Various Artists: Bhangra Beatz

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Bhangra Beatz truly lies at the fringes of jazz, if one uses the standard of improvisation to classify music. This disc relies upon a heavy production aesthetic, yet the presence of live drum work as well as scattered melodic string and flute solos rescues it from the realm of pre-processed Indo-pop. Bhangra music has its roots in the annual harvest celebration of Punjab, a state at the northern border of India with Pakistan. With the influence of British beats and Western production values, this folk music crosses over from an ethnic celebration to a truly global sound.

Most of Bhangra Beatz consists of metric beats—either electronically derived or played live on instruments like the double-headed dhol drum—mixed with uplifting vocals and interlaced instrumentals. An apt comparison from the world of electronica might be the Asian Dub Foundation, which similarly combines Western beats with the distinctive rhythms and harmonies of the East. However, Bhangra Beatz betrays much more obvious and direct ethnic influences. The broad collection of artists on this disc collectively represents the stars of the genre. For the most part, the disc consists of uplifting, positive, hummable tunes with Punjabi lyrics. Perhaps more appropriate for a dance or party situation than meditative listening, Bhangra Beatz offers a unique fusion of styles, including just enough improvisation to satisfy a curious jazz listener.

Track Listing: Lok Boliyan, Ludiane Nachdi Nu, Soundz from the Des, Lak De Hulareh, Meri Maa Boli Punjabi, Aaja Billo, Dhamiwala Da Dhol, Nachde Punjabi, Doli, Sahotas Boliyan, Putt Sardaran Da.

Personnel: Surjit Singh, Pete Ware, Anakhi, Jassi Premi, Kuljeet, Balbir Bittu, Dev Thrikewala, Atul Sharma, Jazzy B, Jaggi, Sukshinder Shinda, Mukhtiar S. Heer, Balwinder Safri, Baldev Mastana, Bhota Jagpal, DJ Sheikh, Sukshinder Shinda, K.B. & the Gang, Kebi, Soni Atwal, The Sahotas, Surjit Sahota, Bhinda Jatt, Jandu Litranwala.

Title: Bhangra Beatz | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Naxos


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