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Baithak Gana is a form of music originating in Suriname by the Indian community. It is a mix of Bhojpuri folk songs with other Caribbean influences. It is similar to Chutney music that originated in Trinidad. The most popular exponent in Surinam of the genre were Ramdew Chaitoe and Desi Raghosing.
In basic Baithak Gana there are three instruments (though there are other instruments that could be added to the ensemble), harmonium, dholak and the dhantal. The harmonium is s a free-standing keyboard instrument similar to a reed organ. The dholak is a double headed drum that originated in Northern India, however, it is still used in the folk songs from Pakistan or Nepal. The last instrument that is used in this style of music is the dhantal which serves as the rhythmic piece of the ensemble, it consists of a long steel rod which is then "struck" by a U-formed piece, the origin of this device is unclear, as it may have been brought by the Indian indentured-workers. The origin of the dhantaal was formed from the use of a long steel rod with an almost-enclosed circle tip at the end used in the yoke of bull-driven carts that were used to transport sugar cane to guide the bulls. The U-shaped handle piece was derived the use of a horse shoe.
Baithak Gana has its roots from the North Indian styles of music. The Contract labours brought this from India to South American countries and Oceania. In South America you can think of the countries of Suriname and Guyana. In the Caribbean, Trinidad is one of the islands where this type of singing is more popular. In Oceania they mean the country Fiji. With the migration of the Indian community Baithak Gana has been exported to the Netherlands, the United States and Canada.
Artists and Musicians
Noteworthy artists that had influences for generations in Baithak Gana are: Ramdew Chaitoe, Harry Autar, Harry Sewbalak, Sahadat Chedi, Desi Raghosing, Kesrie, Rakieb Wagid Hosain, Arjun Autar, Bhagwanpersad Hira, Radjoe Sewgolam, Satyanand Rekha, Dropati, Pt. Rampersad, Haridat Jairam, Ramesh Chander Biharie.
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