Birth name Sundarlal Popo Bahora Born November 4, 1943(1943-11-04) Origin Monkey Town, Barrackpore, Trinidad & Tobago Died May 2, 2000 (aged 56) Genres Chutney Years active 1970–2000
Sundar Popo (born Sunilal Popo Bahora, 4 November 1943, Monkey Town, Barrackpore, Trinidad & Tobago, died 2 May 2000) was a Chutney musician from Trinidad and Tobago. He popularised Chutney music, beginning with his 1970 hit Nana and Nani.
Sundar Popo grew up in a musical family. Both his parents were musicians; his mother was a singer and his father was an accomplished tassa drummer. At the age of 15, he began singing at bhajans at church and weddings in his hometown of Monkey Town. Bahora worked as a watchman at a Barrackpore factory, and trained under Ustad James Ransawak. In 1969, at a mattikoor in Princes Town, he met Moean Mohammed, a radio host and promoter. After listening to "Nani and Nana", a song with lyrics in both Hindi and English, describing the affairs of an Indian grandmother and grandfather, Mohammed got maestro Harry Mahabir to record the song at Television House, accompanied by the BWIA National Indian Orchestra. The song revolutionized East Indian music in Trinidad & Tobago.After the success of Nani and Nana, Bahora devoted more of his time to his singing career. He followed "Nani and Nana" with an album combining Trinidadian folk songs with traditional Hindu material. In total, he recorded more than fifteen albums. He is best known for his song Scorpion Gyul which spoke about love, death, and happiness. His other hits include "Oh My Lover", "Don't Fall in Love", and "Oh Lover You Leave Me and Gone". His songs were covered several times by the Indian duo Babla & Kanchan, who had a major success with a version of his "Pholourie Bina Chutney", bringing him to a wider international audience, and leading to tours of Europe and the United States.
It was through the production and promotion of Mohan Jaikaran and his JMC music empire and later with Masala radio that Sundar Popo became recognized as the pioneer and founder of Chutney music. There wasn't a chutney show in Trinidad or New York City promoted by Jaikaran that Sundar Popo wasn't a part of. Jaikaran's Mother's Day concerts were always headlined by Sundar Popo.
Popo won many awards during his career, and in 1995, Black Stalin won the Trinidad & Tobago Calypso Monarch title with his "Tribute to Sundar Popo".
In addition to his solo albums, Popo has also released collaborations with Trinidadian performer Anand Yankaran, and JMC Triveni.
While Popo had recorded and performed prolifically since the early 1970s, failing health and eyesight forced him to slow down. At the 2000 Chutney Monarch competition, his performance had to be cut short after one song, and he played his final concert on 1 April 2000, in Connecticut. On 2 May 2000, he died at the home he had built in Barrackpore, from heart and kidney ailments relating to diabetes.