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.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Health & Safety Consultant

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic and exciting opport...

    Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

    £14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

    Guru Careers: Financial Controller

    £45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

    Day In a Page

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Attwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
    Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

    Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

    David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
    Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

    Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

    A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic