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The music of Suriname is known for kaseko music, and for having an Indo-Caribbean tradition.
The term Kaseko is probably derived from the French expression casser le corps (break the body), which was used during slavery to indicate a very swift dance. Kaseko is a fusion of numerous popular and folk styles derived from Africa, Europe and the Americas. It is rhythmically complex, with percussion instruments including skratji (a very large bass drum) and snare drums, as well as saxophone, trumpet and occasionally trombone. Singing can be both solo and choir. Songs are typically call-and-response, as are Creole folk styles from the area, such as kawina.
Kaseko emerged from the traditional Afro-Surinamese kawina music, which was played since the beginning of 1900 by Afro-Surinamese street musicians in Paramaribo. It evolved in the 1930s during festivities that used large bands, especially brass bands, and was called Bigi Pokoe (big drum music). Following World War II, jazz, calypso and other importations became popular, while rock and roll from the United States soon left its own influence in the form of electrified instruments.
Indian music arrived with immigrants from South Asia. This originally included folk music played with dhantal, tabla, sitar, harmonium and dholak, later including tassa drums. Music was mostly Hindu songs called bhajans, as well as filmi. The tan singing style is unique to the Indian community in Suriname and Guyana.
Alioko is also a very popular form of religious music that developed through different cultures and made its way to Suriname. Using drums and forms of guitars they communicate with the spirits and gods through this ( al- ee- ock - oh ) music.
Recorded Indian music in Suriname began with the release of King of Suriname/The Star Melodies Of Ramdew Chaitoe by Ramdew Chaitoe, in 1958. Chaitoe became very popular, and his music, which was religious in nature, left a lasting influence on future performers. However, no one very successful arose following Chaitoe, until 1968, when Dropati released Let's Sing and Dance , an album of religious songs that remains extremely popular.
In 1958, East Indian music finally made its debut on the recording industry with the release of an album of devotional songs, by Ramdew Chaitoe of Suriname. His album titled, King of Suriname and The Star Melodies of Ramdew Chaitoe was quite appropriately named, as it made him a household name with East Indians not just in Suriname, but throughout the Caribbean. Although his songs were religious in nature, the use of the strong beats of the dhantal and dholak, coupled with his own creolised version of Hindi often had many listeners dancing as if it were a pop song. In fact, one song, "Raat Ke Sapna," would go on to become a huge dance hit in the decades to follow.
Although the release of King of Suriname presented a breakthrough for East Indian music, it was quite short lived, as few artists managed to succeed Ramdew Chaitoe in the years to follow. It was not until the 1960s that another Surinamese would catapult East Indian music onto the scene once again. In 1968, a woman by the name of Dropati debuted with an album of traditional wedding songs, titled, Lets Sing & Dance. Once again, although religious in nature, Dropati's songs, much like those of Ramdew Chaitoe, went on to become huge pop hits within the East Indian community. Dropati's epic songs such as "Gowri Pooja" and "Lawa" became such big hits that they firmly secured her name in history as one of the pillars of Indo-Caribbean music (Dropati, 1993). Lets Sing & Dance along with King of Suriname remain two of the best selling East Indian albums of all time, even to this day (Ramdew Chaitoe, 1993). The effects of the release of these two albums were tremendous. Not only did they prove East Indian music as a legitimate art form, but they also united the East Indians of the Caribbean regardless of whether they were Guyanese, Trinidadian, Jamaican or Surinamese. However, these two albums also showed the need for a more popular, non-religious form of East Indian music, one that would combine the high pitched dholak, dhantal & tassa drum beats with the folk and Hindi lyrics that made Lets Sing & Dance and King of Suriname/The Star Melodies Of Ramdew Chaitoe becoming so popular.
Hindustani Classical music in Suriname
With the help of Government of India, the "Indiaase cultureel Centrum" was established under Embassy of India in Paramaribo. Many teachers visited on deputation and promoted Hindustani classical Music. Prof. Kinot, Ms. Sujata, Ut. Md. Sayeed Khan, Mr. Ardhendu Shekhar, Mrs. Rita Bokil and a few more teachers came. Prof. Rajesh Kelkar (from historic Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda), while working with the Cultural centre, expanded teaching of music to Nickerie (247 km from capital) and other places with missionary zeal. His efforts took Indian music into interior villages of Suriname. His services were longest in Suriname.
The music of Trinidad and Tobago is best known for its calypso music, soca music, chutney music, and steelpan. Calypso's internationally noted performances in the 1950s from native artists such as Lord Melody, Lord Kitchener and Mighty Sparrow. The art form was most popularised at that time by Harry Belafonte. Along with folk songs and African- and Indian-based classical forms, cross-cultural interactions have produced other indigenous forms of music including soca, rapso, parang, chutney, and other derivative and fusion styles. There are also local communities which practice and experiment with international classical and pop music, often fusing them with local steelpan instruments.
The dholak is a two-headed hand-drum from the Indian subcontinent. It may have traditional cotton rope lacing, screw-turnbuckle tensioning or both combined: in the first case steel rings are used for tuning or pegs are twisted inside the laces.
The music of the Lesser Antilles encompasses the music of this chain of small islands making up the eastern and southern portion of the West Indies. Lesser Antillean music is part of the broader category of Caribbean music; much of the folk and popular music is also a part of the Afro-American musical complex, being a mixture of African, European and indigenous American elements. The Lesser Antilles' musical cultures are largely based on the music of African slaves brought by European traders and colonizers. The African musical elements are a hybrid of instruments and styles from numerous West African tribes, while the European slaveholders added their own musics into the mix, as did immigrants from India. In many ways, the Lesser Antilles can be musically divided based on which nation colonized them.
Chutney music is an Indo-Caribbean genre of music that developed in the southern Caribbean, and is popular in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, other parts of the Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, and South Africa. It is a mixture of Bhojpuri music, and local (Caribbean) music. Chutney music emerged mid-20th century and reached a peak of popularity during the 1980s. Initially lyrics were religious in nature and typically sung by females. Several sub-genres have developed.
The music of Guyana encompasses a range of musical styles and genres that draw from various influences including: Indian, Latino-Hispanic, European, African, Chinese, and Amerindian music. Popular Guyanese performers include: Terry Gajraj, Harry Panday, Eddy Grant, Dave Martins & the Tradewinds, Aubrey Cummings and Nicky Porter, and Shameer Rahman. The Guyana Music Festival has proven to be influential on the Guyana music scene.
Bihar is a state of India. The classical form of the Indian music is quite well known. Bihar has produced musicians like Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan and dhrupad singers like the Malliks and the Mishras along with poets like Bhikhari Thakur, the shakespeare of Bhojpuri and Vidyapati Thakur who contributed to Maithili Music. The classical music in Bihar is a form of the Hindustani classical music. This article deals with the folk culture of Bihar.
The Music of French Guiana is a very rich and varied music of several styles and cultures coming from Europe, Africa and the American continent by the Amerindians due to its history and its multi-ethnic diversity.
Indo-Guyanese or Indian-Guyanese, are Guyanese nationals who trace their ancestry to the Indian subcontinent. They are the descendants of settlers who arrived between the 19th and 20th centuries from the former pre-partitioned sub-continent of India during the time of the British Raj.
In Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname, Chutney soca music is a crossover style of music incorporating soca and calypso elements and English, Hindustani, and Hinglish lyrics, chutney music, with Western instruments such as the guitar, piano, drum set, and Indian instruments such as the dholak, harmonium, tabla, and dhantal.
Ramdew Chaitoe was a Surinamese artist and a harmonium player, who released a Baithak Gana album called The King Of Suriname a.k.a The Star Melodies of Ramdew Chaitoe in 1976. Rumors exist about how Chaitoe started his career singing in jail after being arrested in a bar fight.
Caribbean Hindustani is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by Indo-Caribbeans and the Indo-Caribbean diaspora. It is mainly based on Bhojpuri and Awadhi and have other influence of Eastern Hindi-Bihari languages. These were spoken by indentured laborers who came as immigrants to the Caribbean from the Indian subcontinent. It is closely related to Fiji Hindi and the Hindustani spoken in Mauritius and South Africa.
Indo-Caribbean music is the musical traditions of the Indo-Caribbean people of the Caribbean music area. Indo-Caribbean music is most common in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica, and Suriname.
Considered by many to be the mother of modern-day Baithak Gana, Dropati was introduced to the Indian music industry in the Caribbean by way of her album Let's Sing and Dance. Produced in 1968, the album includes captivating wedding folk songs that easily transport the listener to colorful Indian village weddings dating centuries before Dropati's time.
Baithak Gana is a form of music originating in Suriname by the Indian community. Baithak is a social gathering. It is a mix of Bhojpuri folk songs with other Caribbean influences. It is similar to Chutney music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago. The most popular exponent in Surinam of the genre were Ramdew Chaitoe and Dropati.
Chowtal, aside from being the name of a "taal"/"tala" or meter in Hindustani classical music, is a form of folksong of North India's Bhojpuri region, sung by amateurs during the vernal Phagwa or Holi festival.
Surinamese culture is very diverse and dynamic, and has strong Asian, African and European influences. The population is mainly composed of the contribution of people from the Netherlands, India, Africa, China and Indonesia, as well as indigenous peoples who lived in the area, before the arrival of European settlers.
India–Suriname relations refers to the international relations that exist between India and Suriname. Indo-Surinamese form the largest ethnic group in Suriname, making 27.4% of the population. The current Vice-President of Suriname Ashwin Adhin is of Indo-Surinamese descent.
Kawina is a musical genre from Suriname. It originated around the 1860s, after the abolition of slavery. The vocals are typically call-and-response, and it is accompanied by all kinds of typical Surinamese percussion, such as the skratji.
Kaseko is a musical genre from Suriname. It is a fusion of numerous popular and folk styles derived from Africa, Europe and the Americas.
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