Drupatee Ramgoonai

Drupatee Ramgoonai (pronounced [d̪rupət̪i rɑːməɡuɳɑːjə]; born 2 March 1958) is an Trinidadian and Tobagonian chutney and chutney soca musician. She was responsible for coining the term "chutney soca" in 1987 with her first album, entitled Chutney Soca, which included both English and Hindustani versions of the songs. She had her biggest hit the following year when her "(Roll Up the Tassa) Mr. Bissessar" was a Road March contender. She was instrumental in tassa and chutney soca finding its place in Carnival and her efforts later led to competitions such as Chutney Soca Monarch.


Drupatee Ramgoonai was born on Sunrees Road in Charlo Village, Penal, Saint Patrick County, Penal-Debe, Trinidad and Tobago, on 2 March 1958 into a Hindu Indian family. She started singing alongside her mother in the mandir at a young age, then went on to learn Indian classical singing from her trainer Ustad James Ramsewak, a veteran in the field.[1] She also gained exposure on Mastana Bahar, the Indian Cultural Pageant, winning the local song category in 1983 and 1984.[2]

Ramgoonai recorded her first crossover tune in 1987, entitled "Chutney Soca", and gained moderate success in the calypso tents. The term chutney soca was first coined by Drupatee Ramgoonai with that crossover tune "Chutney Soca" in 1987 and Ramgoonai is considered the mother of chutney soca.[3] The following year released "Mr Bissessar (Roll Up de Tassa)".[4] She has also released songs such as "Pepper", "Hotter Than a Chulha", "Careless Driver", "Motilal", "Tassawalley", and "Manzalina" and "Wuk Up D Ladki" with Machel Montano.[5]

She created history as being the first woman of Indian descent to sing calypso and soca[1][6] and has been one of the main targets of those who are scandalised by women and Indians singing chutney, chutney soca, calypso, and soca.[3][7][8][9][10]

In 2016 Drupatee signed an exclusive digital distribution agreement with Fox Fuse, making her entire music catalog available digitally worldwide for the first time.[11]



  1. ^ a b Tejaswini Niranjana, Mobilizing India: Women, Music, and Migration between India and Trinidad, Durham, North Carolina: Duke University, 2000. ISBN 0-8223-3828-9, p. 98.
  2. ^ Niranjana, pp. 98–99.
  3. ^ a b Niranjana, p. 100.
  4. ^ Dave Thompson, Reggae and Caribbean Music, San Francisco: Backbeat, 2001, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, p. 72.
  5. ^ Niranjana, p. 167.
  6. ^ Niranjana, p. 150.
  7. ^ Niranjana, p. 86.
  8. ^ Niranjana, p. 113.
  9. ^ Ronald Michael Radano, Philip Vilas Bohlman, Music and the Racial Imagination, Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000, ISBN 0-226-70199-9, p. 333.
  10. ^ Shalini Puri, The Caribbean Postcolonial: Social Equality, Post-Nationalism, and Cultural Hybridity, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, ISBN 1-4039-6181-6, p. 196.
  11. ^ "CARIBBEAT: Chutney queen Drupatee branches out with exclusive digital deal", New York Daily News, May 22, 2016.