Pop music: Bollywood Beatz bites back at The Blue Note

Apache Indian, Jazmann, Jyoti Mishra. Remember them? No. It is not surprising. In the last 10 to 15 years there haven't really been many Asian artists who have broken into the mainstream, or captured the imagination of clubbers and gig-goers. Is it that Asian dance music isn't cool? Is it because Asian dance music just conjures up images of twangy sitars, wailing vocals and Crispian Mills out of Kula Shaker? The fact is that Asian artists haven't been taken seriously until now. Their music is all to often marginalised (by the music press) by being categorised as "underground", when in fact its influence has crossed over to a variety of mainstream bands and artists.

A number of Asian artists have successfully worked with mainstream bands and artists: Cornershop are currently on tour with Oasis in America; DJ and producer Talvin Singh have worked with the likes of Bjork, Neneh Cherry, Massive Attack and DJ Pathaan completed a 15-date tour last year with that "Little Wonder" himself, David Bowie.

DJ Pathaan is currently hosting the "Swaraj" nights at the Blue Note, as well as launching an independent label of the same name on 2 February. These nights showcase the best of young Brit-Asian DJs, who combine the latest hip-hop, drum 'n'bass, ambient and dub loops to create a refreshing musical sound on a par with the likes of Spiritualised or the Propellerheads. According to DJ Pathaan: "The Swaraj nights are trying to steer away from the Sounds of the Asian Underground label. It has often been the case that Asian dance music has been categorised as `second-generation', or called `Bollywood Beatz', which is a bit patronising, to say the least." Pathaan is aware of these labels, but he is not deterred.

"The underground label was very marketable, but anyone can see beyond that now."

Pathaan is not the only Brit-Asian DJ who is doing something to dispel the stereotypical image of Asian dance music. In 1994, Shabs Jobanputra set up his own record label, Oucaste, in order to release records by young Asian musicians: "As a label, we aim to be a cultural force that makes sure that Asian people get the props they truly deserve." So far, Brit- Asian DJs such as Ritu, Badmarsh, Mo Majik, Shri, Aref, and Nitin Sawhney feature on his label, as well as doing a monthly night at the Notting Hill Arts Club. Sawhney, like Talvin Singh, has achieved mainstream success with appearances at Glastonbury, Respect, Womad festivals, and Later with Jools "boogie woogie" Holland. His sets are impressive, combining Indian classical music with flamenco, dub, ambient, ghazals, tumbi and sarod sarod. This depth and variation can be attributed to his influences, which include the Mahavishnu Orchestra, John McLaughlin and Courtney Pine. Sawhney is currently working on an album which, according to Shabs, is going to be "big", along with the Outcaste record label itself, which has just struck a deal with Tommy Boy records.

With new record labels being set up by Brit-Asian DJs, outside interest expressed by corporate record labels, and successful weekly and monthly club nights, the Asian dance music scene seems to be flourishing. Far from remaining "underground", it is definitely going "overground".

Sabuhi Mir

Outcaste , 8pm-1am, Notting Hill Arts Club, 21 Notting Hill Gate, Notting Hill Gate Tube, pounds 5 (pounds 4 concs). Monthly from 31 January (details, 0171- 460 4459).

Swaraj, 9:30pm-3am, The Blue Note, 1 Hoxton Square, Old Street Tube, pounds 5 (pounds 3 concs). Every Monday (no entry after 12:30am).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you familiar with the sayin...

    Recruitment Genius: Hospitality Assistant

    £6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker

    £6 - £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most