REAL NAME: Sundarlal Popo Bahora
DATE OF BIRTH: November 4, 1943
PLACE OF BIRTH: Monkey Town, Trinidad
CAREER:                                 Coming from a musical family background, was considered a pioneer of chutney music. Popo won the first Local Song competition in the Indian Cultural Pageant in 1976 and gained international fame when he performed at the Babla and Kanchan concert in Trinidad in 1979. Prominent singers in their home of India, Babla and Kanchan borrowed some of Popo's hits, re-recorded them with better orchestration techniques, and introduced them to India and the world. Popo was a pioneer in introducing Indian musical tones and Indian instrumentation into Trinidadian music. He brought chutney into calypso, recorded many songs, and made many overseas concert tours to North America, Europe, India, Fiji, Mauritius, Guyana, and Suriname. He performed at the "World Beat Festival" in 1999 and his last performance was at the 2000 Chutney Soca Monarch competition at Skinner Park, San Fernando, Trinidad. He recorded more than 15 albums and infused his lyrics with Hindi and English. Chutney music draws from east Indian classical music, folk music, bhajans and ghazals. Typically the musical instruments which accompany the songs are: dholak, tabla, harmonium, dhantal, manjira and sometimes tassa. It also blends the Western, Indian, and African cultures into the rhythmic beats. Popo performed in many countries worldwide through the production and promotion of the late Mohan Jaikaran. The country paid tribute to Popo through the naming of the Sundarlal Popo Bahora Auditorium, at the Academy for the Performing Arts, South Campus in San Fernando, after him. There is a play entitled Sundar, produced by Iere Theatre Productions Ltd, which is about Popo's life and legacy to the music industry. A memorial to the cultural icon, a statue of Popo, was erected in Debe as well as an image of him placed on the welcome arch when entering into the community, located near the Parvati Girls' Hindu College. One of Popo's songs, "Pholourie Bina Chutney" was re-sung and used in the Bollywood movie, Dabangg 2, with Bollywood actor Salman Khan dancing to the new rhythmic beat of the song. Some of his songs were:
  • "Nana and Nani"; "Scorpion Guyl"; "Oh My Lover"; "Don't Fall in Love"; "Pholourie Bina Chutney"; "Saas More Lage"
  • 1988 - National Award for Excellence as top vocalist of the year
  • 1993 - Sunshine Award for First Place in Indian Soca Competition
  • 1994 - Caribbean Music Award
  • 1993 - Trinidad & Tobago Humming Bird Medal (Silver)
  • 1996 - Caribbean Bacchanal Trophy
DIED: May 2, 2000
Compiled by Ronald C. Emrit