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Falco banking on ‘Judy’
Arima son of the soil immortalised these antics in the classic Love In The Cemetery. Further east at Sangre Grande, calypsonian/chutney singer Ramdeen Maharaj fell in love with Judy in a carpark. He admitted to fantasising about a heady romance with Judy. He’s hoping his dalliance with Judy, a soca/chutney song, would set him on the path to a bumper 2011 season. Interviewed on Wednesday, Ramdeen said: “I write songs that could last. My songs are about real life. For example, in the carpark male and female drivers go about on a daily basis. There will always be a guy looking at a woman as she gets into her car. People meet and greet in the carpark.
“If a guy sees a woman every day, he might just start fantasising about her. He might spend some moments thinking about her. It might be her smile. It’s just an ordinary woman...Judy... in the carpark that attracted me.” Toying with the idea of romance, Ramdeen said he often wondered who Judy’s lover was. He often wondered whether he would ever be locked in embrace with her. “Chutney/soca is hot. Hotter than a chulha. I often wonder who’s Judy’s lover. I often wish she were mine. The feeling would be divine.” He put the idea to paper when he discovered a lot of men could identify with intricacies like flirting in the carpark. “That’s how Judy was born.”
Superblue (Austin Lyons) sang about Ethel. Explainer (Winston Henry) bade Lorraine goodbye in Brooklyn. Quizzed on why he dedicated his ode to Judy, Ramdeen said he borrowed it from the movie Julie. “In the chutney world all the artistes sing a film song and sometimes borrow its melody. It’s what the radio would play. The film song I chose from the movie Julie. I chose the melody to get it to fit nicely.” For 2011, he’s hoping Judy would not spurn his affection. But the union would bring him popularity and success. He’s optimistic Judy would bring him joy—starting at Christmas. “I launched Judy at Christmas with 103 FM.
I performed with her in my band Signal Five. I will be competing with Judy in the chutney/soca monarch competition for Carnival 2011 season,” he said. Judy was arranged by Rishi Mahatoo and recorded at Maha Studios in Charlieville.
More 2011 plans
No stranger to Calypso Revue, Ramdeen said he intends to sing Hello Calypso for calypso lovers at its Wrightson Road base. “Hip Hop is telling calypso he’s the boss,” he said. Apart from Judy, he penned Think Again, for Aarti Butkoon and You are My Sona, for Rishi Ram. “Both artistes sing with Melobugs,” he said. Meanwhile, for Christmas, Maharaj and fellow Sabroso parranderos like Artistic Director Fitzgerald Daniel and musical arranger John Ramdeen have been moving from country to town singing traditional parang.
The repertoire includes Maharaj’s parang/chutney songs Mi Amor, Marac and Christmas Demand. “When we are playing soca we are known as Signal Five for soca and for parang as Sabroso. The music is sweet...sucre.” Quizzed on his thoughts about Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston Peters’ decision to take Carnival back to the Queen’s Park Savannah, he said: “I am all for that. There is something special about the Savannah.”
About Ramdeen Maharaj
He is married to Kamla and has two sons Jonathan and Roger.
Thrillers give him a thrill. His regular job is at the Ministry of Education, Port-of-Spain. Quizzed on the genesis of his love for the artform, he said: “I started writing. I just decided to sing one of my compositions. For the first time I did well, it was a calypso—The Insurrection in Sangre Grande. I graduated to the calypso tent.”
His passion for T&T’s indigenous arts took him on tour with Gayatones throughout Suriname. He emerged as a finalist in ragga soca, chutney and Young Kings’ competitions. What advice would he impart to a budding songwriter. “Write more original stuff on more meaningful topics,” he said. Quizzed on whether he planned to continue composing and performing, he said: “Definitely. It has a lot of money now.”
Everyday I see you in the carpark
And I wonder who’s your lover
Everytime you driving down the highway
Keep wishing you’d look my way
Wishing I was the one who’s holding you
Wishing it was my arms you were clinging to
I’ll do anything to be in his shoe
Judy I love you (chorus)
Ramdeen’s honour roll
1997—Sangre Grande Calypso Monarch
4 times—Ministry of Education Monarch
1999—COTT Music Awards Writer of the Year
2003—103 FM Hall of Fame—Writer of the Year
2005—Community Development Leadership Award
2007—National Chutney Awards—Writer of the Year
2008—National Chutney Awards—Writer of the Year
2006 to 2009—National Chutney Monarch
Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Achievement —2010
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