FORMER Chutney Monarch, Pooran Seeraj, made a plea for the installation of relevant copyright laws, and more corporate support for singers, as he officially launched his entry for the 2020 Chutney Monarch competition at a ceremony on Wednesday at the Critchlow Labour College.
A veteran in the local Chutney arena, Seeraj will be entering the competition with a number called “Roti and Dhal,” which he says pays tribute to his favourite meal and some of the lovely women in his life that prepares it for him.
Even as he spoke of his confidence in his 2020 entry and his hopes to return to the top spot, the 40-year-old father of three, stressed his gratitude to his sponsor Triple C Consultancy, noting that his video and song production would not have been possible without their support.
“We need to get some form of protection through copyright. If it wasn’t for Triple C Consultancy I’m not sure I would’ve done a video for my song for the Chutney competition,” Seeraj shared.
Representative for Triple C Consultancy, Rahul Chintamanie, shared the company’s pleasure to support the cultural art form.
“Triple C COnsultancy is proud to be a part of Chutney Monarch 2020, supporting the song Dhal and Roti by our very own Pooran Seeraj. Triple C always recognises and support local talent, more specifically in rural areas,” he said.
Seeraj acknowledged that to attract fans and supporters singers need to produce quality work, but notes that a lot of investments need to go into quality work, and when the returns aren’t there, it places undue stress on artists.
“If we want locals to buy into our music we have to give quality. But I produce about six songs per year and I get not a dime from it. If you want to dive into videos, I did like two videos last year and the videos I recall go up to like $100,000 leaving out recording in the studio. So when you look at that, to make that investment from your own pocket, it takes a lot. So we really need businesses to come on board, sponsors to come on board and to get some form of protection through copyright laws,” the Berbician stressed.
He also called on our artistes and other stakeholders in the business to come together and support each other.
“We need more local content so we need more cooperation from the private sector, promoters, and the DJs, so we need to work as a whole. In Guyana, Chutney music gets a hype around Mash and after Mash, it gets “mash up”, you don’t hear songs coming out, you don’t hear local music. We need more cooperation among artistes in order to move the art form forward,” he said.
The Chutney Monarch is one of several cultural competitions held annually in the lead up to Mashramani, Guyana’s celebration of becoming a republic.
This will be the ninth time entering the Chutney Monarch for Seeraj, who first tried his hand at the event in 2008. His catchy “Roti and Dhal” entry, was produced by Shakti Strings, and the video features scenes of Seeraj seeing at the recently unveiled “I Love Guyana” monument and at the seawall.
He performed in the competition last year, when he finished in third place, behind champion Steven Ramphal and runner up, Bunty Singh.
Both Ramphal and Singh are back out this year, the pair along with Seeraj are a part of a total of 17 participants who have entered the competition. Ramphal is putting up a strong defence, having already released a video for his entry “Jo Sangeet Main Gaata; while Bunty is coming with an entry called “She Want Me Be She Raaja.”
Seeraj said however that he is not afraid of any competition, in fact, he welcomes it.
“I feel very confident going into this competition this year. I wouldn’t say it’s a long road but it’s a stiff fight this year, and I must say based on what I’ve heard already I feel the vibes coming. The level of Chutney has risen the competition has gotten stiffer. But if we didn’t have a competition we wouldn’t have a monarch,” Seeraj conveyed.
Seeraj says he remains undaunted because he believes in the strength of his entry, backed by his experience.
“Since I won in 2014 it has risen my confidence level and after winning I know the key ingredient that you have to bring, and my lyrics have been more focused,” Seeraj expressed.
Seeraj won the competition in 2014 with his famed song “Under the Maaro”, on his fifth time participating in the competition. That year he was praised for his originality and stage energy. Seeraj says there’s going to be more of the same this year.
Seeraj’s confidence is also high having done several performances overseas, including in India, where he studied for two years. At the launch, he spoke of his love for “Roti and Dhal” and his plans to channel that in performance on stage.
“Roti and dhal have been with me a long time so I think it’s time I pay tribute to the persons preparing delicious roti and dhal. In Guyana, in many Indian homes, and even some other cultures, one of the main dish is roti and dhal. Since I was small a young man growing up that is my favourite dish and it started from there, my mother would always prepare a lovely roti and dhal. Then I met this girl and she got me trapped with this roti and dhal issue,” Seeraj joked.
“Roti and dhal was the concept but working down through the lyrics, I sat and I tried to put a lot of humour into it. A lot of chutney songs, when you look at the lyrics, it’s a lot of repetitiveness so I stepped out of the box a little and, Roti and Dhal, I think it’s making a hit.”
He credits Chutney stalwarts such as Trinidadian Sundar Popo as his inspiration and notes that he had first decided to get involved in the business, after watching others Chutney singers perform on stage and knowing he had the talent to do the same.
Source:Former Chutney Monarch calls for copyright laws as he launches 2020 Chutney Monarch entry https://guyanachronicle.com/2020/01/12/former-chutney-monarch-calls-for-copyright-laws-as-he-launches-2020-chutney-monarch-entry