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Big Rich master mixes 2010 hits

By SEETA PERSAD Thursday, November 5 2009

Zaheer Khan, popularly known as “Big Rich”, has been responsible for producing the hottest chutney tunes to hit the local circuit in recent years.

His production of “Radica” by reigning Chutney Soca Monarch Kenneth Salick put Khan at the top of his game. He also produced songs that captured both second and third place at the national Carnival competition. The songs “Dularie” and “Jep Sting Naina” by Ravi Bissembar and Lalchan Babwah scored high this year. Prior to that, Khan produced “Bring It” by Hunter, “Fire Water” by Hitman, “Prem Kahani” by Indar Kanhai, “Tarey Vasete” by Andy Singh and two mega hits by Raymond Ramnarine “Chande Sitare” and “One More Night”. Khan owns and operates the Punkalunks Factory in Couva.

“I believe it is my involvement with the soca arena for more than 20 years that I am able to select the right rhythm and music for these compositions that come before me,” Khan said.

This year, he is producing his largest compilation yet with 15 artistes collaborating for the song “Meh Neighbour Wardrobe”. Composed by Salick the tune talks about his neighbour who wanted help to move a big wardrobe so he had to pull out her draws in order to move the furniture. Among those who are doing lines in this tune are Salick, Ravi B, Hunter, Drupatie Ramgoonai, Anil Bheem, Andy Singh, Ricky Jai, Scrunter (Irvin Reyes Johnson), Naresh Hitman Prabhu, Umadatt Maharaj, Nishad Sultan, Daddy Chinee, Soca Elvis (Michael Salloum), Nisha Bissembhar and Rakesh Yankaran. The tune will be released on Saturday on all local frequencies.

Salick told Newsday his song for the competitive stage is “Dharo” which is the Hindi word for rum. In the song, he is pleading with his lover not to have him choose between her and the rum. Salick broke the spell where three chutney artistes ruled the competition for many years. Chutney artistes Ricki Jai, Rooplal Girdharie and Heeralal Rampartap kept on taking the monarch title through the years. In 2008, the judging system changed to popular votes through bmobile and a new winner in Salick emerged. He had a bumper year performing in eight countries, doing stints five days per week. He is currently in Trinidad where he is expected to perform at the Palace in Sangre Grande on Saturday night.

Other artistes already in the studio with their chutney soca songs for 2010 are Ravi B with his song, “Ah Drinker”, Hunter with his composition of “Puncheon”; Ricki Jai with his new release ‘Bar Man’ and Hitman with “Spanner”.

Khan said his music factory has been in existence for three years now. It was initially called First Priority Music (FPM) before the name change. Khan started off on the music scene as a DJ.

“I got hooked on remixing soca with chutney soca and calypso about 15 years ago when I decided that this is really what I wanted to do,” he said.

Khan had a knack for taking Bollywood tunes and remixing it with pop and reggae. He became successful as many of the bands played his remixed songs. The chutney artistes then followed by choosing certain Bollywood tunes to be remixed.

Khan worked as a DJ for Masala 101.1 FM radio station which is now an Internet radio frequency.

He has established himself as one of the best mixers in the country. Khan spends many hours in his studio and is happy with the work he has been able to churn out of his factory.

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