Monday, January 22, 2018

'I am not Milli Violini' - local musician responds

Violinist Shiva Chaitoo


Musician Shiva Chaitoo has come under some heavy fire and criticism following the publication of an article on the Boston Globe website.

In the article, questions were raised as to whether the 32-year-old Fyzabad performer was even playing the violin, and whether he was utilizing the work of another performer, a 28-year-old American Musician known as Rhett Price.

In the article, Price, who was described as a Youtube sensation, told the Globe, “I could immediately tell he didn't know how to play the violin, just from the way he was holding it. And the positions his fingers were in, anyone who plays violin could just tell that it was impossible for the notes that people were hearing to be coming from that instrument.”

Price aslo wrote in a Facebook post: "People have been paying him thousands upon thousands of dollars and all they're getting is Milli Violini", alluding to the infamous two-member pop band Milli Vanilli from the 80s, which was disgraced after it was discovered the men did not sing on the albums.

With the article being shared online on various social media sites, Express reached out to the Fyzabad resident for his thoughts on what was being said on him.

Chaitoo said he had the deepest respect for Price, and in no manner did he intend to breach any copyright laws, or pass off another musician's work as his own.

“I've heard many things today, that I've stolen his music. That is the most damning accusation a musician can make to another one. I wouldn't do that knowingly. And I told him as such when I spoke to him. I respect him as a musician and it was never my intent, knowingly or otherwise, to be seen as though I'm stealing his music. I did apologize if there was any belief that this was the case, and told him there would be no repeats of this.

“However, the allegations that I am not playing live… that is another story. The way I hold my violin is unorthodox yes. But that's how I utilize my instrument. I do not use it in the traditional manner or the western manner, because it gives me a bit of uniqueness. Even the way I tune my violin isn't done in a traditional manner. To that end I am seriously considering making an unplugged video to prove to people that this is how I play, and it can be done. It's a means of reflecting my character and it turns heads,” Chaitoo said.

The local performer also emphasized that the video which was being shared on social media, at Spotlight Bar in Curepe, was not a paid gig, nor had he been paid by any social media sites such as Facebook or even Youtube, for the views racked up by the clip.

“The video that brought all this into question was one from the Spotlight Bar(in Curepe). And that video, which wasn't even recorded by me or taken by me, I was just there liming and the song came on. I had my violin there, so I decided why not. It wasn't anyone paying me. It wasn't a hustle. It was just me having my instrument at a bar, and deciding to have fun. And I ended up playing over the track in the yard. That was just me playing from the heart. It was recorded and uploaded, Chaitoo said.

The 32-year-old musician, who also plays the keyboard, said that he was taking the news in stride, and trying to “keep his head above water”.

“I suppose that I would have to go back to the old adage that everything is a learning experience, and that there is no such thing as bad press. I will persevere and continue to promote and expand on my craft. Just last year I performed live for the president (Anthony Carmona) and I played again for a diplomatic dinner.

“I am confident in my abilities, and I know my fans are aware of my abilities. The defamation of my character by saying I am not playing, of finger syncing, is hurtful, and as I said earlier, I would most likely do a video to address this soon. As to Mr Price, I have apologized for any perceived infringements, because as I said, at worst, it was unknowingly done, and I have given him certain assurances. But all I would want to point out to the public was that their problems are associated on my playing Major Lazer's “Lean On” and Justin Bieber's “Sorry”. I did a cover of Trini to the Bone last week for Independence Day… and no issue. No challenge of my abilities or skills. At the end of the day, it's interesting to me to see that a young boy from Fyzabad in a little island such as Trinidad and Tobago can make such waves, that persons from Boston are contacting me. The circumstances surrounding it are unfortunate, but I will still look at the positive from it, as it shows that, even if it's from a Fyzabad youth, music can reach anyone, anywhere,” Chaitoo said.

Here are two videos comparing the both artist playing the same song, the first was taken from Mr. Rhett Price's youtube channel, while the other video was posted and circulated on Facebook.