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Dil-E-Nadan's future is secure
Entering the home of the Ramnarines at 7 pm, one could never guess that six children who created waves onstage with the band Dil-E-Nadan recently at the Everybody Loves Raymond (ELR) concert were at the premises.
While bhajans played softly at the home of Raymond, Richard and Rene Ramnarine, all the children were indoors studying for exams. “Education is it,” Raymond told the T&T Guardian. “Education is very important and all the kids are A-plus students.” Richard interjected, “In this family, education and academics are of high importance.”
Since the ELR concert, there has been a lot of interest in the children of the Ramnarine family. On stage heating up the place at the concert were Richard’s children, (ten-year-old twin boys) Amish and Arvind (who attend the Gasparillo Hindu School); Rene’s children—Samara, 16 (who attends Parvati Girls’ Hindu School) and Samiya, nine (who attends the Gasparillo Hindu School); and Raymond’s children Varun, 14 (who attends Naparima College) and Vinesh, eight (who attends the Happy Hill Hindu School).
Asked if the children wanted to perform at the concert or if they were encouraged by their fathers, Raymond insisted, “They wanted to perform. We do not force them into anything. We do not have the kids in studio pounding them every day with music. This comes naturally for them because music is in their blood.”
The big question for the former Chutney Soca Monarch was, “Are these children the next Dil-E-Nadan?”
Raymond smiled and said, “This is the next step for Dil-E-Nadan. When I think about the struggles Daddy went through—20 to 30 years ago they played music for rum and roti. This is Daddy’s dream. It was hard for him long ago to get musicians and he used to say one day he will have three boys and he will be good to go. So said so done. We plan to keep Dil-E-Nadan alive and the children also see the importance of this. They too want to keep this alive.”
With school, extra lessons and the stresses of being a child in this world, how do the children get the time to rehearse? “The children only started performing two years ago at the ELR concert,” Raymond said. “They only rehearse for ELR around January and February and they do not rehearse a lot. Before the ELR this year they only rehearsed once. Varun is the shy one and believe it or not, he went into the band room and got his song done in one take.”
So are there limitations on where the children perform? “Yes, they only perform at ELR and family events. We make sure there is no alcohol.” Asked if he has other dreams for his children, Raymond said, “I do not want to tell my children what to become but I know music is in their blood. I do not stress them but I ensure that they know education is the key.
Their mothers are also very supportive of the children performing on stage. “They break down in the audience when they hear the kids sing,” Raymond said.
The children spoke about their goals and their emotions on stage. Arvind and Amish who both want to become doctors and singers said they sometimes feel nervous on stage but the feeling is awesome. Arvind is a Grade one drummer with a distinction from Trinity School of London and will start Grade two soon. Amish is doing Grade one. Samiya, who hopes to become a teacher will be on stage soon and is very excited about that. She is learning how to play the piano and she is also a dancer. Samara hopes to become a lawyer.
While she will sit the CXC O’Level exams in May/June of this year, she previously attempted Mathematics, English Language and English Literature in January of this year and she got all ones.
“When I’m on stage I think about my family and I feel so proud to represent them and to continue doing what they do.”
The teenager was also keen to explain how she manages her time. “Everyone has the same amount of time in the day, it is all about how you decide to use your time. I decide to use mine to devote myself to music and school.”
Vinesh wishes to be a music teacher and a singer while his brother, Varun, hopes to become a doctor and a singer. Both boys said they feel extremely happy and proud when they perform.
All the younger children are involved in Baal Vikaas—a competition for all Hindu primary schools. Amish and Arvind won the Classical competition for three consecutive years. “This year they have decided to focus on their SEA exams,” Raymond said.
How do the fathers feel when on stage with their children? Raymond insists that it is a feeling that can never be put into words. “A couple years ago when Varun was singing I broke down on stage,” he said. “It is such a heavenly feeling to see your kids on stage performing in front of thousands of people. When we go back to the hotel and I see Varun running around in his underwear I ask myself if this the same child who was performing in front thousands. At the end of the day they are still kids,” said the father of two.
The Dil-E-Nadan leader then sent out some advice to fathers. He said, “Make time for your children and do not make excuses. I have to make the extra effort to take my children to the movies, to play football and so on. As parents, we have a responsibility—we brought them here and they are our responsibility. Get them involved in their religion too—it helps to keep them grounded,” added Raymond whose entire family is heavily involved in Hinduism.
So what are Dil-E-Nadan’s plans for this year? The band is focusing on the European market. So far, they’ve been to Holland, Spain, Brussels and several other countries.
“The response in such places is tremendous. The fans are so passionate.
“This year we also want to take it a step further with our collaborations. We are not doing the usual collaborations. We are working with some good people in Japan and the US. In addition, we noticed that chutney music has taken a bashing but we want to work with that music and twist and turn it to show how it can be successful and how we can take it internationally.”
As for his plans for the children of the band—the future Dil-E-Nadan stars—Raymond noted “There is a huge interest in the kids to perform internationally but we will see how it goes. At this point education is most important.” The showstopper insisted however that he allows the children the freedom to express themselves through music.
“Music has no boundaries,” he said. “As long as something is positive we allow the children to do what they want to do. They perform well at school and still perform well on stage so we allow it. We will see how it goes with regard to them performing internationally.”
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