Kuljit Bhamra joined an acclaimed list of key figures, from sporting heroes, scientists, activists, politicians and dignitaries in being awarded a Doctorate in Music. He was joined by TV Newsreader Moira Stewart; Sir Ian Botham and Human Rights Activist Shami Chakrabarti in being presented his award.
Kuljit was presented with his distinction by the Chancellor of Exeter University, Floella Benjamin, herself an actress, presenter, writer and broadcaster.
Speaking of the honour Kuljit said,
“I am delighted that my music has reached people of all backgrounds and ages and that I have been able to share my passion and creativity with the world.
My father had a dream that I would one day become a Doctor and now at last he can call me one!”
Kuljit has composed and produced over 2,000 songs and is responsible for the rise to fame of numerous Bhangra and Bollywood stars.
He has worked, both independently and collaboratively, on film scores for over ten years, including the soundtrack for the award winning Bhaji on the Beach, A Winter of Love, Bend it Like Beckham and his music has also appeared on The Guru, The Four Feathers and, more recently, Alexander, Brick Lane and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory.
Kuljit also worked on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Bombay Dreams as on-stage percussionist, and then went on to write the Indian music for the West End musical The Far Pavilions. Other theatre productions include Deranged Marriage, Lion of Punjab, Hansel & Gretel, The Snow Queen, The Ramayana, Laila Majnun and King Cotton.
He was the last Artistic Director of The Society for the Promotion of New Music before its merger and renaming to Sound & Music – the first British Asian to hold this post in its 60-year history. Kuljit spearheaded innovative projects such as Bhangra Latina and a new tabla notation system. His cutting-edge work earned him the prestigious award of MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list 2009. The citation reads ‘For Services to Bhangra & British Asian Music’.
His brainchild ‘The Southall Story’ is a project celebrating the contribution of the under-acknowledged community in Southall to arts, music, poetry and literature.
Kuljit is currently creating a Chutney music band to perform original works inspired by the people of the Indo- Caribbean.
The Southall Story Exhibition will open at the Dominion Centre, Southall on Vaisakhi- 13th April until the end of May 2011.