Well known to the East Indian community in Trinidad and Tobago, New York -based Trinidadian Anand Yankaran created history by becoming the first ever TT Chutney Road March Champion in 2007.
For his efforts, Yankaran won a new Mitsubishi Lancer — the same prize awarded to that year’s Soca Road March champ, Machel Montano. Speaking from New York at the time, Yankaran said he was overjoyed to hear the news. The tune was just one of many he had released throughout the years, he added, expressing surprise that the song climbed the charts in TT.
Anand, the elder brother of Rakesh Yankaran, also a TT chutney artist, had been living in New York for many years. He performed in a number of shows in New York and Canada. Some of his songs are: Malineya, Humsa Bolaway, Laylo Laylo, Nanda Baba, Zindabad Trinbago, Gunguroo Bajay, Indra Puri Say, Soch Samajh Abhiman, Ranga Dall, Bola Baba, Kya Kar Mai, and Janay Maha.
It all started for Anand at the age of ten, when he was the leader of the Waterloo Hindu School choir. Anand led his group of singers to win the Divali singing competitions, which were run by the Maha Sabha back then. One of Yankaran’s hits, Nanda Baba, is to this day played regularly on the local East Indian radio station.
Anand studied music theory with local musicians Bansraj Ramkissoon, Mungal Patessar, Pradip Shankar, Sunil Verma and Kavita Verma, from India, and was taught the harmonium by younger brother, Rakesh. He could also play the dholak, tabla and sitar.
Anand’s specialty became mixing soca with classical and calypso. Although he had not performed in TT for many years, he created waves with his songs in New York, and toured extensively in North America, the Caribbean and Europe.
The National Chutney Foundation of T&T has lost one of its most iconic members, and sends their condolences to his family.