“A lifelong dream come true.”
This is how Nishard Mayrhoo felt minutes after copping the Chutney Soca Monarch (CSM) 2018 title with his partner Neval Chatelal singing their song Masala.
Although he has been performing since the age of seven, Mayrhoo, 30, said this is the first competition he has ever won.
“This is now my fifth year in the finals, this is something I have been working for literally my entire life. I never lost focus, I always remained working hard and trying to better my craft. To come out on top of this competition is a feeling unlike anything else, I can’t even describe it.”
Commenting on the fact that the competition was almost cancelled because of a lack of funding, Mayrhoo said, “I think chutney music and soca music is our culture and it should never reach a point where either competition should be on the verge of being called off. At the end of the day, if we don’t take care of our culture, we can’t expect anyone else to do it.”
Chatelal said it was a surreal experience to win the competition.
“I had the privilege to to take the crown with my brother, he’s a star boy in his own right. He’s been in this competition and he has the experience.
I have learnt so much from him by being on the side of the stage, supporting him from year to year and it has been a really amazing experience joining him and to take the crown.” Chatelal said they hoped to take the artform in a new direction. “We have vision for the music to not only remain where it has been in that style of presentation where people will sing about the same thing over and over again. The regular consensus that people have towards chutney music is that it’s recycled and they keep using the same theme.
We decided to do something a little different using the influences that we grew up with and channel it in a new way.”
Both men said they planned to celebrate the win with their respective families.