Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nisha, Beenie Man and Chutney Dancehall

 As I have ascertained, Chutney Music is an evolving artform, and will continue to be as long as there are innovative artistes and fresh talent entering the industry. Not to mention hefty cash winnings at annual competitions. Take Nisha Bissambhar of Karma Music Band fame, she’s a versatile singer who dabbles in different aspects of music; chutney, chutney soca, calypso, reggae, Indian film song remixes with a chutney melody and lately another twist: dancehall chutney. Her 1999 release The Scorpion, a chutney song that gained popularity with every spin on the airwaves boosted her singing career. It was one of her best songs at the time. And she took it beyond cultural boundaries with Jamaican artiste, Beenie Man. They remade the song into a peppy dancehall chutney ditty. And that too rose to new heights. Not that they were the first to mix up the music, when you think of Sonny Mann and Denise Belfon with the Lotayla remakeMarchel Montano and Drupatie's Aap Jaisa Koi Mere and Real Unity (club mix), it's really the same concept, they all have dancehall rhythm and are still chutney soca songs.

Admittedly, Nisha has come full circle as a local singer. She has graduated from a shy little girl performing Indian film songs on Children of Mastana and then on Mastana Bahar to a carefree stage performer. Gone are the days when she stood on the spot and swayed slightly until the song was completed. She has learned to embrace the stage and the crowds that come with it. In fact, she is very much at ease rolling her hips and gyrating her body and making bold eye contact with her fans. As a lead singer with the family band, she has performed in America, Canada, Guyana and other countries of the world. It’s clear she will not stop there and will one day visit India and appease her desire. More on Nisha and Karma in future posts.

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