Chutney music while still in the evolutionary stage is enjoyed by millions across the Caribbean, America, Canada, England, Suriname and many other countries in the world. Essentially a genre with birthright in Trinidad and Tobago, the ranchy compositions are among the most popular dance songs in the country. They are loved by all who appreciate east Indian music.
Trinidad boasts of such greats as Sundar Popo, Sonny Mann, Rikki Jai, Rasika Dindial, Rakesh Yankaran among others, Guyana has its crop of famed chutney stars in the likes of the original Guyana Baboo, Terry Gajraj, Ashni, Niesha Benjamin. Suriname’s stars are Ramdeo Chaitoo and Dropatie.
Many have attempted to capture the spirit of chutney music in words, but such a dynamic artform, stretching into the annals of the indentured’s ancestry and carried in their hearts like a priceless artifact, has to be experienced to be truly appreciated.
Words cannot represent an artform that evolves with every new composition. Like its namesake, chutney, a peppery condiment made with a combination of spices, have to be savored until the tongue stings and the eyes water.
Similarly, one has to immerse oneself in the rhythm of the dholak, dhantal and harmonium to feel the sensation of authentic chutney music. To experience it is to tap into this rich cultural legacy and truly engage its evolution.