. Boney M featuring Liz Mitchell, the original lead singer, will be in Dhaka on July 13 at BICC where they will be performing many such hits from that time and more.
Frank Farian recorded the dance track "Baby Do You Wanna Bump" in December 1974. Farian sang the repeated line "Do you do you wanna bump?" in a deep voice (that was entirely created on studio) as well as performed the high falsetto chorus. When the record was released as a single, it was credited to "Boney M.", a pseudonym Farian had created for himself after watching the Australian detective show ‘Boney’. He said, “I turned on the TV one day and it was the end of a detective series. I just caught the credits and it said Boney. Nice name, I thought – Boney, Boney, Boney... Boney M. Boney, Boney, Boney M. Nice sound. Simple.”
It was not just about the lines that were repeated but how musically was each word interpreted. Think about the song “Ra Ra Rasputin”. There is such phonetic pleasure one can derive from it. And it’s a song everybody cannot think of without singing it in their minds. While alliteration was common in Boney M’s songs, they were never devoid of meaning. In fact, each song of Boney M had something to say, besides stirring up the mood of the listener. “Ra Ra Rasputin” song which was on the album “Night flight to Venus” sensationalized the life of Grigori Rasputin, friend and advisor of Tsar Nicholas II in early 20th-century Russia. The song went number 1 in Germany, Australia, and Austria, number 2 in the UK and Switzerland. The music video online has over 78 million views.
The song “Daddy Cool” is another out of many that has made them so renowned. It was included on their debut album ‘Take the Heat off Me’. It was a staple of disco music and became Boney M.'s first United Kingdom hit. Other popular songs include ‘Rivers of Babylon’, ‘Ma Baker’, ‘Mary's Boy Child – Oh My Lord’ etc.While there was evidently magic in their songs, it was the 70’s which was their golden era. Since the 1980s, various line-ups of the band have performed with different personnel. Things became different. But the spell that Boney M’s earliest songs had cast still lingers in the minds of many.