Jahaji Music: India in the Caribbean

Juhaji50 (1)

From the mid-nineteenth century Indian laborers arrived in the Caribbean on boats, bringing a few belongings and their music – the beginnings of a remarkable cultural practice. More than 150 years later musician Remo Fernandes travels to the Islands to explore potential collaborations and create new work. Jahaji Music: India in the Caribbean (2007) is a record of a difficult, if unusual and complex, musical journey. We walk around Trenchtown with Bob Marley’s teacher and Rastafari philosopher Mortimo Planno; accompany calypso and soca singer Rikki Jai to Skinner Park; chat with visual artist Chris Cozier in the Savannah; follow Dancehall Queen Stacey to Weddy Weddy Wednesday; groove to Lady Saw’s lyrics; record a new song with Denise Saucy Wow Belfon and are guests at an East Indian Hindu wedding.

Endeavouring through it all, to weave a story of memory, identity and creativity. Followed by discussion with UChicago Visiting Faculty Ashish Rajadhyaksha, co-editor of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema (1999/2001) and author of Indian Cinema in the Time of Celluloid: From Bollywood to the Emergency (2009). Rajadhyaksha has curated a number of film and art events, such as the ‘Bombay/Mumbai 1992–2002’ exhibition that was a part of Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis (Tate Modern, 2002, with Geeta Kapur), Memories of Cinema (IVth Guangzhou Triennale, 2011) and You Don’t Belong (a package of experimental video, documentary and fiction films that traveled through five cities in China and Hong Kong). He was Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society (1998–2013) and has since then been Visiting Professor at the Lingnan University, Hong Kong, the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore and the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

(Surabhi Sharma, 2007, 112 min)