Saturday 23 June, 2018

Trini violinist dismisses claims of theft by Youtube sensation

Youtube sensation Rhett Price, right, has accused Trinidadian performer Shiva Chaitoo, left, of stealing his work.

Youtube sensation Rhett Price, right, has accused Trinidadian performer Shiva Chaitoo, left, of stealing his work.

A Trinidadian musician accused of stealing and passing off the work of a Youtube sensation as his own is dismissing the accusations.

Shiva Chaitoo, a violinist who goes by the nickname Dappa, told Loop he is ignoring the accusations of Rhett Price, an American Youtube sensation.

In a September 3 article in the Boston Globe, Price accuses Chaitoo of passing his music as his own.

He said someone sent him a link to a video in which Chaitoo was playing covers of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Major Lazer’s “Lean On” in a bar. He believed that Chaitoo was playing his version of the songs and passing them off as his own.

Price's remix of "Sorry"  has over 300,000 views on Youtube while his remix of "Lean On" has 720,000 views. 

“I could immediately tell he didn’t know how to play the violin, just from the way he was holding it,” Price told the Globe. “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 told the Globe.

Price, a Texas native and former Berklee College of Music student with more than 83,000 subscribers on YouTube, employed Joe Bennett, an expert witness forensic musicologist and the vice president for academic affairs at the Boston Conservatory, to back up his suspicions.

The Boston Globe said that Bennett confirmed via e-mail that after an audio waveform analysis, he was 95 percent certain Chaitoo was “simply passing off [Price’s] recordings as his.”

Price also sent the files to Vince Lee, a former associate conductor for the Indianapolis Symphony and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, who agreed with Bennett’s analysis while noting that on at least one video, Chaitoo appeared to be playing his violin at a lower volume underneath Price’s recordings.

Price contacted Chaitoo, who, according to the Globe, broke down in tears stating that he was a big fan and he tries to incorporate Price’s style in his music.

When Loop contacted Chaitoo, he confirmed that he was and still is a fan of Price.

He said he tried to incorporate Price's style of playing since he loves his work. 

However, he is not letting the accusations bother him.

“I ignoring he, I does go in studio and do my tracks myself. That not really bothering me right now. I eh do nothing wrong. If that reach them fellas’ ears that means I am doing something good and I am a competition in their eyes,” he said, noting that he plays other genres of music including Indian classics.

Chaitoo does not have a Youtube channel and said he does not post videos because he is too busy. He said any videos of him playing were posted by fans.

Chaitoo, who performs at weddings and has played for President Anthony Carmona, at meetings of the United National Congress (UNC) and had a cameo in Nishard M's Mr Take Yuh Gyul video, said playing music was a hobby for him, not something he takes too seriously.

Sudesh Sooknanan, a producer at SouthSide Studio in Penal where Chaitoo records, vouched for the musician, who he said he has been working with for about 15 years.

He said Chaitoo learned to play the violin from his guru Shivanan Maharaj, who he described as the most accomplished musician in Indian Classical Music in the Caribbean.

Price does not plan to take legal action but told Chaitoo he wants to ensure he never uses his music again.

“That part of me appreciates what you’re saying. But the part of me that was homeless in Boston, and played in subways, and stole granola bars from little convenience stores so I could survive while I was chasing my dreams is so pissed that someone else took the music I worked years for and just ran with it. . . . As long as you’re making other people happy by playing violin, then I’m all about it. I think violin is amazing, obviously. But I need to make sure for a fact that you’re absolutely never going to use my music in public ever again,” he told Chaitoo.