Sharlene Rampersad, Published:Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Cross over artiste Rikki Jai has come out in support of Bollywood melodies being used in the Chutney/Soca competition.
Jai (Samraj Jaimungal) said while he is not contradicting the right of other artistes to question the use of this music in the competition, this is the direction in which it is evolving and the industry is going.
Saying that this blend of music reaches a wider audiences Jai, a nine-time winner of the Chutney Soca Monarch title, said this will ensure the Chutney/Soca genre does not die.
Last Thursday, a handful of Chutney artistes protested in front of the offices of CSM producer, George Singh, calling for a ban of Chutney songs with Bollywood melodies from the competition.
“I don’t want to get too involved in this controversy but these artistes need to recognise that Bollywood melodies are what the people want,” he said.
“Most people now prefer to listen to Bollywood music and stay away from Chutney but when you have a mix of the two, you appeal to a wider cross section of people.”
Noting that CSM is a privately run show, Jai said Singh has the right to design it to suit his business.
“At the end of the day, he has a business to run and showcasing original Chutney songs only is not going to attract patrons. What if in any given year we don’t have any popular traditional Chutney songs, how is the competition going to run?”
“Now if George Singh wants to say in 2017 the Bollywood melodies are allowed and in 2018 only original songs are going to be permitted, the artistes will be able to prepare themselves properly.”
Jai said one of the main agitators for originality, Kenneth Supersad was also guilty of using the melodies in songs he writes for other artistes.
“Omardath’s song ‘Balkissoon’ was written by Kenneth, if he is to win the CSM with that song Kenneth is going to collect royalties from that song, so he shouldn’t be so quick to put it down.”
“People should also note that most modern day Bollywood songs use the melodies from other songs in the years gone by. Soca artiste Destra Garcia also did it with her song ‘Carnival’ using the melody of a Cyndi Lauper song.”
Balkissoon singer Omardath Maharaj agreed, saying the new wave of Chutney music has brought it a bigger audience.
“These songs are played in everything, for Christmas, Carnival…all of the time,” he said.
“Look at Ravi B’s song ‘Budget’-that song is big with every audience because people can relate to it.”
“I don’t disagree with them but to say that people don’t want the mix of music is true.”