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Capturing the Boney M. magic.

Boney M., back in the day. Right: Sheyla Bonnick, an original Boney M. member, will be performing as part of the tribute band tomorrow.

By Anand Holla

Forty years since the release of their iconic debut album "Take the Heat Off Me" and with it the conquering of disco floors with hits such as Daddy Cool, Sunny, and Baby Do You Wanna Bump, Boney M.'s music continues to send people at clubs and pubs into frenzied dancing fits.

Sheyla Bonnick, an original member of the early Boney M., is all set to give Qatar a taste of the Eurodisco, reggae and R&B music that propelled the vocal group to pop music stratosphere in the late 70s, when she performs at Qube in Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha, tomorrow (Thursday), with her band the Sounds of Boney M, or just Boney M, as they call it.

Singer-songwriter, author, reiki healer, and talent scout, Bonnick and her tribute band has been touring all over Europe as Boney M. The story goes that German record producer Frank Farian, who created Boney M., wasn't too hung up on who gets to keep the band name; he is said to have pointed out that as long as there is an original member in each variant, they can call themselves Boney M. In fact, since the 80s, various line-ups of the band have performed with different artistes.

Ray McRobbie, Director of Entertainment, Radisson Blu Hotel Doha, told Community, "Radisson Blu Hotel are pleased to announce that Boney M will be performing at Qube Nightclub on Thursday with original member Sheyla Bonnick. They will be singing all their hits including Ma Baker, Rasputin and By the Rivers of Babylon."

The Jamaica-born England-raised Bonnick was a member of an early line-up of Boney M. in 1975, during the promotion of the first single Baby Do You Wanna Bump. In the early 70s, Bonnick visited Germany with her friend Maizie Williams, also an original member of the band, in search of fame and fortune.

Sometime towards the end of 1974, an agent approached the two and asked them if they were interested in fronting a new disco group for performing a new single called Baby Do You Wanna Bump. Farian had recorded and produced that single but wasn't keen on facing the limelight. Soon, Farian put together four talented lady singers to promote the single as Boney M. on TV stations and at discotheques. The song was a smash hit, of course.

Farian had come up with the now-famous name for his band after watching an Australian TV-series on German TV, which featured a guy named Boney. Farian somehow took to "Boney" and started to play around with the name in his head saying: "Boney, Boney, Boney, Boney.... Boney M.!"

In its biography on Boney M., the All Music site says, "Although they never had much success in America, the Euro-disco group Boney M. were a European phenomenon during the 70s. After German record producer Frank Farian recorded the single Baby Do You Wanna Bump (which was successful in Holland and Belgium), he created Boney M. to support the song, bringing in four West Indian vocalists who had been working as session singers in Germany -- Marcia Barrett, Liz Mitchell, Maizie Williams, and Bobby Farrell. Daddy Cool reached the UK Top Ten in February 1977, followed in April by a remake of Bobby Hebb's Sunny."

And then, in July, Ma Baker just missed the UK number one spot, and Belfast hit the Top Ten in December. In 1978, Boney M. were at the height of their popularity with Rivers of Babylon/Brown Girl in the Ring, which became the second-biggest selling single in UK chart history. "Rivers of Babylon also was Boney M.'s only U.S. Top 40 hit. Boney M.'s album, 'Nightflight to Venus', also topped the UK charts. In October 1978, Rasputin became another UK Top Ten hit, followed by the seasonal chart-topper Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord, which became the fifth-biggest selling single in UK history. In March 1979, Painter Man hit the UK Top Ten, followed in May by Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holi-Holiday," All Music says.

Even 40 years later, their music continues to sell well in Europe. Bonnick and her band now flies the flag of Boney M. high as they tour and perform all the hits such as Rasputin, Daddy Cool, Ma Baker, Brown Girl in the Ring, Rivers of Babylon, and Holiday, among others -- which is what you can expect in Doha, too. For tickets and more details, call 4428-1555.

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:May 10, 2016
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