Sunday, April 26, 2009


I know next-to-bugger-all about Chutney, to be honest. For the uninitiated, Chutney is a Carribean music-form from Trinidad that's a weird hybrid of, erm, Soca, Indian film songs ("Filmi") and, probably, a bunch of other influences that I'm not aware of. Its musical etiology is kinda twisted: it involves a fusion of Indian and West Indian musics/traditions, and it's also inextricably tied up w/ the notion of Carnival. Sundar Popo's 1970 hit "Nana and Nani" fused traditional instruments such as the dholak and dhantal w/ electric gtr and cheesy synths, creating a template for the modern Chutney sound and earning him the title "The King of Chutney". (Well, who wouldn't want to be The King of Chutney!?) These days, popular Chutney crews incl. Dil-E-Nadan, Melobugz, Karma, Gayatones and JMC 3Veni.

The two biggest tunes of recent months/current season are apparently "Jep Sting Naina" and "Rum and Roti". "Jep Sting Naina", like many Chutneys is a localised retwist of a Bollywood song, but this one has become a mainstream pop-radio hit and is threatening to go international. The folks responsible - Hunter, Drupatee, Andy Singh, Big Rich and Hitman - are an all-star team-up of some of Chutney's biggest solo artists.

Anyway, I really like the dense-sounding processed drums, the surreal vocal interjections and the weird audio-effect that sounds like an angry wasp puppet. Plus the fact that it's as catchy as fuck.

Play it loud.


At 3:22 am, Blogger Fritz said...

This is a new genre on me, as well. I like the in-song munchkin hecklers. (Perhaps the song is haunted by douens (or would chutney be subject to Indian folkloric haunts rather than Trinidadian?))

At 10:23 pm, Blogger kek-w said...

"in-song munchkin hecklers" LOL.

I like the idea of songs that heckle themselves. Auto-heckling...

Trying to think of some examples that aren't duets.

Douens...well, now that's an interesting question; since I think the source material tends to be Bollywood-based, then probably yeah Indian folklore.

Now, another interesting line of thought: does non-western Electronic Dance music have an equivalent of Darkcore, Splattercore, Scientific/Dark 2-Step Funk etc? - ie Horror-themed/dystopic SF memed e-music that deliberately tries to induce a heavy, spooked-out vibe on the dancefloor....?

Okay, certain strands of Gangsta Hip-Hop, Dancehall, Favela Funk deliberately go for a raw urban vibe that some folks find threatening...but it's not overtly Horror-or Occult-themed. Is the West alone in playing with those ideas? Chutney/Soca has its origins in Carnival (tho doesn't Carnival have a darker side to it? A seeing off of winter spirits?) and wedding-party music, which is def. a celebration of life, fertility, etc....a lot of modern global post-Folk musics are derived from uptempo wedding-music, which is kinda logical when you think about it....maybe in the West we've got the luxury of post-modernism, cinematic referentiality, etc....feel free to throw in some thoughts here; I'm tired.

At 12:28 am, Blogger Fritz Bogott said...

This is lateral to the question you asked, but:

Were you already hip to the "my legs are a blur because I am now running to the record shop" shit from Analog Africa, e.g.

Africa Scream Contest (Raw & Psychedelic Afro Sounds From Benin & Togo 70s)


The Vodoun Effect (Funk And Soto From Benin's Obscure Labels 1973-1975)

Holy shit holy shit holy shit

At 12:53 am, Blogger Fritz Bogott said...

Also lateral:

I know Lee Perry said, "Dub is dup' [duppy] music," but I can't find a citation for it anywhere.

In the process, I fell down a rathole googling all the duppies I know about, e.g. the whistling cowboy, which led to my falling down the endless sub-rathole known as the Dictionary of Jamaican English. If you're ever at a loss for fiction seeds, open it to any page.

At 7:16 pm, Blogger Fritz Bogott said...

Can you come up with examples of non-western ghosts that are horrifying rather than simply petulant and difficult to do business with? Could be horror as we know it is a western/dualistic thing.

At 7:46 pm, Blogger kek-w said...

Boring story time: I was up in Salisbury last summer browsing in a Classical Music shop - mostly CD stuff, but they sometimes sell weird 2nd hand vinyl - Tony Oxley for 50p in amongst the battered Hadyn LPs...they have a miniscule 'World' CD section, but they had a big poster for the Africa Scream Contest release that made me go wow. So I asked the woman if they could get this, was it out on vinyl, etc but she was shop-siting for a few days and knew nothing about the stock or anything really - "You'll have to speak to the owner," she said. I made a mental note to chase dn the Analogue Africa stuff...and promptly forgot (like many other things) should try'n chase down the "Nigeria Special" vinyl comps on Soundways, tho - they're pretty special.

More on spirits n stuff later; gotta catch up on some work first.

At 11:32 pm, Blogger kek-w said...

"Can you come up with examples of non-western ghosts that are horrifying rather than simply petulant and difficult to do business with?"

My friend Circle who lives in Indonesia told me a story about a certain type of local demon/ghost that they thought was haunting their lodgings a few years ago - I forget what it was called...I'll have to ask him to remind me - I thought he said it was some sort of zombie/dead baby thing...I think they try and climb in bed with you at night and suck milk out of sleeping women's breasts; maybe blood if there's no milk available...they're pretty unpleasant rather than just annoying; I think he had to get an exorcist in or perform a ritual - my memory on this is a bit hazy; I'll have to ask him to remind me of the details...

At 4:26 pm, Blogger Fritz Bogott said...

Holy yeesh. I've been ignoring the horror potential of lactation. Horror that depends upon irony. Black irony?


Post a Comment

<< Home