I composed, wrote and performed Enjoy Enjaami: Arivu Speaks Out About His Expulsion

At the opening ceremony of the 44th Chess Olympiad, singers Dhee and Kidakuzhi Mariyammal performed the song, and Santosh Narayanan was credited as the music 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 clarify 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 recognized as the music composer. Many social media users had expressed their disappointment that Arivu was not named or even mentioned during the event.

In a lengthy Instagram post with an image from the song’s music video, Arivu wrote that he spent over six months composing, writing and then performing the track. He also clarified Santosh Narayanan and Maajja’s claims that both Dhee and Arivu contributed equally to the project and said that he had received no outside support whatsoever. Arivu wrote that the songs speak about his background and heritage, and while the song’s production was a team effort, that doesn’t give the label or other collaborators the right to hide the struggles of his ancestors, which he addresses in the track .

“No doubt it (the song) calls everyone together. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t the story of Valliammal or the landless slave ancestors of the tea plantations of mine. Every song of mine will have the scar of this generational oppression. Like this Just One… There are 10000 folk songs in this country. The songs that carry the breath of the ancestors, their pain, their life, their love, their resistance and everything about their existence. It all speaks to you in beautiful songs. For 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 sweetheart when you’re sleeping. Never when you’re awake. Jaibhim. The truth will always win in the end. #enjoyenjaami #appropriationart,” Arivu wrote.

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

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

Arivu’s exclusion as the song’s creator has also been raised multiple times in the past, but this is the first time he’s spoken out about it.

Rolling Stone India had a cover and cover story on “Enjoy Enjaami” in August last year but did not include Arivu. This had led to a public outcry, with many calling out Rolling Stone India and the artists involved for aligning themselves with Arivu and the Dalit Bahujan people whom he paid tribute to with the song “Enjoy Enjaami”. “Enjoy Enjaami”, merged with oppari (element sung during mourning), is a celebration of the ancestors who toiled in the forests and gave rise to human civilization. The lyricist talks about his grandmother Valliammal, telling how she was forced to emigrate to Sri Lanka as a slave laborer on tea plantations, followed by her return to India, where she faced landlessness.

However, the EDM version of Enjoy Enjaami released by singer Dhee and DJ Snake on Spotify – which also streamed on the Times Square Billboard last year – had Arivu left out of the video. This was also condemned by many, who argued that Arivu’s erasure from his own tracks was appropriate. Frequent Arivu collaborators and industry colleagues, including Director Pa Ranjith, took to social media to question why Arivu was not given the recognition it deserved. “@TherukuralArivu, the lyricist of #Neeyaoli and singer and lyricist of #enjoyenjami, has been rendered invisible once again. @RollingStoneIN and @joinmaajja is it so hard to comprehend that the lyrics of both songs challenge this obliteration of public acclaim?” Pa Ranjith tweeted last year. Arivu was subsequently featured on the digital cover of Rolling Stone India.

Arivu, who chose not to respond to the controversy at the time, broke his silence with the recent social media post.

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

“Enjoy Enjaami” is just as political as my other works: singer and lyricist Arivu an TNM

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