I composed, wrote and performed Enjoy Enjaami: Arivu speaks out on his exclusion

At the opening ceremony of the 44th Chess Olympiad, singers Dhee and Kidakuzhi Mariyammal performed the song, and Santosh Narayanan was credited as the composer, although Arivu wrote and composed the song.

After musician Santosh Narayanan was credited with composing the hugely popular “Enjoy Enjaami,” rapper Arivu took to social media to make it clear that it was he who wrote, composed and performed the song. At the opening ceremony of the 44th Chess Olympiad, singers Dhee and Kidakuzhi Mariyammal performed the song, and Santosh Narayanan was credited as the composer. Many social media users had expressed disappointment that Arivu was not mentioned or even mentioned during the event.

In a lengthy Instagram post featuring a photo from the song’s music video, Arivu wrote that he spent more than six months composing, writing, and then performing the song. He also clarified Santosh Narayanan and Maajja’s claims that both Dhee and Arivu contributed equally to the project, saying that he was not receiving any form of outside support. Arivu wrote that the songs speak of his background and his heritage, and while producing the song was a team effort, this does not give the label or other collaborators the right to obscure the struggles of his ancestors that he covers in the song.

“Undoubtedly, it (the song) brings everyone together. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t the history of Valliammal or the landless ancestors of the tea plantation slaves of mine. Every song of mine will have the scar of this generational oppression. Like this Just One..There are 10,000 national anthems in this country. The songs that carry the breath of ancestors, their pain, their life, love, their resistance and everything about their existence. It all speaks to you in beautiful songs. Because we are a generation of blood and sweat turned into melodies of liberating arts. We carry the legacy through songs,” Arivu wrote in his Instagram post on Monday.

“Anyone can snatch your treasure when you’re ape. Never when you’re awake. jaibhim. The truth will always win in the end. #enjoyenjaami #appropriationart,” wrote Arivu.

Featuring Arivu and Dhee, ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ was supported by composer Santhosh Narayanan and AR Rahman’s music label Maajja, which promotes independent music. The song was released on March 5 last year. Under the description of the original music video released by Maaja on YouTube, Dhee has been named as the main artist while Arivu’s name has been added as the collaborator. “Dhee ft. Arivu – Enjoy Enjaami (Prod. Santhosh Narayanan),” reads the song’s title on YouTube. The description also does not bear the composer’s name.


Read: Rolling Stone India, Maajja Must Answer Tough Questions About Clearing Arivu

Arivu’s exclusion as the creator of the song has also been discussed several times in the past, but this is his first time talking about it.

Rolling Stone India had a front page and cover story on ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ in August last year, but Arivu didn’t get to that. This had sparked a public outcry, with many calling out Rolling Stone India, as well as the performers involved, for having Arivu and the Dalit-Bahujan people on his side as he paid tribute with the song ‘Enjoy Enjaami’. ‘Enjoy Enjaami’, fused with Oppari (lament sung during a mourning) is a celebration of the ancestors who toiled in the forests and led to human civilization. The lyricist talks about his grandmother Valliammal and tells how she was forced to migrate to Sri Lanka as an indentured worker on tea plantations, followed by her return to India to face landlessness.

However, the EDM version of Enjoy Enjaami released on Spotify by singer Dhee and DJ Snake — which was also streamed on the Times Square Billboard last year — had Arivu excluded from the video. This was also condemned by many, who argued that erasing Arivu from his own tracks was usurping. Frequent employees and Arivu’s industry colleagues, including director Pa Ranjith, wondered on social media why Arivu was not given the credit. “@TherukuralArivu, the lyricist of #Neeyaoli and singer and lyricist of #enjoyenjami is invisible again. @RollingStoneIN and @joinmaajja is it so hard to understand that the lyrics of both songs challenge this erasure of public recognition?” Pa Ranjith had tweeted last year. Arivu was subsequently featured on the digital cover of Rolling Stone India.

Arivu, who then chose not to comment on the controversy, has broken his silence with the recent social media post.

Read: Tiffany ad for Enjoy Enjaami – a look at art, appropriation and the voice of authenticity

‘Enjoy Enjaami’ Is As Political As My Other Works: Singer Lyricist Arivu to TNM

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