Mobilizing   India
Rikki Jai - "Sumintra":
Across the spectrum of Trinidadian music, there are musical and textual references to Hindi film songs from India. By the 1950s, Hindi/Bhojpuri began to diminish in importance as a language of everyday communication, so much so that today East Indians do not like to watch Hindi films that are not subtitled in English. However, Hindi film music has acquired a range of resonances as they are worked into contests about racial and cultural identities.

The calypsonian is courting an East Indian village girl - "born in a shack in Debe", "her parents from Indian Walk" - called Sumintra. When she refuses to answer his letters, he "hit the record shops" and bought up "Indian records" to give her, in the firm belief that "music is the food of love". But when he "reach by the gyul she say stop, Rikki, stop", for he has got it completely wrong. As the refrain goes:

"Hold de Lata Mangeshkar
Give me soca".

As the song goes on to indicate, Sumintra has drawn a line between "roots and culture"; her roots may be in the land of Lata Mangeshkar but her "culture" lies in the land of calypso/soca. Once again a musical metaphor points to modes of self-fashioning; here is an Indo-Creole person who differentiates between ethnic identity and cultural identity. When asked why Sumintra needs to choose between the two, Rikki insisted that she was not choosing soca over Indian music; "She is very accustomed to Indian music, but now she wants calypso. She's saying that at this particular stage she wants soca, when she's being courted". Interestingly, while Rikki Jai himself started out in calypso and also sings reggae, parang, chutney, and Hindi film songs, he is best known as a chutney-soca singer, winning numerous awards including the recently instituted Chutney Soca Monarch title. This musical form does not claim a solely "Indian" or "African" origin, as I elaborated in Chapter Three.

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