A to Z of Bhangra
Bhangra is the cultural folk music from Punjab, its roots can be traced back to the 1400's. The dancing to Bhangra is traditionlly associated with the harvest festival of Bhaisakhi where farmers celebrated the fruits of their labour. Today however, Bhangra is no longer restricted to Punjab. The upbeat contagious rhythms of this melody of punjabi heritage have spread themselves to nearly every land with extreme energy and popularity. With the heart pounding beats of the dhol, Bhangra is an uncontrollable pandemonium on dance floors around the globe. The rhythmic beat of the dhol makes even the most humble want to jump out in excitement and wave their arms like they just dont care. Bhangra is slowly, but surely becoming an epidemic of popular dance and without the inclusion of it, there is no party!!!
Asa Singh Mastana
If its folk you want, then folk is what you get from this banda. A golden oldie is this guy, yep the one who brought "bale ni Punjab diye sher bachiye" and "Koh Koh lamme waal" to your grandpa's hi fi system back in the days when the ABBA was big.
This instrument belongs to Punjabs woodwind family, I don’t know how, but whenever accompanied by the dhol it makes you wanna get outta the rocking chair and dance.
Formerly known as Apna Sangeet, the boys from Soho Road utey, fronted by KS Bhamrah and Sardara Gill the lads have been rocking pinds around the world with their hits. They first hit the bhangra scene alongside Tarlochan Singh Bilga as part of Bhujungy Group. Since then they have come a long way with many hit albums and top bhangra tracks such as Mera Yaar Vajavey Dhol. Even after all these years Apna Group still have one of the best live acts.
The boys with the purely nachURAL touch have been hitting the bhangra scene with albums such as PAnach, SIGnachURE and nachURALLY. Their first hit "Lakh noo Halaa de" from their first album hit the dancefloor like a bomb. They went on to prove they weren't one hit wonders by producing an album a year for seven consecutive years.
Fronted by Channi the man made famous by his white scarf. A band which tends to provide a more sophisticated edge to the bhangra scene. The production qaulities, music, lyrics and singing add a unique touch to punjabi music.
With his album "Teri Chunni De Sitaray" released in 1982 on the Multitone label Alaap took the bhangra music scene by storm at a time when bhangra was still in its early days in the UK. With their firm track record they have come to be known as the pioneers of Bhangra....roood bwoyz!
The shotgun wielding Californian King has two releases in as many years. The gentle jatt was originally born in punjab, but spent most of his teenage years in California, his singing career blossomed when he began singing alongside his brother Khesar(KC), who plays the dhol, very well in fact.
Bhota, Jassi and Bally, born and raised on the streets of Handsworth, Birmingham have caused a stir on the bhangra scene. They say their sound has been inspired by Chamkilla. They came from nowhere and have produced two beja beja albums, yep its true, good things usually hit you when you least expect them to. Just be warned, they've got another storm of an album being produced as we speak, all set to hit the streets later this year.
The remix master, having mastered the bhangra scene with classic remixes "RaggaMuffin Mix", "Star Crazy" etc he hit the bollywood scene and produced the hit album Bollywood Flashback. Hes like a baloon which never bursts, just gets bigger and better. Then came the top 40 chart hits "Tum Bin Jiya" and "Dil Cheez" ( ok, ok, It wasn’t bhangra, but it was by our Bally), as if all that isnt enough he even backed Michael Jackson on the Indian leg of the Hisory tour. Now hes back on Bhangra territory with the release of "Star Crazy 2".
Their first major hit "Bhabiye Akh Larr Gayee," which was released in the early seventies. What a badoo track it is!! A classic. Even getting airplay on the Apache Indian Show on BBC Radio 1, the foremost radio station in the UK. It was actually one of the first song in which modern western musical instruments were used along with traditional Punjabi instruments. As a band, Bhujangy proved to be a momentous step for punjabi music and for future aspiring artistes in the UK.
Is he still alive? The Tupac of Bhangra. His unique style won the haerts of a global audience
An artist with strong powerful lyrics, charisma and a style that brought out the home truths of Punjabi culture. His tracks were mega hits the world over, but perhaps to a niche market of listeners. Influences of Chamkila were and still are heard in songs performed by some current popular punjabi artists.
Mehndi has become a major name not just in Punjab, but all over India, with his music known as Bhangra Pop and tracks such as "Bolo Ta Ra Ra" and "Ho jayegee Balle Balle". He has made the sound of Bhangra a craze amongst many non-Punjabis in Mumbai. He is the first Punjabi artist selling up to 250,000 units in places such Kerla (a state in the South of India), where hardly anyone understands the Punjabi language....wat a nuttah!!!
Where would Bhangra be without the dhol ?
The percussion instrument central to the bhangra movement. Their may be many dholi's around these days, but it has been truely mastered by only a few. Shaam laal, kakoo from Punjab and our very own Johnny from Alaap and Gurcharan Mall are the real life dhol blasters. The dhol consists a heavy bass end and a high treble end. Different sounds and patterns are derived by playing each skinned side. The result is various rhythms of a strong and danceable nature. Majority of the Bhangra beats are normally a 4/4 time signature.
Kings of the "Punjabi Dance Nation". What more do I have to say.......?
Just when you thought it was safe to get back to the dancefloor they hit us with this lethal album. Put together DCS's albums are a cocktail of powerful trax, not only musically, but the lyrical content is jolly marvelous!brrrrraaahh.
He has carved his name into the echoes of punjabi heritage.
He kicked off in 1982 with his first album Dil Da Mamla. Since then he has become an idol for many, not only for his musical talent but, also his his acting ability. His acting career really took off after his role in the punjabi film "Long Da Lishkara." This film included the mega hit CHALLA, recently remixed by Punjabi MC on his album Legalised. Since '82 Gurdass Mann has released a number of hit albums, performed at sell out concerts around the world and recently released the track Apna Punjab, a hugely popular track. It has achieved much acclaim worldwide and to many peoples ears has become an all time classic. Gurdass Mann, The Legend lives on....
Bhangra's sister. This just so happens to be Punjab's most famous folkal dance for women. In Giddha, the women enact verses called bolis through choreographed dance. The subject matter of these bolis include everything from events at home which are put into a comical context to political affairs. The dance rhythm is set by the dhol and the distinctive hand claps of the dancers.
Kicking off at the age of 11, Harjinder built up a foundation layer of musical creativity by learning to play the harmonium and Dholak at the local Gurudwara. While most kids were out playing football and busy watching TV, HSB dedicated himself to the notes of melodic vibes.Well what can I say apart from the fact this mans talents can be likened to a modern day Mozart. The creator of musical masterpieces which will remain classics for generation upon generation to come. What kind of hits am I talking about, well hits such as Chan Meray Makhna (Get Real, Safri Boys) and Independent Girl (Apache Indian and Malkit Singh). Being in show-business for over fifteen years, HSB has become a renowned name in the industry for his talents as music composer, arranger, director, mixer and producer !!!!
Hans Raj Hans
If bhangra was a country, this guy would be treated as royalty. Mesmerising audiences with his persona and the power of his speech. His music is universally appreciated by all ages.
Heera…Heera…Heera….Kumar and Dhami fronted one of the most popular bands of the 80's. I remember wedding receptions these guys played at were often gatecrashed by fans. The dynamic duo created a storm with their kicking album "Diamonds" rleased in the 80's. It was one of the first bhangra albums which managed to successfully combine Western drums and synths with traditional punjabi instruments. All coming with a little helping hand from their main man Deepak Khazanchi.
Punjabi traditionalist. Hugely popular in punjab with hits such "Chitiye ni Chitiye". (Keeps the Jalundhar massive happy.
A transatlantic superstar. The boy wonder originally from NamaSher in Punjab has been in big demand the world over ever since he launched his career as a singer in '92. Having sold over 55,000 copies of folk and funky he has become Supertone's leading artist. His vocal style has been likened to Manak. A damn fine artist is what I say.
A legend in his own right. He has come to represent the ultimate punjabi folk music icon. He symbolises the essence of punjabi culture with regards to its history and people.
Manak was raised into a musical family, his old man was a Hazuri Ragi (singing priest) in the gurudwara’s in Nabha near Patiala. Manaks first release was in 1968 when he was just 14 yrs old entitled "Jija akhian mapio ma kal di kuri", let me know if any of you out their have got a copy.
Kang, AS Kang
The Kangsta. After a break from his early work his killer boliyan ensure the dancefloors are rammed. You know when you've been kanged.
Having been in the industry for over 20years he is known as the "big daddy". During his career he has worked with top producers such as Bally Sagoo and Charnjit Ahuja who secured the release of hits such as LAMBRAN DI NOU NACHDI and ASHIQ TERA. He has written most of the boliyan on his albums himself, pretty impressive huh. His recent releases have featured Kang shocking the masses with outbreaks of swing, techno and dance music being pumped into his more traditional folkal vocals.
Coventry can now safely put itself on the bhangra map thanks to the man PMC. It was his third album (100%Proof) which really proved how capable this gentlemen was at destroying woofas (speaker pahr dithey). Since then he has continued to use classic traditional folk Bhangra from legendary artists such as Kuldip Manak and Surinder Shinda and cleverly blend it with hip hop beats and haert pounding bass. His most recent project "legalised" is another firing release from the lad....look out for his forthcoming album-Steel Bangle.
Waris has stuck firmly to the traditional scene. His albums have been more popular amongst the pindoo type of bhangra fan such as thyself. However many of his tunes have been given the remix treatment and still come out tops. Recently he toured the UK alongside Hans Raj, together they put on one hell of a show.
Malkit? hey.....whos he? The don of all dons. The dude with the sequined pugh has been on the scene for over a decade now and has produced some classic hits. Not only in the UK, but all around the world the golden boy has been collecting award after award for his talents as a top-class bhangra act. On stage he is in a league of his own.
Pardesi Music Machine
Lead by two leaders the pardesi tribe split into two. One lead by Silinder Pardesi and the other by Bhota. Once upon a time they created the great masterpiece of an album "Pump up the Bhangra", having gone their own way Bhota is now eating the wallpaper while Silinder has been gearing himself towards the new generation of listeners with his latest project Exposure, which features an interactive CD ROM(a first for Bhangra).
The Southall boys were made famous by the glittery shirts they wore in the 80's, not forgetting Tina oh Tina and Nachdi di Guth Khul gaye(whoops).
The latest sensation to hit the punjabi music front.
In punjab responsible for the hit album Tere Viah da Card and the awesome track "Sooniya si too passport banwaliah"- Kitta si Gareeba naal piar. On this side of the world his tunes have been remixed to appeal to ajj kall de kidz. Bally Jagpal done this guy wonders on his album Live and Direct with Putt Sardara De. Mani's greatest inspiration is qouted as being Gurdass Mann. Besides the hot 'n happenin mixes featuring Mani which have been hitting the record shops, he prefers singing more emotional trax as seen on his releases in Punjab. Look out for his next release on Kismet records entitled "more Mani"!!!
Made it big wid that Dupatta track you all know so well. With the aid of his lyricist Samsher Sandhu he has been releasing a lot of badoo material.
The original Putt Jatt Da has been roaming the bhangra scene for a number of years. As well as doing some great sound tracks for Punjabi films such as "putt Jattan De" he has been putting his husky voice into good use with top tunes like "pabban vich paon bhangray". He became a favorite amongst punjabs truck drivers with his rood bwoy smash hit "yaaran da truck".
Gives strong vocals to classic tracks. Over the last few years Safri has reaped tremendous success around the world, through both live and recorded performances. His releases to date have served to highlight Safri's vocal versatility. His latest offering comes in the form of ECLIPSE 2 released on the Kamlee Records label.
On a crusade to take bhangra from strength to strength. Nicknamed Mr.Bhangra in the industry he has been the musical genius behind some of todays top albums, including all of Jazzy B's albums and several of AS Kangs releases. He also has several albums to his name including Dhol Beat, The OG's and recently Men of Respect.
The queen of Bhangra in the UK, with seven albums to date. Her biggest hit was probably the firing track "piar ka hai vairi", yep that track responsible for setting dancefloors ablaze up and down the country.
Kicked of his career as Manaks sidekick on stage many years ago. Since then he has done very well for himself, his best album to date probably is "Hussna de Malko" although he has had hits with tracks such as Tor Punjaban Di and the smash hit "Mitra Noo Marr Gaya". Sardool is an extremely talented vocalist. He is expert at impersonating other top punjabi vocalists (the preciseness at which he does this is scary) as can be heard on the track "Road Vech Di Lorry" on his latest album "Sardool on a Dance Tip".
A true gabroo punjab da has still to make a more forceful impact on the UK bhangra scene, his track "Rangla Punjab" was a huge hit in North America and Punjab.
Is for Tumbi
Dhols best friend. The one stringed magical instrument mastered by the masters such as Chamkilla and Manak, creates a stir wheneva its fired up.
Is for Vaisakhi
April 13th. Celebrated by sikhs around the world as the birth of the Khalsa Nation (see the Vasakhi 98, website) as initiated by Dashmesh pita Shri Guru Gobind Singh ji. Also celebrated by punjabis as harvest.
Also for XLNC, another cool band to hail from the midands.