There is no doubt in the fact that Punjabi music is becoming the demand of Bollywood. Hits like Kala Chashma, Na Na Na Na, Saturday Saturday, Patola etc. came from the Punjabi industry. In other words, Bollywood is adapting a majority of Punjabi regional music for their industry. However, it is good for a regional singer to get a massive attention like this but is it really fair?
What Is UK Bhangra Music? How Did It Become Popular?
A lot of Punjabi artists came in the limelight while being in the foreign land. Their surroundings were not using traditional sounds which, as a result, became the key of their style. In other words, their ear for foreign sounds got developed with their knowledge of traditional sounds. That’s how the sound of the early UK Bhangra music was born. In fact, traditional sounds of Tumbi, Thad, Algoza, Dholak, Sarangi and others were fresh for the international audience. First breakthrough UK Bhangra track which became a massive hit was “Mundian Ton Bachke” by Punjabi MC and Labh Janjua. It was not the first UK Bhangra song but it became viral. Even American hip-hop artist Jay-Z sampled this song. The sound of Tumbi became international instantly.
“Tunak Tunak” by Daler Mehendi grabbed international ears as well. Another major Punjabi hit was “Kangna” by Dr Zeus. The song featured a sound of shattering glass which was used perfectly after every verse. LittleOx performed a couple of short eight-bar verses on the track and trust us, Indian audience found it amusing. His verse on the track replaced interlude sections of the song. The verse itself used chopped syllables which resulted in a unique sound. Gradually, everyone started using this same technique.
But, Dr Zeus was not the first one to use eastern and western rhythms altogether. Taz Stereo Nation is the pioneer of this sound. His album “Hit the Deck” came out in 1989 and cemented him as the pioneer of this sound forever. His album “Slave II Fusion” delivered tracks like “Nachaange Saari Raat”, “Gallan Goriyaan” made him a household name. One of his later releases, Jawani, was a fusion of reggaeton and Punjabi pop. The track featured a reggae vocal verse. This style was introduced to Indian audiences by Apache Indian back in 1991 with Chok There.
In our recent chat with Tarsame Singh Saine aka Taz Stereo Nation, he shed some light on his perspective.
I believe that the UK Bhangra scene had a huge impact on the modern Indian commercial music scene. The scene from the UK created a huge buzz around the world getting the attention of millions globally. Musically, the artists were way ahead of their time and were fusing eastern beats with western. I am the pioneer of that sound. Along with the likes of Bally Sagoo & Apache Indian. The bands in those days all had their individual sounds that set them apart from one another. This Indo-Western fusion sound influenced Bollywood and hence Bollywood started adapting the sounds/beats.
UK musicians were very innovative and experimental which gave their sound that much of an edge. Even today Bollywood is more influenced by the EDM & Grime beats that UK Musicians are using now which is why the impact of UK Music has always been at the fore front and ahead of it’s time
The Sound of Yo! Yo! Honey Singh.
While Sukshinder Shinda, Manj Musik (1/3 of RDB) and several other producers played their roles in making this style popular, Yo! Yo! Honey Singh blew away the industry differently. Honey Singh is considered as one of the most popular Punjabi music producers. His breakthrough single, Glassy with Ashok Mastie reinvented this sound. Honey started avoiding traditional percussion and his taste in instruments was different as well. In other words, Honey targeted clubs and car sound systems. Gradually, Honey adapted the UK Style of hip-hop verses in his songs but he chose Punjabi for his verses. As a result, a massive audience started to find his punchlines catchy and understandable. Bohemia is the pioneer of Punjabi rap music and was in the Bollywood way before Yo! Yo! Honey Singh but he chose to stay away from commercial business.
His sound became popular and he was introduced to Bollywood with Angreji Beat. In fact, the track was from his mixtape International Villager. Honey stepped into the industry and started fusing Punjabi sounds with EDM and electro music. It is said that artists like Badshah, Ikka, Raftaar and others have written tracks for Honey Singh in the past and were not credited. Today, they all use the same idea of using verses on a pop song which was introduced by the UK but was eventually popularized by Yo! Yo! Honey Singh.
The idea of mixing eastern and western rhythms is same till date. Artists like Sona Family, Hard Kaur, DCS, Juggy D, Tigerstyle and several others have changed the taste time to time. One can’t even mention every UK artist’s contribution in the sound. The style of sampling song which the UK was using has changed to remakes. The UK music has influenced Bollywood in several aspects and one can simply not deny that.