Traditional chutney singer, Hemlata Dindial, believes the art form is dying.
And she is pleading to local entertainers to return to the days of Hindi lyrics, dholak and dhantal.
Dindial, who comes from a family of traditional chutney singers, placed seventh in the Chutney Soca Monarch competition two Saturdays ago.
The singer said she was saddened that not many of the songs making it to the finals were traditional chutney.
Dindial performed her 2019 song “Badalaa” – mainly Hindi lyrics.
Her sister, Rasika Dindial, joined her on stage playing a harmonium. Rasika Dindial, who earned the name “Rani (Queen) of Chutney” is a well-known traditional chutney singer.
Hemlata “Hurricane” Dindial said, “I was asked to enter the Chutney Soca Monarch by my fans. But I am disappointed that the artform is dying. There is hardly any element of chutney. It is more soca based. I do not like the lyrics because it is not positive. Chutney soca means that the song should carry a chutney rhythm and it should be both Hindi and English. We had nothing like that.”
Dindial made an appeal to chutney artists to come together in the fight to save the culture.
And she pleaded with the Ministry of Culture to get involved.
“My sister did not enter the competition because she knew traditional chutney would not make it. She supported me. She is a legend in the industry and she came on stage with me. Together we showed how it all started. She played the harmonium and sang some of her hit songs,” she said.
Dindial said her family was moving to revive the traditional chutney industry.
“Do not condemn the harmonium, dholak and dhantal. This is our heritage and we must keep it alive. I will continue to work on my traditional chutney and to do my part in making sure it does not die,” she said.
Dindial said children need to be reminded of their roots.
Nishard Mayhroo and Neval Chatelal retained their title as joint Chutney Soca Monarch, with their song “Fyah”.
Imran Beharry, aka GI, came second with “Divorce”. His performance featured Jamaican dancehall artiste Beenie Man.
And third place went to Veekash Sahadeo. He sang “Chantel”.