14 January 2006

bhangra

Since seeing Gurinder Chadha's wonderful riff on Austen, Bride and Prejudice, I've been enjoying exploring Indian and, especially, Punjabi pop music, one major genre of which is called "bhangra." Through my university, for a nominal fee, I am able to get access to unlimited streaming RealRhapsody audio, which contains a wide variety of music, classical and popular, western and world.

Bhangra is Punjabi in origin, growing out of mostly Sikh folk music traditions designed to celebrate harvest time. As the music evolved into a more urban context and was cross-pollinated with western pop music devices (synthesizers, guitar, hip hop), it took on its contemporary form. Nevertheless, it retains a joyous festive edge, with a spirited beat and raucous vocals.

It's very difficult not to like even though my lack of proficiency in Punjabi means I don't understand a word of it, except for the occasional song in English.