Bhangra was born sometime between the 14th and 15th centuries and is now regarded to be the one of the oldest folk dances in the world. Originating from the state of Punjab, split between India and Pakistan, Bhangra is the culmination of the hard season of harvest when farmers celebrate by singing and dancing to Bhangra songs and beats and thanking the heavens for what rich grain they have reaped. The music and dance was also performed during sewing celebrations.In the early 1980s, Punjabi expatriates living in Great Britain developed it into a British musical genre. In this era, the dhol – the double barreled drum banged with two sticks – is the foundation of Bhangra events world-wide, whether it be a live stage performance or the recording of the latest Bhangra song. no Bhangra event can do without it!
Bhangra and its modernized sound still retains its classic and raw elements but also utilizes the modern instrumentation of music and language, producing Bhangra songs that can appease any type of audience.
This hybrid of traditional Indian music fused with a range of Hip-Hop, Reggae, Rap, R ‘n’ B, and Pop beats gives it a more universal sound and appeal – drawing in a wider array of fans. With the constant hard-hitting dhol beats and tumbi strings leading the way for the vocals, Bhangra songs portray a whole plethora of emotions tempting the listener to throw their arms in the air and make tracks towards the dance floor.
The hi-energy beats and the contagious rhythms of Punjabi melody continue to spread themselves to a global audience as the music keeps traveling to shores further and further afield. The up-tempo vibes of the music and the panache of the artists continue to popularize this music genre which is rapidly making Bhangra an essential and integral part of global musical culture.
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Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.