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Sep 23, 2022

Coconu-Bwai; Prince of Bruk Down Music

When you hear Coconu Bwai, it’s usually associated with a makeshift weapon used by the Baymen in the battle against the Spaniards on St. Georges Caye. But these days it’s associated with a household bruk-down artist. This week Sabreena Daly had a sit down well well-known calypsonian, Coconu Bwai.


Sabreena Daly, Reporting

Since 2014, Cecil Jenkins Jr. became an added voice of the Bruk Down music legacy. His loyal fans know him by his stage name, Coconu Bwai. His path in music began at the age of seventeen; a teenager embracing the sounds and culture of his heritage.

Coconu Bwai

Cecil Jenkins Jr. AKA Coconu Bwai, Belizean Artist
I neva really know what I mih gwine into but when I perform and when you hear your name called first place, “Cecil Jenkins Jr.”, the feedback from the fans, crowd, people that just know you, that motivates me to go again another year.”


He made his debut as an artist at the September Celebration’s junior song competition in 2014. His success in winning propelled him to participate and subsequently win several years after, including senior in 2015 and 2016, then senior in 2018 and 2019, respectively. He was also recognized as Bruk Down Artist of the Year in 2017. The gifted young calypsonian shared with me the detailed genesis of his love of Bruk Down. What many don’t know: it started from the nudge of his high school art teacher.

Cecil Jenkins Jr. AKA Coconu Bwai
He was our art teacher at the time and I can’t forget cause if da neva sake ah he, I neva mi wa be the person I am today. I’m glad to know that a man like him, he saw a vision in me that I neva see ina myself. When I started to do my homework about the culture, Mr. Peters, Leelah Vernon, Lord Rhaburn, Brother David, people who paved the way in Bruk Down Music, that made me realize that no one else was doing it young like me. At the age of seventeen going on to eighteen, no one was doing it. They wanted to do dancehall, soca, hip-hop. I choose Bruk Down because music da creole culture and I know culture always sell.”

Lord Rhaburn

Lord Rhaburn, Belizean Artist
All things shall perish from under the sky but music alone shall live. So, when we are dead and gone, Bruk down will live on. And now that the younger ones start doing it, they could lay claim to something that is Belizean.”


The Uniqueness of the genre makes for interaction between artist and audience but the poetic play on words is also one of the key things that intrigue listeners most.

Cecil Jenkins Jr. AKA Coconu Bwai
Over the years, Lord Rhaburn, one of the main pioneers, who motivated me and made me question his writing or meaning in a song, the way he arranged it lyrically, that was something I sucked in. People would say this song sounds raw. This da part of the secret ina Bruck Down music, you could sing about anything. Its how you do it. Not only that, you don’t want to sing a song that is not memorable. The only time you play that song, it should be the vibe, the beat, the hook, the hook is the main thing.”


And while every musician has their loyal fans, the exceptionality of singing a genre like Bruk down is that it connects different generations. For Cecil, his top fan is his grandma.

Cecil Jenkins Jr. AKA Coconu Bwai
My mother now, she always supports me, but my grandmother, she is the one who is doing the sewing, who gets the kids together for the stage show, my choreographer. She is like the backbone. And anything I need sewing-wise, advice-wise, she would give her input. I even ended up doing a song with her.”

Racquel Baptist

Racquel Baptist, grandmother

When he did his first song, I supported him, up until the last song he did in August 2019. Now, he bring out a next one I love badly. Di Reketek. Reketeng, Reketeng? That da di song I love. Da he teach me the dance and the song and everything, and we practiced ina the back of the yard deh. When we gone da Orange Walk, we get down to business and we start to sweat thinking that we mih wa fret but when I listen to everyone, I told him we got this man, we done win this song yah. Da mi all ah we gone together. And we came back home with the championship.”


Looking on the Bright Side, I’m Sabreena Daly.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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