Drupatee Ramgoonai

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Drupatee Ramgoonai (born 6 March 1958 in Charlo Village, Penal, Saint Patrick County, Penal–Debe, Trinidad and Tobago) is an Indo-Trinidadian chutney and chutney soca musician. She was responsible for coining the term "chutney soca" in 1987 with her first album, entitled Chutney Soca, which included both English and Hindustani versions of the songs. She had her biggest hit the following year when her "(Roll Up the Tassa) Mr. Bissessar" was a Road March contender. She was instrumental in tassa and chutney soca finding its place in Carnival and her efforts later led to competitions such as Chutney Soca Monarch.

Biography[edit]

Drupatee Ramgoonai was born on Sunrees Road in Charlo Village, Penal, Saint Patrick County, Penal-Debe, Trinidad and Tobago, on 2 March 1958. She started singing alongside her mother in the mandir at a young age, then went on to learn Indian classical singing from her trainer Ustad James Ramsewak, a veteran in the field.[1] She also gained exposure on Mastana Bahar, the Indian Cultural Pageant, winning the local song category in 1983 and 1984.[2] Her repertoire back then included Indian classical, Indian folk, bhajans, and film songs. She also had some formal vocal training in Indian classical music from classes under the acclaimed Professor H. S. Adesh.

Ramgoonai recorded her first crossover tune in 1987, entitled "Chutney Soca", and gained moderate success in the calypso tents. The term chutney soca was first coined by Drupatee Ramgoonai with that crossover tune "Chutney Soca" in 1987 and Ramgoonai is considered the mother of chutney soca.[3] The following year she had her mega hit "Mr Bissessar (Roll Up de Tassa)", which brought her international acclaim and served as the nursery for this genre of music called chutney soca, resulting in a commercial market being created for this type of music as well.[4] She was consistent for many years with hits such as "Pepper", "Hotter Than a Chulha", "Careless Driver", "Motilal", "Tassawalley", and "Manzalina" and even the monster hit "Wuk Up D Ladki" with Machel Montano.[5] Her more recent contributions include "Mohana bina Gowna", "Doh Beat Yuh Wife", "Parosin Maco-ing", "D Wedding Song", "Chutney Soca Wine", and "Violin".

She has won Nafieta awards and various trophies plus other awards for her unmatched contribution to Chutney Soca music. She almost won the Road March title in Trinidad and Tobago in 1988, coming second.[citation needed] She is regarded as the Chutney Soca Queen for the blending of these musical styles in some of her songs like "Chutney Soca", "Hotter than a Chulha" and Special Brew. In recent years she has even started doing chutney parang at Christmas time with songs such as "Chutney Parang" and "Fruit Cake".

She created history as being the first woman of Indian descent to sing calypso and soca[1][6] and has been one of the main targets of those who are scandalised by women and Indians singing chutney, chutney soca, calypso, and soca.[3][7][8][9][10]

She is well known throughout the world for her hot and spicy Chutney soca performances. She has performed throughout the Caribbean, North America, Europe and even India alongside many internationally renowned stars. Up to this day she continues to release tasteful music and do various performances across the globe and is still a force to be reckoned with. In Kumar Mahabir's publication Portraits of Chutney Singers in Trinidad and Tobago (2012) she was hailed as the "undisputed Chutney Queen".[11] In 2016 Drupatee signed an exclusive digital distribution agreement with Fox Fuse, making her entire music catalog available digitally worldwide for the first time.[12]

Collaborations[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Tejaswini Niranjana, Mobilizing India: Women, Music, and Migration between India and Trinidad, Durham, North Carolina: Duke University, 2000. ISBN 0-8223-3828-9, p. 98.
  2. ^ Niranjana, pp. 98–99.
  3. ^ a b Niranjana, p. 100.
  4. ^ Dave Thompson, Reggae and Caribbean Music, San Francisco: Backbeat, 2001, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, p. 72.
  5. ^ Niranjana, p. 167.
  6. ^ Niranjana, p. 150.
  7. ^ Niranjana, p. 86.
  8. ^ Niranjana, p. 113.
  9. ^ Ronald Michael Radano, Philip Vilas Bohlman, Music and the Racial Imagination, Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000, ISBN 0-226-70199-9, p. 333.
  10. ^ Shalini Puri, The Caribbean Postcolonial: Social Equality, Post-Nationalism, and Cultural Hybridity, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, ISBN 1-4039-6181-6, p. 196.
  11. ^ "Drupatee Ramgoonai", Trinidad Express – Woman Magazine, 25 January 2013.
  12. ^ "CARIBBEAT: Chutney queen Drupatee branches out with exclusive digital deal", New York Daily News, May 22, 2016.