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Dubraj Persad walking in the footsteps of his father

By SEETA PERSAD Tuesday, August 16 2011

For those who can understand a bit of Hindi, listening to classical singer Dubraj Persad is a treat. When he closed his eyes and in a deep voice sang ‘Rama Charran Sook Dayee’ (Glorifying Lord Rama), a hush fell on the audience at Doorbasa Trace Vishnu Mandir, as the sound of the dholak echoed through the temple, a perfect compliment to delightful voice of Dubraj.

“My father Lutchman Persad was known for singing these highly religious songs and I knew people loved them then, in the ’70s and ’80s. Today there is a demand for these songs as the younger singers who are in the Maha Sabha schools are (performing) these songs,” he said. Persad noted the songs contain words of prayer as the singers call on God to shower blessings on the people who are suffering. “I take my singing seriously. I try to get the words and the rhythms working in accordance with each other before attempting the stage,” Dubraj said.

He praised his father and mother, Lutchman and Sunardai Persad for making singing a priority in their home. “This not only allowed us the opportunity to spend quality time with them but it also allowed us to learn these beautiful classical songs that I believe will live forever,” he said.

Dubraj who is from Chase Village, Carapichaima, attended Agostini Settlement KPA School and Asja Boys College, San Fernando. After attaining his secondary level passes he turned to accounting and is now a purchasing officer for several companies in Central Trinidad.

He told Newsday that this art of classical singing has helped him to develop into a well-balanced rounded individual. “I look forward to going out there and doing my job, but I feel great when I have to perform for people,” he said, adding that there is great joy and happiness in perfecting and art and being able to take to the rural districts and even to the well to do people in this country and other countries of the world.

He praised his father and all the other “ustads” (respected singers) of yesteryear for making sacrifices to keep the art of classical singing alive. “In a time when the music was evolving and everyone want to get into chutney there were few who chose to sing gazals and tumree (love songs in Hindi),” he said, adding that he is glad they were able to stick to the art, as today there is a large audience for this type of singing.

Dubraj’s advice to the youths of today is to stay true to the culture and take another look at the origin of classical singing as there is a certain charm about these songs. “With the coming of the Internet and cable television the youths of today are involved in all sorts of communications. That is why it good that there are the different temples and institutions that promote the culture. Therefore when they are able to take their eyes off the net they can look at what is happening in the temples and other religious institutions,” he said.

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