The Journey of Chutney Music

One of the common themes which unite people from all over the world is Music .Some will claim that Sports like Soccer truly represent the enthusiasm and mood of the global youth community. Well it’s true that Soccer does has wide fan following but essentially you have teams on the basis of nationalitywhich means healthy rivalry of one or other kind. I think Music is the only medium which truly unites mankind and has touches the soul of each individual.

It’s mankind’s quest for finding themes for bonding that has Beatles stars in 60’s using tabla and Dholak and legendary Indian artists like Pandit Ravi Shankar playing sitar in Wood stock festivals.

Wikipedia says”One of the most interesting themes of music Chutney music is a form of music indigenous to the southern Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname) which derives elements from soca and Hindi film songs. The chutney artist writes lyrics in either Hindi, Bhojpuri or English and then lays it on top of beats that come from soca and Hindi film songs.
Chutney music is mostly popular among the East Indian community in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and also the West Indian diaspora communities in Toronto, Canada, The Netherlands and in the New York metropolitan area.
First, this kind of music has a religious background. This is one of the only sources that suggest sacred origins. Secondly, it is a popular music, which utilizes folk acoustic instruments. This is important to note since many modern popular genres in Trinidad exclude the use of acoustic (or non-electrified) musical instruments. Lastly, the definition gives the impression that the music has been integrated into other world music styles. This is one of the most important features of this musicand one that ties it to other Indian diasporic music such as bhangra.

Then came the fourth phase, the final ingredient as it were, with the addition of Khimta (Chutney) into the already douglarised (bastardized) soca. Chutney is the music and song (and now dance) composed and sung by Indian women originally behind closed doors and now in the competitive arena for male and female…No doubt the Chutney Soca has become the “beat” of the late 80’s, and is heading into the 90’s with astonishing vigour even delving into the area of chutney soca parang(Constance 1991, 66).

The identification of another, possibly Indian, term for chutney– Khimta — is an important step in further defining the genre. Constance (1991) claims chutney as the former domain of women, since the instruments used in chutney, such as the dholak, were some of the few acceptable for performance by female musicians. Another important feature is the fact that this genre has been coopted into other Trinidadian musical styles of soca and parang. Hence, syncretism has been an acknowledged characteristic of chutney’s history.

The Chutney form is music reminds me of the typical Gali Songs which is sung during the marriage ceremonies in Bihar ,Jharkhanda ,UP and Bengal.You can read more about the popular artist and cultural history here and here.

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