The exhibition will explore the traditions and heritage of Bhangra, and the impact it has had on the growth and development of popular music culture to this day.
Bhangra, a lively form of folk music and dance, started as long as 300BC has come along way from its origins in the northern Indian state of Punjab. Traditionally used to celebrate the harvest; this rhythmic percussion based music can now be heard in all walks of life, whether its the memorable Peugeot 206 advert made famous by “Husan” the song from Bhangra Knights or the music charts where producers such as Timberland and Dr. Dre have sampled Bhangra beats in their releases.
Through images, articles, publications and music, collected and archived over the last 50 years tracing Bhangra; this exhibition aims to illustrate the origins from the Punjab to its empowering status in British Asian society today. It will explore Bhangra culture and its influence both within and outside the Asian community in the U.K. With previously unseen photographs and club flyers, rare albums, authentic instruments, awards and costumes, ‘Soho Road to the Punjab’ gives you backstage access to the unstoppable world journey through UK Bhangra music.
The exhibition, which forms part of the Greater London Authority’s INDIA NOW campaign, will consist of archive materials featuring bands, musicians, DJ’s and producers, from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s; who have played a major role in the Bhangra music industry. A great deal of these materials will be centred on the UK’s cosmopolitan cities including London, Birmingham and Manchester.
DJ San-j-Sanj, the London champion for the exhibition, who was and still is instrumental in the London Bhangra scene, says, “The Bhangra vibe in the UK grew largely out of the need of young Asians wanting to experience music that catered for their taste as a British Asian. Bhangra music in the UK at the time created a revolutionary music scene that was overlooked by the mainstream and embraced by Asians all over the globe, this scene is hotter than a Chicken Tikka Masala – another Great British Invention.” Visitors can expect to see and learn how this newly produced British Bhangra genre evolved into what it has become today.
Visitors will have access to a series of complementary education workshops relating to the exhibition in order to encourage the preservation and celebration of Bhangra.
Accompanying the exhibition will be free music workshops on Saturday 21st July, 4th Aug, 25th Aug and 8th September led by the artist Gurshuran Channa (limited places so please book early) and a one day conference on the topic of the exhibition (ticket priced £5 in advance) on Saturday 15th September Chaired by Dr Rajinder Dudrah at SOAS.