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Sundar Popo

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Biography

Sundar Popo (born Sunilal Popo Bahora, 4 November 1943, Monkey Town, Barrackpore, Trinidad & Tobago, died 2 May 2000) was a musician from Trinidad and Tobago. He popularized Chutney music, beginning with his 1970 hit “Nana and Nani”.

Popo grew up in a musical family. Both his parents were musicians; his mother was a singer and his father was an accomplished tassa drummer. At the age of 15, he began singing at bhajans at church and weddings in his hometown of Monkey Town. Bahora worked as a watchman at a Barrackpore factory, and trained under Ustad James Ransawak. In 1969, at a mattikoor in Princes Town, he met Moean Mohammed, a radio host and promoter. After listening to “Nani and Nana”, a song with lyrics in both Hindi and English, describing the affairs of an Indian grandmother and grandfather, Mohammed got maestro Harry Mahabir to record the song at Television House, accompanied by the BWIA National Indian Orchestra. The song revolutionized East Indian music in Trinidad & Tobago. After the success of Nani and Nana, Bahora devoted more of his time to his singing career. He followed “Nani and Nana” with an album combining Trinidadian folk songs with traditional Hindu material. In total, he recorded more than fifteen albums. He is best known for his song Scorpion Gyul which spoke about love, death, and happiness. His other hits include “Oh My Lover”, “Don’t Fall in Love”, and “Saas More Lage (also known as I Wish I Was A Virgin)”. His songs were covered several times by the Indian duo Babla & Kanchan, who had a major success with a version of his “Pholourie Bina Chutney”, bringing him to a wider international audience, and leading to tours of Europe and the United States.

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