St. Croix-based reggae artist Kenya Eugene is excited to announce her newest single “Bun It,” due out August 13. The new single is the first release from her highly anticipated LP “Color Me Reggae,” a collaboration between Kenya Eugene and HouseofBambú (BambuStation).
Aptly named “Bun It,” the song’s title carries a powerful meaning. Kenya comments, “I choose to name the single after the more popular/familiar name of the Labor Riot in St.Croix U.S.V.I., which is “the Fire Burn”. I just put my own twist on it.” She explains, “ ‘Bun it’ is a derivative of slang we use in the Caribbean to put on blast or to make known your disapproval of the status quo.”
The Labor Riot AKA “The Fire Burn” started in Frederiksted AKA “Freedom City,” where Kenya was born and raised in St. Croix. “The Fire Burn” was the result of the Danish Government’s ill-treatment and unfair labor practices imposed on workers of African descent after slavery ended in the Virgin Islands. St. Croix, laborers protested the government and their retaliation became a riot that lasted for a week. There are many that organized and took part, most notably recognized in history were four female protestors, dubbed the Fire Burn Queens.
The new song kicks off with an Acapella folk song that reflects on the Labor Riot/Fire Burn. The song is part of St. Croix history and taught to elementary school children when they learn about the Labor Riot. It is a story of strength, resilience and determination. Kenya adds, “You sing it anywhere in the world you are, and if you hear anyone join in and sing along, that’s a Virgin Islander or someone who spent time in the U.S. Virgin Islands and learned some of its rich history and culture.”
For Kenya, “This story is really special to me as it depicts the strength of Virgin Islanders, but more specifically a special set of women who played leadership roles in the fire burn. In this instance, they were titled, Queens. Like many, they were tired of the unfair labor laws imposed by the then ruling Danish government in the Virgin Islands and did something about it.” She continues, “It embodies and celebrates the strength of women throughout history. This overall message is representative of so many things including a level of reflection and consciousness. It has various meanings and speaks to each listener differently based on their experiences.”
“Bun it” is a change in vibe from Kenya’s music and highlights her writing talents. Most known for lovers rock reggae and R&B ballads, the new song is written and performed as an inspirational roots reggae song. Kenya wrote and recorded “Bun it” on St.Croix at Kenya’s mom’s house in December 2019. The music was produced by Jalani Horton of Bambu Station, mixed and mastered by Andre “Andy” Llanos also of HouseofBambu and vocal editing by Dean Pond.
Reflecting back on the new song, Kenya comments, “The music spoke to me, the verses and hook embody every emotion I actually felt while creating. This single is so much more hard core than anything I’ve ever written.” She continues, “I call my music “Heart Music” because it is music from my heart. I write what I feel. I don’t and won’t restrict myself to only singing one genre of music, or experiencing 1 type of feeling. I am human and I experience a series of emotions on a daily basis. And I want other human beings to be able to relate, so I speak from my heart.”
During COVID lockdowns, and over the last year Kenya has been focusing on writing and recording new music. She recalls, “Covid has actually worked a little to my advantage. Although I was disappointed that my performances were canceled due to the covid-19 pandemic, I quickly refocused my efforts. I decided to continue to hone my writing skills, and further edit my recordings. In the process of doing those things, I ended up writing new music. My then EP ended up becoming an Album, “Color Me Reggae!”
St. Croix based artist, actress, and model, Kenya Eugene, has blended her love for various forms of art bringing about a perfect marriage of her passions into what she calls Heart Music. She comes from a long line of artists and players of instruments. Kenya recalls as a youth following around her older siblings, including her older sister’ Roots Reggae Empress Dezarie, just to be in the presence of music. Kenya’s unique songwriting intelligence and versatility has afforded her the opportunity to write for major and independent label artists, have her music featured in major film and perform on a number of stages. She has been the handpicked opening act for artists such as Morgan Heritage, Dezarie, Wyclef Jean, Big Mountain, Bambu Station, Brandy, and India Arie just to name a few. Most recently Kenya and her team in conjunction with Beautiful Dreamers Behavioral Center, Ltd, organized two mental health awareness events back home in the Virgin Islands. The series was titled, “Take a Mental Break With the Sound of Love”.
“This story is really special to me as it depicts the strength of Virgin Islanders, but more specifically a special set of women who played leadership roles in the fire burn. In this instance they were titled Queens. Like many, they were tired of the unfair labor laws imposed by the then ruling Danish government in the Virgin Islands and did something about it.” “It embodies and celebrates the strength of women throughout history. This overall message is representative of so many things including a level of reflection and consciousness. It has various meanings and speaks to each listener differently based on their experiences.” – Kenya Eugene