The high energy and wonderful party atmosphere Burning Flames exudes in its music is one of the reasons why it is one of the most popular soca bands in the Caribbean whose reputation spreads worldwide.
Hailing from St. John, their music is influenced by calypso, reggae, ragga, funk, and zouk. The band formed in 1984 and the original line-up included three brothers — Toriano "King Onyan" Edwards (vocals, guitar), David "Bubb-I" Edwards (vocals, bass), and Clarence "Oungku" Edwards (vocals, keyboards) — along with drummer Rone "Foxx" Watkins.
The three brothers had previously worked together as buskers and Clarence and Toriano played in Arrow’s backing band. The band appeared at the Antiguan Road March carnival in 1985 with their song ‘Stiley Tight’, which was issued as their debut single in 1986. They went on to have international success in 1989 with ‘Workey’, which was also later covered by Byron Lee & the Dragonaires.
The band signed for Mango Records in 1991, releasing the album Dig.
They won the Road March title on five occasions between 1991 and 1996, and in 1997 Toriano Edwards embarked on a solo career as King Onyan, going on to win four Calypso Monarch titles, eventually leaving the band.
The other members recruited vocalists Bryan Fontanelle and Onika Bostik, and the new line up recorded the album HokusPokus (1999). They won the Road March title again in 1999 with ‘Magician (I Command You)’.
Bostik died in Dec. 2004, due to injuries sustained in a car crash eight days earlier. The following year, lead singer Oungku left Burning Flames after winning that year's Carnival Road March with the single ‘De Harder Deh Come’, and formed a new band, Red Hot Flames. From his song, ‘Oungku Too Bad-Minded’, it became apparent that Oungku left the band due to some kind of controversy. He said it was because the band had outgrown its members. Red Hot Flames won the 2006 road march competition with the single ‘Trouble’. That year, original band member Onyan re-joined with bass player and vocalist David "Krokuss" Edwards, also known as Lord Satellite. The first album of the reformed band was entitled Ebry Bady Ha Fu Nyam and featured hit songs like ‘Raw Sole’ and ‘Green Bush’. They went on to reclaim the Road March title with the single ‘Papi’ from their 2007 album De Real Fyah.
Burning Flames continue to perform and record around the Caribbean to mass appreciation, which is not surprising considering their huge body of work compiled over the past three decades.
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18 Nov, 2019
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