Saturday, August 12, 2006

DJ Shakes_2006-08-12 (Bhangra 101)
theme: bhangra 101

Due to popular demand this week's mix is a Bhangra 101. What I tried to do was capture a bit of the evolution of bhangra music in recent years from the old school vocals + drum to the modern variants that have hip hop influences and MC'ing. It's gotten to the point where in some senses it's starting to go back to the original roots a little. An interesting parallel can be made with hip hop which is becoming almost too overly ornamented and has seen some people revert back to an old school style. But I digress.

Now this Bhangra 101 mix is truly my own interpretation of various forms of the genre. I'm certain that I'm missing out on some major things, but hey I'm not even Punjabi, I'm Maharashtran. As a quick recap, bhangra music hails from the Punjab in North India where it was a harvesting dance. While it's had a long line of performers I think it's pretty fair to say that the modern remix and bhangra scene basically started up in the UK with Bally Sagoos in the early 1990s. In general the UK has the most progressive bhangra scene. Until about 5+ years ago, most of the people who seemed to like bhangra outside of those in North India were kids in England and America. It really didn't seem to be tremendously popular for most other parts of India.

Elitest musical commentary aside, one of the most noteworthy things about bhangra music is that the parts that make you want dance the most are NOT when the drums is beating the fastest, but rather during the breakdowns where the pace gets cut down significantly. It's somethinge everyone hears and responds to, but I don't think you really consciously think about it too much. I'll demonstrate at the beginning of the mix.

T R A C K L I S T I N G (approx 72 min)
[0:00] Intro - Shakes
[2:24] DJ Sanj - Tenu Blondee (UK)
[4:49] XLNC - Kuriya Nu Puchdee Pira (old skool)

[8:48] Sangeta - Pyar Ka Hai Bairi (old skool)
[12:45] Dalvinder Singh - Nachdey Punjabi (hip hop)
[16:30] Sabi - Ek Kuri (traditional vocals + garage beats)
[20:37] Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam - Dholi Taro Dhol Baaje (bollywood)
[26:06] Daler Mehndi - Saade Dil Te Chhuriyan Chaliyan (pop bhangra)
[29:14] RDB - Boliyan (UK)

[32:37] Sukhbir -Gal Ban Gayee (modern)
[36:06] L. Hassanpuri vs. DJ Sanj - Das Ja (modern remix)
[38:59] Rama & Bally Sagoo - Mera Laun Gawacha (classic)
[43:48] Sukshinder Shinda (feat HMC) - Soni Lagdi (half traditional/half modern UK)
[46:39] SR1 - Tappe
(traditional vocals + garage beats)
[50:14] Sardool Sikander - Phulkari (traditional)
[54:34] The Safri Boys - Long Chamkada
[58:56] B21 -Darshan (modern)
[63:54] Outro - Me (timeless)
[64:17] Malkit Singh vs Bally Sagoo - Guru Nalon Ishq Mitha (classic)
[68:14] RDB - Ranjhana (ballad)

That being said What's followed after that can be broken into some rather broad themes:
  • pop bhangra, like Daler Mehndi (which every hardcore bhangra person shudders at),
  • bhangra remixing of Hindi songs (e.g. Bally Sagoo)
  • The influence of MC's rhyming over traditional bhangra beats...
  • ...and the opposite move of traditional vocals over garage/hip-hop/dhol & bass beats
  • the increased use of vocodors
  • The mixing of hip-hop songs with bhangra on bootleg vinyl and cd's...which more often than not tends to be Jay-Z acapellas mixed onto bhangra and spliced with female vocals. On a sidenote most of the "Indian sounds" you hear on hip hop songs is less of a bhangra story and more of an Indian music hitting the mainstream (re: exploited) story... just throw on some breathy female treble piercing vocals, and a sitar, and presto!
  • bhangra songs appearing in Bollywood films in recent years (which you never really saw before, which further cements my claim that it really wasn't more than a regional musical genre in India for a long time)
...And then there's Panjabi MC's "Mundian To Bach Ke" which may be on the verge of being the most overplayed song since Happy Birthday. The fact is any ABCD can tell you that the song was overplayed before the Jay-Z mix in 2003. The song was originally released in 1998 (remember this year for the next paragraph) and any person who claims that the song wasn't overplayed clearly never attended any Indian function, Independence Day parade, party, or any gathering of desis between 1998-2003.

It is a terrific song, for sure and pulling in the Knight Rider bassline is wicked, but was it original? Not at all. Instead desis everywhere have none other than Busta Rhymes to thank. Say what? No one seems to remember that Busta Rhymes sampled the Knight Rider bassline first in "Turn It Up (Fire it up!)" in.... 1998. So PMC's remix may just be a case of a bhangra remix song stealing the beat from a hip-hop song....

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Anonymous said...


Jo darr gaya
samjho marr gaya

Shakes said... demand, i provide...

Shwetha said...


i'm touched..

(dont ask where :P)

Vikram Narwal said...

Hi Shekhar,
I liked the slow build up around the 16th minute of your mix...

the entire mix especially the last 6 minutes were exceptional.

You pretty much nailed it, even though your not Punjabi !!

Kal said...

Hello Mr. Shakes

Nice Mix..... :)

Since summer is coming to a close soon and school is getting ready to start. Just wondering if you can mix up an "Old School" mix. Just a thought / request.

Talk again soon Kal.

Shakes said...

hey much thanks for the props Vik, I really appreciate it. Shweta, as always your comment slightly scares me.

Kal thanks for listening as always. Your comment is very timely because what I had been thinking of doing along the lines of an old skool mix was doing west coast hip hop songs from back in the day... just like stuff from growing up basically. so if you have a suggestion for a song i should make sure I include lemme know. 2pac and Digital Underground will be in the hizzo...and you can't forget Ice Cube...

Kal said...

JJ Fad-supersonic, Sir Mix alot, sheila E, anything goes as long there is some Bass. Have fun with it and take your time making it.... :)

Talk again soon.

rashmi said...

and informative.
the "101" series is quite good.