Any formal performance of local-classical music commences with a Dhrupad, which functions as a sort of invocatory prelude. On first hearing, an Indo-Caribbean Dhrupad would seem to bear little resemblance to its classical Hindustani namesake, she former is a short song of around three or four minutes, preceded only by a few alap- like phrases and a doha, and with very little development of raga or tala. The composition self is sung not to the Dhrupad talas used in India, but to a metre which could be counted in either four or eight beats (and which is less bouncy and syncopated than Kaherva/Chaubola).

However, even in North India, Dhrupad is best understood as comprising a family of genres, which would include congregational Samaj-gayan, Pushtimarg Haveli Sangeet, and other temple-based relatives. These tend to share certain musical and textual features which are also common to Indo-Caribbean Dhrupad, which thus should be understood as a bona fide member of the Dhrupad family.

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The Trinidad Bhojpuri Family Tree

Caribbean Hindustani presents the Trinidad Bhojpuri family tree. It illustrates the different names by which we call our various family members in the Indo-Caribbean tradition. You can see how it is more scientific than the conventional English way of naming our relatives. There are some differences that one may notice when comparing with the modern standard Hindi family tree. There may also be slight differences in the Sarnámí (Surinamese Hindustani) family tree and the Guyanese Bhojpuri family tree. Also, note that ‘swayam’, which indicates from whose perspective the tree was drawn up. The illustration is from a male perspective, and if done from a female perspective the names would change.
Like in Modern Standard Hindi, these names of kin are derived from spoken Sanskrit or Prakrit. Bhojpuri yields these names of kin from Magadhi Prakrit (the eastern vernacular of spoken Sanskrit) and Hindi from Shauraseni Prakrit (the central-western vernacular of spoken Sanskrit). This would account for the differences in Bhojpuri vs Hindi.
The Hindustani family tree is more scientific when compared to English and European languages as each kin has one word for a specific name. Where as in English you use two words to describe your “maternal grandmother” in Trinidad Bhojpuri it is specific to one word “Nani”

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think. Caribbean Hindustani is working to document and preserve all of our Indo-Caribbean traditions such as this. Please feel free to contact us if there are any special pieces of information you would like to request!