Origins of UK Bhangra and the role of the Indian DJ

Bhangra music originated from the Punjab region, northern India. It was often used to celebrate the time of harvest, dancing and singing to sounds of the ‘dhol’ drum. Now Bhangra is played extensively at Asian Weddings as part of Indian Wedding Entertainment. The rise in popularity of the Indian Wedding DJ in the UK has meant that Bhangra has become part of the fabric of British Culture. Indian DJs and Producers incorporate mainstream hip hop beats into their music which has infiltrated the mainstream. Massacre Sounds have a great understanding of Bhangra Music and boast a very large database of music ranging from the 70’s to the present.

In the UK, Bhangra came to light in the 1980’s. It was derived from Punjabi folk songs but was   altered when immigrants and British Indians reinvented it into a more contemporary sound. Massacre Sounds’ Asian Wedding DJs play Bhangra music, relying on the strong beats to inspire traditional dancing. The popularity of Bhangra music both for Indian wedding entertainment and in the mainstream market is huge.

Indian Wedding Entertainment dancefloors into the mainstream

In the 1980s Bhangra labels such as Multitone Records were selling over 30,000 cassettes a week in the UK. Indian Wedding Dj’s took this opportunity to spread the sound of Bhangra. This was perhaps the golden age lasting from 1985 – 1993. During this time the first Bhangra boyband called the Sahotas was formed by 5 indian brothers from Wolverhampton. Other Groups and Artists who have played a huge part in UK Bhangra Music is Bhugangy group, Malkit Singh, Heera, Apna Sangeet, DCS, Premi, Alaap, Azaad, Bally Sagoo, PMC, Tigerstyle, Aman Hayer, Sukshinder Shinda, B21, Jaz Dhami to name a few. Malkit Singh status as one of the great Bhangra artists in the UK was assured when he was awarded an MBE by the Queen for his services to music.

Artists celebrated by Indian DJs

The late Bindrakhia was perhaps the first international star of Bhangra and another artist who’s songs are also favorites with Asian Wedding DJs, his first international breakthrough song was Dupatta Tera Sat Rang Da in 1995, Massacre Sounds advise this is still in very high demands at events today. Some Great International Artists who have played a huge part in Bhangra Music over the years Gurdass Mann, Chamkilla, Kuldip Manak, Hans Raj Hans, Jazzy B, Diljit, Harbhajan Mann, Miss Pooja.

UK Bhangra has now developed into a high energy hip hop dance music genre which as well as being the mainstay for Punjabi DJ’s for Indian Wedding entertainment has also firmly established itself in mainstream Hip Hop. Western artists often use samples, adding different beats and instruments to traditional hip hop music. Examples can be heard in Missy Elliot’s track ‘Get Your Freak On’ and from artists including Jay Z, Fugees. One song which took the whole world by storm was “Mundian To Bach Ke” produced by PMC and the vocals of Labh Janjua. This track put Bhangra on the musical map. Whilst Bhangra artists are equally important in spreading the influence of Bhangra, Asian Wedding Djs such as Massacre Sounds have kept the music alive across private events, clubs, weddings and into the minds of their listeners. Today there are a number of  TV Channels dedicated to Bhangra Music and Radio Stations which provides a great platform for new artists and the future of Bhangra music