ELEVEN-year-old Mandeep Poonwassie is a little genius who composes songs and spends long hours practising music. Through distance learning, he passed grade one theory exams in music from Trinity College, London.
He is a finalist in the Schools Intellectual Chutney Soca Monarch 2020 which takes place on February 19 at Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain. The young singer has helped his father Mohip Poonwassie (former pichakaaree champion) compose the chutney song Trinbago Celebration.
“Chutney music should make you dance but it must also carry constructive lyrics that will leave the audience thinking,” he told Newsday Kids.
Mandeep and his father put pen to paper and sat with a dholak (hand drum) to compose his song which celebrates national unity through TT cultural traditions.
His mother Jennifer Ramdhan is proud of achievements
“He is a talented child who will drop any game to play music, and I admire that about him,” she said.
Mandeep loves to read. His favourite dish is macaroni and cheese and his must-have snack is marshmallows.
No stranger to the stage, Mandeep has been singing alongside his father in pichakaaree competitions since he was four.
“My dad said before I could speak I use to sing,” he said.
He can hardly wait for Carnival and Phagwa each year.
“I really look forward to listening to the new compositions that our chutney soca and soca artistes do every year.”
But he feels popular singers such as Ravi B, Machel Montano, KI, Neval Chatelal, Raymond Ramnarine and Imran Beharry should sing songs with strong lyrics that can have a positive impact on their audience.
“I think it is not just about dancing to a rhythm but about enjoying tasteful lyrics as well,” he said.
A student of the Mc Bean Hindu School, Mandeep will sit the SEA exam on April 4. His first-choice is Presentation College, Chaguanas.
“We have a lot of schoolwork at this time, but I still find the time to play the piano and practise my chutney song,” he said.
Mandeep is happy to share the lyrics with readers.
Sabse nache dholak baaje
Let’s celebrate today
The Trinbagonian way
The land of chutney and calypso
Steelpan, tassa and limbo
Here every creed and race
Enjoy a common space
That’s what makes Trinbago a special place
So rich and cultural
With plenty festival
Hosay and Ramleela
Divali, Dimanche Gras
Such a colourful, diverse society
Is what makes us a rainbow country
Our culinary treats
And local wild meats
Sun, sand and sea
Our Trini identity
A land rich in folk tradition
A wonderful tourist destination
Our people so friendly
Feel so safe and happy
Come join the Trini lime
To experience a great time
Truly a paradise nation
That’s why I’m proud to be Trinbagonian