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ClassicsOnline Home » INDIA/UK Various: Bhangra Beatz
By Dirty Linen
"Bhangra Beatz is seasoned with reggae, rap, R&B, and dance music elements...The music has a driving, high-energy sound, with booming bass to spare. This is street music, amazing music, particularly if your preconceptions place rock and traditional Indian music poles apart."
By Davena Mok
Hong Kong i-Mail
There's just as much industry talk about bhangra music infiltrating the mainstream audience as there is about Bollywood movies set to play at a cinema near you one day. So what the hell is the former? Well, anyone who has ever seen a Bollywood movie will be familiar with the lengthy song-and-dance sequences which break out every 20 minutes or so during the screenplay. Based on the percussive rhythm of the dhol drum, bhangra is the music which Bollywood actors cannot resist wobbling their heads, waving their arms and swaying their hips to. Historically, bhangra is an energetic folk tradition to celebrate a farmer's harvest season. Today, however, youths across the subcontinent party on down to this fast-paced music - and even some DJs in the UK have remixed bhangra songs with reggae, rap and electronic influences. Bhangra Beatz captures the contemporary best of this music and serves as the perfect introduction to this unique genre.
What is Bhangra? Bhangra is the traditional folk music and dance of the South Asian region called Punjab, a state in the north of India that crosses into Pakistan. Originating as a celebratory part of the harvest season each year, it is widely regarded to be one of the oldest folk dances in the world - believed to have originated around the 15th century.
During the harvest, farmers would celebrate the months of hard work by dancing to the bhangra beat, the constant percussive rhythm of the dhol - a heavy bass and high treble double-headed drum, worn around the neck and played with two curved sticks or hands. The constant percussive rhythm of the dhol, entwined with the singing of traditional folk songs have allowed bhangra to last through generations.
With the 20th Century emigration of families to the west, the lilting and fast-tempo beats of the dhol has now been adopted and remixed by young South Asian DJs in places like the UK. Along with its prominence as popular hit songs in Indian (Bollywood) movies, bhangra has become the soundtrack of Indian youth culture in the diaspora. Often mixed with the sounds of reggae, rap, R&B and dance music, this fusion of the traditional and the modern has now gone international, taking its place in the global music scene with universal appeal.
With the release of Bhangra Beatz, a collaboration between the Naxos World label and one of the leading South Asian labels in UK, Kiss Records, this exciting and ingenious compilation will introduce the re-invented Indian traditional folk/dance music of the Punjab for the next generation.
Featuring some of the top acts of the scene, Bhangra Beatz is culled exclusively from the vault of Kiss Records wide and deep catalogue. Based in the English suburb of Oldham, Kiss Records is a pioneer of the modern bhangra beat since their arrival in the music world in 1991. Their Managing Director, DJ Sheikh, is a recording artist himself. His hit release, Dholaholics, was the biggest bhangra selling compilation album of 1996, while a variety of his solo artists like Kebi, Bhinda Jatt and Jazzy B have all established themselves as premier bhangra personalities.
Other groups and artists featured here Anakhi, Jassi Premi, Balbir Bittu, Balwinder Safri, Sukshinder Shinda, K.B. & The Gang, Soni and the Sahotas. Featuring eleven slammin’ tracks of Punjabi folk-fusion madness, Bhangra Beatz is guaranteed to send you into an exotic frenzy. Get ready for it.
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INDIA/UK Various: Bhangra Beatz