In its simplest form Chutney music is a contemporary, up-tempo fusion of Indian instrumentation - particularly the dholak, tabla and dhantal- with calypso. Usually the melody line is carried by the harmonium, with the dholak and dhantal providing the rhythm. As time evolved, drum machines were introduced to provide the rhythmic foundation of synthesized tassa.
Sung in Hindi, Bhojpuri and English, the Chutney theme was traditionally of a sacred nature and performed mainly by women. Eventually a wider range of themes were introduced. Today both men and women perform Chutney music.
One of the leading figures in Chutney music was Sundarlal Popo Bahora, better known as Sundar Popo. The legacy of this great pioneer of Chutney music spans more than three decades from 1970 with his inaugural hit "Nana & Nani" right up to 2000 when he recorded his final album "Friends." Sundar Popo recorded an unprecedented fifteen albums during this period and produced immortal classics like "Pholourie Bina Chutney", "Scorpion Gyul" and "Don't Fall in Love". He popularized Chutney music in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean Diaspora and became an international icon when Indian duo Babla and Kanchan covered many his songs expanding his influence around the globe. In June, 2013 the performance theatre in the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts was officially named “The Sundar Popo (Sundarlal Popo Bahora) Theatre”