Hips Liberated Because the Feet Have Been Shackled

COOLIE WOMAN

Michael Goldberg Collection, University of the West Indies, Trinidad. http://www.cooliewoman.com Michael Goldberg Collection, U.W.I., Trinidad. http://www.cooliewoman.com

For the new Indian site Scroll.in, I wrote about my affection for chutney music. Here’s the piece:

Bollywood and my mother’s bhajans were the background music of my childhood. Growing up in New Jersey in the 1980s, any and all yearning for lost homelands was set to the score of ‘Love Story’, ‘Dostana’, ‘Silsila’. Hindi film music was the approved soundtrack of our nostalgia. Arguably, since I am an Indian roughly a century out of India, born in Guyana, chutney should have been.
Chutney is Indo-Caribbean dance music that evolved from the Bhojpuri folk songs taken by indentured immigrants to British Guiana, Trinidad, Jamaica and elsewhere in the West Indies. Like the sugar cane blossoming out of muck and mud on the Demerara Coast, the music was a thing original to India that then was grafted into the Caribbean landscape. Both cane and chutney…

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