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Chutney Rock

WorkShop 868 | February 10, 2024

Bobby Mohan’s sweet fusion

By Shivana Lal

MUSICIAN Bobby Mohan always had a love for chutney and rock. So, when he recognized that there was a void in the musical landscape that did not cater to his love for both genres, he reconciled this emptiness by creating one that is indigenous to T&T. He called it ChutneyRock.

According to Mohan, ChutneyRock is a fusion of cultures.

The genre merges Western hard rock elements with chutney music. To quote him, “it combines the electric guitar of hardcore hard rock with the pulsating rhythms of the Dholak and Dhantaal.”

The 52-year-old shared with Kitcharce (Express Newspaper T&T) that his musical journey has led him to occupy space in both the local rock and chutney circuits. As a guitarist, Mohan often performed at rock concerts with local rock bands, however, he was struck by the scenes he observed following those events.

The musician recalls that young Indo-Trinidadian patrons always left the venues at the end of the show to continue their “lime” elsewhere, where they enjoyed “chutney music, drinks and eating curry.”

He believes these scenes depicted a need for a musical fusion that would “keep people and the nation happy

“We can’t get away (from the fact) that chutney and soca (are) embedded in us musically. We could say what we want. We could do what we want,” he said.

A former accountant, Mohan made the decision to retire from his job 15 years ago and focus primarily on music. He formed Workshop 868 in 2008, through which he has continued to refine ChutneyRock.

The eight-member band’s first gig was at a corporate event at the the Hilton Trini-dad. They went on to perform at Naparima Bowl; casinos like Island Club; Woodford Cafe, where they backed Nisha Kanchan, the daughter of Babla and Kanchan; Kaiso Blues Cafe with Chris Garcia; Passage to Asia with UK singer-songwriter, Junaid Malik; and Centre of Excellence.

The band also plays at smaller events, including weddings and private functions.

Mohan said the interest in the genre is simply because patrons want “something refresh-ing”. So far, the genre has been well received, to the point where Mohan actually considers ChutneyRock to be the “next big thing” with the capacity to “go viral”.

He added that chutney singers too have expressed the desire to experiment with the style of music, which he welcomes, as this will allow for greater visibility of the art form.

The next step in Mohan’s Chutney Rock journey is to release a full album. He has already written and composed 13 tracks, inclusive of his first ChuteyRock experi-


The inventor also disclosed that ten years ago he copyrighted the term Chutney Rock.

Additionally Mohan created a sample of the

musical genre, which he has stored on a CD, and has tucked away in a sealed envelope. He added that his efforts are now directed towards learning more about intellectual property and, of course inremorions os to take Chuntey Rock even further.

Bobby Mohan, left, creator of ChutneyRock, with members of his band Workshop 868.

Written by WorkShop 868


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