Bhangra dance performance in 2010.

Bhaṅgṛā (Punjabi: ਭੰਗੜਾ (Gurmukhi), بھنگڑا (Shahmukhi),; pronounced [pə̀ŋɡɽaː]) Bhangra is a form of music and dance whose origins lie the traditions of the Punjab region of the sub-Indian continent. Originally a harvest celebration dance, it developed in England during the 1980s into its proper and modern form. It draws from both classical and folk music of the Punjab region of Un-partitioned India as well as various Western influences. It is a widely practiced cultural activity by Indo-Canadians.

Bhangra, also refers to a form of dance. It was initially used as a celebratory folk dance which heralded the coming of spring, or Vaisakhi, as it is known.Following the partition of India different regions of the country began to mix and interact sharing their different forms of Bhangra. The end result was a hybrid being created which incorporated the many different styles of the unique act.

Bhangra also refers to a folk dance. Bhangra dance began as a folk dance conducted by Punjabi farmers in 11th century to celebrate the coming of the harvest season. The specific moves of bhangra reflect the manner in which villagers farmed their land. This hybrid dance became bhangra. The folk dance has been popularised in the Western world by Punjabi musicians[1] and is seen in the West as an expression of South Asian culture as a whole.[2] Today, Bhangra dance survives in different forms and styles all over the globe – including pop music, film soundtracks, collegiate competitions and cultural shows.


Bhangra Music (1986-1994)

The pre history of Bhangra music dates back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, when several Punjabi bands from the United Kingdom set the stage for bhangra to become a form of music instead of being just a dance. Some of the earliest bands were The Shots/The black mist (1967), The Jambo boys (1968), Kalapreet (1969) and The Saathies (1970). The success of many bands based in the United Kingdom created a fanbase, inspired new artists, and found large amounts of support in both Pakistani and Indian Punjab where bhangra music imports from the UK created an alternative to Punjabi folk singers in the rural areas and Hindi film music in the cities. These artists, some of whom are still active today, include, Heera Group, Alaap band, Chirag Pehchan, Apna Sangeet and The new pardesi music machine. This period of bhangra prosperity lasted until 1994 when the introduction of the folk dhol drum and electronic dj looped sampling caused most bands to either dissolve or morph into Punjabi folk singers albeit keeping the band name.

Live concert by bhangra band Alaap

In the 1980s (Big Bhangra)

Bhangra music was invented in the 1980s by Punjabi Immigrants who took the folk sound of their home country and began experimenting by altering it using instruments from their host country. In a sense Bhangra music is one of the few immigrant music genres of the world in that it is absent in the home country. The new genre quickly became popular in Britain replacing Punjabi folk singers due to it being heavily influenced in Britain by the infusion of rock sounds and a need to move away from the simple and repetitive Punjabi folk music. It signaled the development of a self-conscious and distinctively rebellious British Asian youth culture centred on an experiential sense of self, e.g., language, gesture, bodily signification, desires, etc., in a situation in which tensions with British culture and racist elements in British society had resulted in alienation in many minority ethnic groups, fostered a sense of need for an affirmation of a positive identity and culture, and provided a platform for British Punjabi males to assert their masculinity.[3][4][5][6]

In the 1980s, distributed by record labels such as Multitone Records, Bhangra artists were selling over 30,000 cassettes a week in the UK, but not one artist made their way into the Top 40 UK Chart despite these artists outselling popular British ones; most of the Bhangra cassette sales were not through the large UK record stores, whose sales were those recorded by the Official UK Charts Company for creating their rankings.[7]

The 1980s is also what is commonly known as the golden age, or what the "bhangraheads" refer to as the age of bhangra music, which lasted roughly from 1985 to 1993. The primary emphasis during these times was on the melody/riff (played out usually on a synthesizer/harmonium/accordion or a guitar); the musician/composer received as much fanfare, if not more, than the vocalist.[citation needed] The folk instruments were rarely used, because it was agreed that the music was independent of the instruments being used.[citation needed]

This era saw the very first bhangra boy band, called the Sahotas, a band made up of five brothers from Wolverhampton, UK. Their music is a fusion of bhangra, rock and dance.

One of the biggest bhangra stars of the last several decades is Golden Star UK. Its lead singer Malkit was born in June 1963 in the village of Hussainpur in Punjab. He attended the Khalsa College, Jalandhar, in Punjab in 1980 to study for a bachelor of arts degree. There he met his mentor, Professor Inderjit Singh, who nurtured his skills in Punjabi folk singing and bhangra dancing. Due to Singh's tutelage, Malkit entered and won many song contests during this time. In 1983, he won a gold medal at the Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab, for performing his hit song "Gurh Naloo Ishq Mitha", which later featured on his first album, Nach Gidhe Wich, released in 1984. This album, created with the aid of one of bhangra's greatest musicians, Tarlochan Singh Bilga, was a strong hit among South Asians worldwide. The band has toured 27 countries. Malkit has been awarded the prestigious MBE by the British Queen for his services to bhangra music.

The group Alaap, fronted by Channi Singh, the man made famous by his white scarf, hails from Southall, a Punjabi area in London. Their album Teri Chunni De Sitaray, released in 1982 by Multitone, created quite a stir at a time when bhangra was still in its early days. This album played a critical role in creating an interest in bhangra among Asian university students in Britain[citation needed]. The music produced for Alaap included the pioneering sounds by Deepak Khazanchi[citation needed].

Heera, formed by Bhupinder Bhindi and fronted by Kumar and Dhami, was one of the most popular bands of the 1980s[citation needed]. Fans were known to gate-crash weddings where they played[citation needed]. The group established itself with the albums Jag Wala Mela, produced by music maestro of the time Kuljit Bhamra, and Diamonds from Heera, produced by Deepak Khazanchi, the man behind the new sound of UK bhangra, on Arishma records. These albums are notable for being amongst the first bhangra albums to mix Punjabi drums and Punjabi synthesizers with traditional British instruments successfully.

Bands like Alaap and Heera incorporated rock-influenced beats into bhangra, because it enabled "Asian youth to affirm their identities positively" within the broader environment of alternative rock as an alternative way of expression. However, some believe that the progression of bhangra music created an "intermezzo culture" post-India's partition, within the unitary definitions of Southeast Asians within the diaspora, thus "establishing a brand new community in their home away from home".[8][9]

Several other influential groups appeared around the same time, including The Saathies, Premi Group, Bhujungy Group, and Apna Sangeet. Apna Sangeet, best known for their hit "Mera Yaar Vajavey Dhol", re-formed for charity in May 2009 after a break-up.[10]

When bhangra and Indian sounds and lyrics were brought together, British-Asian artists began incorporating them in their music. Certain Asian artists, such as Bally Sagoo, Talvin Singh, Badmarsh, Black Star Liner, and State of Bengal, are creating their own form of British hip-hop.

This era also brought about bhangra art, which, like the bhangra music it represented was rebellious and unlike anything that ever came out in the Indian subcontinent. Unlike folk music art, which simply consisted of a picture of the folk singer, Bhangra recordings had distinctive artwork, logos, clever album names, band/musician listings (who played what) and other details that raised the level of professionalism to a level that had never been seen in Bollywood recordings or folk recordings from Punjab.

In the 1990s (Bhangra, true multicultural genre)

Bhangra took large steps toward mainstream credibility in the early 1990s, especially among youths. Gen X bands like The new pardesi music machine, Sahotas, Achanak, and Anamika were moving away from the older gen staples of performing in weddings and community events. Their attempts at bringing bhangra music to the western audiences were bearing fruition as they were playing some of the top venues.

Bands like Canada's Punjabi by Nature as well as Sahotas were pushing the frontiers of Bhangra by going outside the usual realm of performing at community events or events marketed to Ethnic Indians. According to Tony Singh, singer/songwriter in PBN, "I wanted to take sound and culture out. There are other bands-Punjabi bands, bhangra bands, but they still play within the community. To me, that's great, but those bands aren't really useful for showing ourselves to other communities, to say, hey, we're Punjabis and we're damn proud of it. I don't think they [other communities] would know. They would never know. So, to Punjabi by Nature, playing in our own community is not a big deal. I think the challenge is to get out."[11]

Mid 1990s (Folk Backlash)

At the mid nineties, however, many artists returned to the original, traditional folk beats away from bhangra music, often incorporating more dhol drum beats and tumbi. This time also saw the rise of several young Punjabi folk singers as a backlash to bhangra music. They were aided by Djs who mixed hip hop samples with folk singing to create folk's answer to bhangra.

Beginning around 1994, there was a trend towards the use of samples (often sampled from mainstream hip hop) mixed with traditional folk rhythm instruments, such as the tumbi and dhol. Using folk instruments, hip-hop samples, along with relatively inexpensive folk vocals imported from Punjab, Punjabi folk music was able to abolish bhangra music.

Pioneering DJs instrumental in the destruction of bhangra were Bally Sagoo and Punjabi MC. As Djs who were initially hired by bhangra labels to remix the original recordings on the label's roster (OSA and Nachural respectively), they along with the record labels quickly found that remixing folk singers from India was much cheaper than working with bhangra bands (outsourced). mus A pioneering folk singer that was instrumental in bhangra's demise was the "Canadian folkster", Jazzy B, who debuted in 1992. Having sold over 55,000 copies of his third album, Folk and Funky, he is now one of the best-selling Punjabi folk artists in the world, with a vocal style likened to that of Kuldip Manak.

Other influential folk artists include Surinder Shinda - famous for his "Putt Jattan De" - Harbhajan Mann, Manmohan Waris, Meshi Eshara, Sarbjit Cheema, Hans Raj Hans, Sardool Sikander, Anakhi, Sat Rang, XLNC, B21, Shaktee, Sahara, Paaras, PDM[disambiguation needed ], Amar Group, Sangeet Group, and Bombay Talkie. A DJ to rise to stardom with many successful hits was Panjabi MC.

By the end of the 1990s, Bhangra music had been wiped out and replaced with Punjabi folk singers. The same folk singers bhangra bands had replaced a decade earlier were being utilized by DJs to make relatively inexpensive non live music on laptops. This "folkhop" genre was short lived as records could not be officially released due to non clearance copyrights on samples used to create the "beat". This "poor man's bhangra" continued until the end of the century. Folkhop record labels such Hi Tech were investigated by BPI (British Phonographic Industry) for copyright infringement by way of uncleared samples on releases by Folk Djs such as Dj Sanj[12]

Two folk singers that had a big role in killing bhangra were Surjit Bindrakhia and Amar chamkila.

In 2010, the story of how bhangra arrived and developed in the UK was told in the stage musical Britain's Got Bhangra, produced by Rifco Arts. The show was the first ever bhangra musical, with much of the show in Punjabi, making use of the live dhol, dholak and tabla throughout, and has traditional folk melodies as well as an original score by Sumeet Chopra with crossovers into pop, rap and R&B. The production had its world premiere at Theatre Royal Stratford East in May 2010 and went on a UK Tour[citation needed]. Another major tour is expected in 2011[citation needed].

Bhangra Dance

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Bhangra dance is based on music from a Punjabi folk drum, folk singing, a single-stringed instrument called the iktar, the tumbi and the chimta. The accompanying songs are small couplets written in the Punjabi language called bolis. In Punjabi folk music, the dhol's smaller cousin, the dholki, was nearly always used to provide the main beat. Nowadays, the dhol is used more frequently. Additional percussion, including tabla, is less frequently used in bhangra as a solo instrument but is sometimes used to accompany the dhol and dholki. This rhythm serves as a common thread that allows for easy commingling between Punjabi folk and reggae, as demonstrated by such artists as the UK's Apache Indian.[3][13]


Bhangra tournament concert

Bhangra has developed as a combination of dances from different parts of the Punjab region. The term Bhangra now refers to several kinds of dances and arts, including Jhumar, Luddi, Giddha, Julli, Daankara, Dhamal, Saami, Kikli, and Gatka.

  • Jhumar, originally from Sandalbar, Punjab, comprises an important part of Punjab folk heritage. It is a graceful dance, based on a specific Jhumar rhythm. Dancers circle around a drum player while singing a soft chorus.
  • A person performing the Luddi dance places one hand behind his head and the other in front of his face, while swaying his head and arms. He typically wears a plain loose shirt and sways in a snake-like manner. Like a Jhumar dancer, the Luddi dancer moves around a dhol player.
  • Women have a different and much milder dance called Giddha. The dancers enact verses called bolis, representing a wide variety of subjects—everything from arguments with a sister-in-law to political affairs. The rhythm of the dance depends on the drums and the hand claps of the dancers.
  • Daankara is a dance of celebration, typically performed at weddings. Two men, each holding colorful staves, dance around each other in a circle while tapping their sticks together in rhythm with the drums.
  • Dancers also form a circle while performing Dhamal. They also hold their arms high, shake their shoulders and heads, and yell and scream. Dhamal is a true folk dance, representing the heart of bhangra.
  • Women of the Sandalbar region traditionally are known for the Saami. The dancers dress in brightly colored kurtas and full flowing skirts called lehengas.
  • Like Daankara, Kikli features pairs of dancers, this time women. The dancers cross their arms, hold each other's hands, and whirl around singing folk songs. Occasionally, four girls join hands to perform this dance.
  • Gatka is a Punjabi Sikh martial art in which people use swords, sticks, or daggers. Historians believe that the sixth Sikh guru started the art of Gatka after the martyrdom of fifth guru, Guru Arjan Dev. Wherever there is a large Punjabi Sikh population, there will be Gatka participants, often including small children and adults. These participants usually perform Gatka on special Punjabi holidays.

In addition to these different dances, a bhangra performance typically contains many energetic stunts. The most popular stunt is called the moor, or peacock, in which a dancer sits on someone's shoulders, while another person hangs from his torso by his legs. Two-person towers, pyramids, and various spinning stunts are also popular.[14]


Traditional men wear a chaadra while doing bhangra. A chaadra is a piece of cloth wrapped around the waist. Men also wear a kurta, which is a long Indian-style shirt. In addition, men wear pagadi (also known as turbans) to cover their heads.

In modern times, men also wear turla, the fan attached to the pagadi. Colorful vests are worn above the kurta. Fumans (small balls attached to ropes) are worn on each arm.

Women wear a traditional Punjabi dress known as a salwar kameez, long baggy pants tight at the ankle (salwar) and a long colorful shirt (kameez). Women also wear chunnis, colorful pieces of cloth wrapped around the neck.

These items are all very colorful and vibrant, representing the rich rural colors of Punjab.[15] Besides the above, the bhangra dress has different parts that are listed below in detail:

  • Turla or torla, a fan-like adornment on the turban
  • Pag (turban, a sign of pride/honor in Punjab). This is tied differently than the traditional turban one sees Sikhs wearing in the street. This turban has to be tied before each show.
  • Kurta, similar to a silk shirt, with about four buttons, very loose with embroidered patterns
  • Lungi or chadar, a loose loincloth tied around the dancer's waist, which is usually very decorated
  • Jugi, a waistcoat with no buttons
  • Rumāl, small "scarves" worn on the fingers. They look very elegant and are effective when the hands move during the course of bhangra performance.


Bhangra lyrics, sometimes sung in the Punjabi language and sometimes in English, generally cover social issues or are about love as opposed to Punjabi folk lyrics which generally are devoted to promotion of the caste system, alcohol and khanda abuse. Additionally, there are countless bhangra songs devoted to Punjabi pride themes and Punjabi heroes. The lyrics are tributes to the rich cultural traditions of Punjabi Immigrants of various parts of the world such as sub saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America etc. . In particular, many bhangra tracks have been written about Udham Singh and Bhagat Singh. Less serious topics include beautiful ladies with their colorful duppattas.

Bhangra singers do not sing in the same tone of voice as their Southeast Asian counterparts. Rather, they employ a high, energetic tone of voice. Singing fiercely and with great pride, they typically add nonsensical, random noises to their singing. Likewise, often people dancing to Bhangra will yell phrases such as hoi, hoi, hoi; balle balle; chak de; oye hoi; bruah (for an extended length of about 2–5 seconds); haripa; or ch-ch (mostly used as slow beats called Chummer/Jhoomer) to the music.

One famous bhangra or Punjabi lyricist is Harbans Jandu (Jandu Littranwala), who has written famous songs such as "Giddhian Di Rani". Another famous bhangra lyricist is Rattan Reehal (Rurki wala rattan).


Many different Punjabi instruments contribute to the sound of bhangra. Although the most important instrument is the tumbi, dhol, sarangi, keyboard, bhangra also features a variety of string and other drum instruments.

The primary and most important instrument that defines bhangra is the drumset. The drumset is a collection of drums, played by beating it with two sticks - as well as pedals played with foot (bass end) and snaar (treble end).

The string instruments include the guitar (both acoustic and electrical), bass, sitar, tumbi, violin and sarangi. The snare, toms, dhad, dafli, dholki, and damru are the other drums. The tumbi, originally played by folk artists such as Lalchand Yamla Jatt and Kuldip Manak in true folk recordings and then famously mastered by chamkila, a famous Punjabi folk singer (not bhangra singer), is a high-tone, single-string instrument. It has only one string; however, it is easy to master. The sarangi is a multi-stringed instrument, somewhat similar to the violin and is played using meends, its more complex and difficult to master than the tumbi. The sapera produces a beautiful, high-pitched stringy beat, while the supp and chimta add an extra, light sound to bhangra music. Finally, the dhad, dafli, dholki, and damru are instruments that produce more drum beats, but with much less bass than the dhol drum.

The keyboard and guitar are the most important melodic instruments used in bhangra, with even the sitar being used on certain albums.


With unskilled tumbi and dhol players, bhangra today has evolved into a largely beat-based music genre, unlike until 1994, when it was slightly more mellow and classical. Pandit Dinesh and Kuljit Bhamra were trained exponents of Indian percussion and helped create the current UK sound, albeit mainly with tabla and dholki for bands like Alaap and Heera. The generation that followed became overly dependent on folk music.

Talented 15-year-old percussionist Bhupinder Singh Kullar, aka Tubsy, of Handsworth, Birmingham, created a more contemporary style and groove that seemed to fuse more naturally with Western music. Songs such as "Dhola veh Dhola" (Satrang) and albums such as Bomb the Tumbi (Safri Boyz) contained this new style and were very successful.

Then came Sunil Kalyan of Southall, London, who also sessioned on many songs and albums. He added a smoothness and sweetness never heard before on the tabla, hailing him as one of the best tabla players in UK bhangra.

Sukhshinder Shinda later introduced his unique style of dhol playing with the album Dhol Beat. He added a very clean style of dhol playing and helped create the sound for artists such as Jaswinder Singh Bains and Bhinda Jatt. He was regarded at the time as the best dhol player in UK.

Another influential percussionist was Parvinder Bharat (Parv) of Wolverhampton, who for many years had been percussionist for DCS' his style, speed and improvisational skills were second to none. Parv also introduced playing the dholak and tabla top end (dhayan) with great effect into the live bhangra scene, a style that has been adopted by most bhangra percussionists ever since.

Also came to attention, the talented & sensational percussionist Aman Hayer who had learned quiet a lot instruments from his father "Avtar Singh Hayer" from a young age and has also played instruments "live" to thousands of people since the mid 90's (with 80's Amar Group from Leamington Spa) to date. Hayer is also known to be Ustad Sukshinder Shinda's student as he learned Tabla from him back in days, also Hayer learned to play Dhol from one of the World's best Dhol Players; "Lal Singh Bhatti Ji" who stayed at their house for few months and encourage Hayer to take steps towards the industry slowly, slowly. Hayer is known with his nickname "Littranwale da Dhol" which indicates whenever it's played, it's for sure to shake the ground as he is; Mr. Groundshaker.

Other important percussionists include Juggy Rihal of Coventry, and Billy Sandher of Gravesend.


Punjabi folk remixed with hip hop, known lovingly as folkhop, is most often produced when folk vocals are purchased online to be remixed in a studio. Folk vocals are usually sung to traditional melodies, that are often repeated with new lyrics.

Many South Asian DJs, especially in America, have mixed Punjabi folk music with house, reggae, and hip-hop to add a different flavor to Punjabi folk. These remixes continued to gain popularity as the 1990s came to an end.

Of particular note among remix artists is Bally Sagoo, a Punjabi-Sikh, Anglo-Indian raised in Birmingham, England. Sagoo described his music as "a bit of tablas, a bit of the Indian sound. But bring on the bass lines, bring on the funky-drummer beat, bring on the James Brown samples", to Time magazine in 1997. He was recently signed by Sony as the flagship artist for a new sound. The most popular of these is Daler Mehndi, a Punjabi singer from India, and his music, known as "folk pop". Mehndi has become a major name not just in Punjab, but also all over India, with tracks such as "Bolo Ta Ra Ra" and "Ho Jayegee Balle Balle". He has made the sound of bhangra-pop a craze amongst many non-Punjabis in India, selling many millions of albums. Perhaps his most impressive accomplishment is the selling of 250,000 albums in Kerala, a state in the South of India where Punjabi is not spoken. His song "Tunak Tunak Tun" (1998) also became an internet phenomenon across the world.

Toward the end of the decade, bhangra continued to slow down, with folkhop artists such as Bally Sagoo and Apache Indian signing with international recording labels Sony and Island. Moreover, Multitone Records, one of the major recording labels associated with bhangra in Britain in the 1980s and 1990s, was bought by BMG. Finally, a recent Pepsi commercial launched in Britain featured South Asian actors and Punjabi folk music. This, perhaps more than anything else, is a true sign of the emergence of Punjabi folk into popular culture.

Cultural impact

The interpretation of bhangra must exist in the space where Asian, and UK cultures meet. There is an expressed concern that oversimplification of the genre by outsiders is detrimental to the music's message, but artists are responsible for how they express their music's content as well.[16] In "Bhangra's Ambassador, Keeping the Party Spinning" from the New York Times, DJ Rekha is conscious of her cultural accountability to her music.

Bhangra followers often feel that the music is an expression of identity. As the movement gains momentum, bhangra music has also gained international recognition. "Asian fusion is a melding of the sounds of the sub-continent with hip-hop beats and R&B influences, and it's no longer destined to be tucked away in the World Music section of your record store," says Ashta Mehta.[17]

In North America

Punjabi immigrants have encouraged the growth of Punjabi folk music/rural music in the Western Hemisphere instead of bhangra music. The bhangra industry has not grown in North America nearly as much as it has grown in the United Kingdom. Indian Lion, a Canadian folk artist explains why:[citation needed]

The reasons there's a lot of bands in England is because there's a lot of work in England. In England the tradition that's been going on for years now is that there's weddings happening up and down the country every weekend, and it's part of the culture that they have Bhangra bands come and play, who get paid 1800 quid a shot, you know. Most of the bands are booked up for the next two years. And England is a country where you can wake up in the morning and by lunchtime you can be at the other end of the country, it helps. In Canada it takes 3 days to get to the other side of the country, so there's no circuit there. And it isn't a tradition [in Canada] to have live music at weddings. There are a few bands here that play a few gigs, but nothing major.
—Indian Lion

However, with the emergence of North American (non bhangra) folk artists such as Manmohan Waris, Jazzy Bains, Kamal Heer, Harbhanjan Maan, Sarabjit Cheema, and Debi Makhsoospuri and the growth of the remix market,[18][19] the future of Punjabi folk music in North America looks good.[citation needed]

In 2001, Punjabi folk, and its hip-hop form, folkhop, began to exert an influence over US R&B music, when Missy Elliott released the folkhop-influenced song "Get Ur Freak On". In 2003, Punjabi MC's "Mundian To Bach Ke" ("Beware of the Boys") was covered by the U.S. rapper Jay-Z.[20] The great popularity of these two tracks led to an even greater usage of Punjabi folk in American music. Additionally, American rapper Pras of The Fugees has recorded tracks with British alternative bhangra band Swami. Because the original Punjabi folk beat is different from the commercialized version we see today, the use of bhangra beats shows the complexity and ingenuity of hip-hop in North America and how artists gain inspiration from all different genres of music. The commercialization of Punjabi folk and the way it has traveled around the world speaks to the versatility and longevity of the musical style.[8]

Bhangra, the dance, has also expanded into the world of fitness. Fitness instructors like television host Sarina Jain have developed fitness routines based on bhangra dance moves for their workout programs.[21] Bhangra Empire, a bhangra dance group from California, has appeared on America's Got Talent and in Harper's Bazaar.

Bhangra dance competitions

Bhangra competitions have been held in the Punjab for many decades. However, now universities and other organizations have begun to hold annual bhangra dance competitions in many of the main cities of the United States, Canada, and England. At these competitions, young Punjabis, other South Asians, and people with no South Asian background compete for money and trophies. For example, Bruin Bhangra in Los Angeles has become one of the biggest bhangra competitions in the nation. Teams from all over United States and Canada come together to compete and show their talent. Every year, Bruin Bhangra also invites different well-known Punjabi singers. SoCal Bhangra's past list of artists includes RDB, Manak-e, Sukhshinder Shinda, Jassi Sidhu, KS Makhan and Malkit Singh.

2010 was the first year for Elite 8 Bhangra Invitational, in Washington, D.C. This event invited eight of the top teams from North America to showcase their routines and compete for the number one spot. Virginia Commonwealth University of Richmond, Virginia, was crowned champion. Sonay Gabroo Punjab De (SGPD) from Toronto, Canada took the title in 2011.[22]

In the West, unlike in the Punjab, there is less emphasis on traditional songs and more focus on the flow of a mix; an easy example of this is a team such as Da Real Punjabis, which is notorious for mixing traditional bhangra music with hip-hop or rock songs. This synergy of the bhangra dance with other cultures parallels the music's fusion with different genres. University competitions have experienced an explosion in popularity over the last five years and have helped to promote the dance and music in today's mainstream culture.

In the UK, the first ever major bhangra competition, The Bhangra Showdown,[23] was organised by students from Imperial College London and held on 1 December 2007. The competition was held at Indigo2 in the O2 in Greenwich and was attended by over 1000 people. Kings College London won the inaugural Bhangra Showdown, followed by Brunel and Imperial College. All proceeds from this show were donated to two charities, Wateraid and The Child Welfare Trust, and the show looks to continue on an annual basis. The show was held once again on 31 January 2009 at the Sadler's Wells Theatre, with proceeds going to the MND Association and The Child Welfare Trust, and was attended by around 1,500 people. Six universities took part: Imperial, Queen Mary's, Kingston, Brunel, Birmingham and Leicester/DMU. Birmingham came in 3rd place, Imperial came a very close 2nd, and Queen Mary's took 1st place. This was followed by another sell-out show at London Palladium in January 2010, with crowds of around 2400, where Imperial won, followed by Queen Mary and Barts in second place and Brunel in third. Most recently, the 4th Bhangra Showdown was held at HMV Hammersmith Apollo on Saturday, 5 February, featuring 10 teams (Imperial College, Kings College, UCL & LSE, Manchester, Brunel, Kingston, Birmingham, Queen Mary and Barts, Leicester and St Georges). The number one spot went to Birmingham, followed closely by Imperial in 2nd place. They performed in front of yet another sell-out crowd of 3500.

Relation to other Indian dance forms

Bhangra can be related to Assam's Bihu dance performed during Bihu festival. Magh Bihu is associated with farming, as the traditional Assamese society is predominantly dependent on farming. Parallels between bhangra and bihu can be drawn from the fact that the merriments for both of these music forms involve characteristic overtones with dances along with the enthralling beats of percussive musical instruments. Moreover, both bihu and bhangra involve high-energy dance moves and sequences with young dancers in colorful clothing and the folk music played with the dhol. Both music/dance varieties, though having the similar themes, are distinctly different and have their proper origins in the respective regions of Punjab and Assam Valley.

See also


  1. ^ Bhangra History
  2. ^ Social control and deviance: a South Asian community in Scotland. Ashgate. Retrieved 2007-11-03. "The whole institution of the Bhangra and its related processes are clearly an expression of Indian/Pakistan culture in a Western setting." 
  3. ^ a b Sharma, Sanjay. "Noisy Asians or 'Asian Noise'?" In Disorienting Rhythms: The Politics of the New Asian Dance Music
  4. ^, a composer of bhangra music
  5. ^
  6. ^ / Arts & Weekend - What's right with Asian boys
  7. ^ - Bhangra Videos, Punjabi Songs, Punjabi MP3s
  8. ^ a b Sharma, Sanjay. "Noisy Asians or 'Asian Noise'?" In Disorienting Rhythms: The Politics of the New Asian Dance Music, ed. Sanjay Sharma, John Hutnyk, and Ashwani Sharma, 32-57. London: Zed Books, 1996.
  9. ^ The Discontents of the Hyphenated Identity: Second Generation British Asian Youth Culture and Fusion Music
  10. ^, Bhangra superstars choose Sona Web
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Apache Indian
  14. ^, Roy Anjali Gera; "Bhangra in the Global Bazaar"
  15. ^ Baisakhi Dress, Bhangra Dress, Gidda Dress, Dress for Baisakhi Festival
  16. ^ Sharma, Sanjay. "'Noisy Asians' or 'Asian Noise?'" In Disorienting Rhythms: The Politics of New Asian Dance Music. 32-57.
  17. ^ BBC - Birmingham Music - Bhangra Birmingham
  18. ^ (2006) Study: Digital music market sees 'remarkable growth
  19. ^ Katz, Michael (2008) Recycling Copyright: Survival & Growth in the Remix Age (pdf-format)
  20. ^ American Bhangra - History of American Bhangra
  21. ^ Tillin, Louise (2003-10-06). "Diwali comes to Manhattan". BBC News. Retrieved 31 December 2008. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ The Bhangra Showdown Official Website

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bhangra — Tänzerinnen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bhangra — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Es una música y danza originaria de la región de Panyab (norte de la India y Pakistán) Siendo el resultado de mezclas de distintos bailes antiguos de la región, se popularizó por los agricultores en la fiesta anual… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Bhangra —   [indisch, bɑȖgrɑ], traditionelle Volksmusik und tanzform aus der Punjab Region im Norden Indiens, die unter dem Einfluss angloamerikanischer Discomusic (Discosound) Ende der Siebzigerjahre zunächst in Indien zur Grundlage eines gleichnamigen… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Bhangra — Danseuses du bhangra Le bhangra est un style de danse et de musique indienne provenant de la région du Panjâb. Il s est développé dans la communauté indienne et pakistanaise vivant au Royaume Uni. Elle est exécutée pour célébrer des occasions… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • bhangra — bhan·gra (bŭngʹgrä ) n. 1. A Punjabi dance music traditionally performed during harvest festivals and weddings, characterized by the beating of a large, two headed drum. 2. A popular style of music combining traditional bhangra drumming with… …   Universalium

  • bhangra — [[t]bæ̱ŋgrə[/t]] also Bhangra N UNCOUNT Bhangra is a form of dance music that comes from India and uses traditional Indian instruments …   English dictionary

  • bhangra —    The term ‘bhangra’ describes the traditional agricultural folk music of the Punjab, but has come to be applied to all modern Asian pop music. It began in the UK in the late 1970s, but is still rooted in traditional folk songs. Its rhythms have …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • Bhangra — see bhangra …   English dictionary

  • bhangra — [ bα:ŋgrə] noun a type of popular music combining Punjabi folk traditions with Western pop music. Origin 1960s (denoting a traditional folk dance): from Punjabi bhāngrā …   English new terms dictionary

  • bhangra — /baŋˈra/ (say bahng rah) noun a style of South Asian pop music developed in the 1980s and incorporating elements of Punjab folk music. Also, bhangra music. {Hindi bhamgṛā, from Punjabi} …   Australian-English dictionary

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