DJ Dal

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UK Bhangra vs India Bhangra

Why are we playing more songs originated from India compared to the music composed in the UK?


Bhangra is an integral part of the British culture. Punjab was composing a lot of Folk Punjabi music which sounded very similar. However, this soon became replaced by Bhangra, which was established in the 1970’s. Immigrants from Punjab took their folk music and began to experiment with modern instruments.

This new genre of music soon became very popular in the UK. This was the time when up and coming artists were experimenting with their identity, culture, and being inspired by British rock music infusing and creating a unique sound. Now, a lot of immigrants and the first generation of British-born children could confirm their Indian identity through the power of music. During the 1970s where racism was prime, the Bhangra music removed the alienation and created a positive identity of Bhangra uniting and affirming the Punjabi culture.

In fact, over 30,000 cassettes were sold in a week in the UK, outselling a lot of British artists.

As Bhangra music was growing so was the Punjabi community. From men traveling to set a future for themselves to settling down with families.

So, what did this mean? weddings!

During the 1970’s-1990’s live bands were becoming sell-outs they were the talk of the town, sensational and brought the community together. Artists performed on tours and weddings. It wasn’t a wedding without a live band! Fast forward, to the 1990’s and 2017, came the DJ’s. The live bands phased out. There were many reasons but Bhangra was being composed not of bedrooms as they were before but studios now, worldwide, more money invested, the sound was computerised, the sound was and is being experimented with modern technology.

No doubt at today’s wedding and parties the last hour or 30 mins is ended with old school music and still today 30, 40 years later the music sounds so fresh and the dance floor is packed with the sounds of Heera, Alaap, Premi, Safri boys Malkit Singh, B21 and much more!

But why aren’t we hearing more of them? Could it be sound, budget, lyrics?

When Juggy D came onto the British Asian music scene he brought a new sound and vibe infusing British pop with Bhangra. Youngsters enjoyed this genre and the lyrics because it was an infusion of the western culture. But then the rise of Punjabi artists came along. Through YouTube, talent shows in India a lot of lyricists, composers were shining through.

“I have been DJing for years the crowd definitely prefers the sound of Desi beats and lyrics as well as old school anthems.”

Artists like Roshan Prince, Geeta Zaildar, Miss Pooja, Ranjit Bawa, Sharry Mann, Diljit Dosanjh and much more were discovered through the power of social media.

Now, audiences love music which makes sense, which has a story a good beat. Not a song which is based in a club hired cars which were becoming a British trend with the same reused beat. Bhangra/Punjabi music from India has been experimenting with a lot of sound and styles. Even so listeners today prefer to hear music which is traditional rather than with a remix or rap. Listeners are more engaged and glued to their Punjabi identity and culture than ever before and artists mentioned above have helped youngsters stay in touch with their roots, whether it be through their music or videos. A lot of artists like Manmohan Waris and Gurdas Mann promote entertainment and roots through the power of music, therefore Punjabi music from India is setting the scenes at weddings.

Every week there is fresh music being released compared to the UK Bhangra scene. Now, collaborations are done! We are thankful to producers like TruSkool who set a new sound with working with artists like Diljit giving listeners a combination and the best of the two worlds connecting people on the dance floor.

We want to know what are your thoughts about the music scene?

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