The Chutney generation: Indo-Caribbean artists make their mark in America

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Hassan Ghanny (Island Origins) writes about the richness and creativity of what he calls “the Chutney generation.” Here are excerpts; see full article at Island Origins.

From the first descendants of indentureship who settled across Antillean islands, a rich community has emerged with a distinctive artistic expression all its own. This has become most pronounced in the realm of performance. Indo-Caribbean artists have hybridized and creolized traditional folk dance and music, fusing the Old World and new. Today, Indo-Caribbean artists living in America give voice to the diaspora, bringing visibility to their community and advancing Caribbean culture across the nation’s stages.

Denyse Baboolal: Culture and community are intimately intertwined for Trinidadian native Denyse Baboolal, the proud founder and director of Jayadevi Arts Inc.—the first Indo-Caribbean arts nonprofit in the southern United States. Based in South Florida, Baboolal has become an essential advocate for nurturing Indo-Caribbean culture in America. For more than two decades, she has performed and choreographed both Indian and Indo-Caribbean dance forms across the country.

“We try to show them that India has Bollywood, but in the Caribbean, we have chutney,” Baboolal said of the unique Caribbean style informed by Latin and African influences. “At shows, we say, ‘This is our version of Bollywood,’ so they see the difference of where our roots started and where we are today.” [. . .]

Mohamed A. Amin: Caribbean bacchanal and drag performance fuse to magical effect for pioneering New York-based dancer and choreographer, Mohamed A. Amin. Performing both under his stage name International Dancer Zaman and his drag persona Sundari, Indian Goddess, the proudly gay, Muslim and Indo-Guyanese star has become an icon of nightlife in Queens, N.Y., and the LGBTQ Caribbean community. [. . .]

Levi Ali [shown above]: Connecticut-based drummer Levi Ali is on a mission. The Trinidadian-American percussionist, a master at Caribbean tassa and Indian-style tabla, is spreading the gospel of the drums. With a father who toured as a reggae bass player, music is in his blood. [. . .]

For full article, see https://islandoriginsmag.com/the-chutney-generation-indo-caribbean-artists

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