BOMBAY, India: Britain’s young Asians are creating exciting new styles of pop music, and a wider British audience had a chance to hear some of its top exponents during a five night programme at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA).

A blend of traditional Indian thythms and Western electro pop was performed at the Punjab Pop and the Bhangra Beat Week at the ICA from June 30 to July 4.


Some of the featured bands regularly give concerts in Britain and overseas and sell vast numbers of records to Asian communities, while remaining largely unknown to British buyers of mainstream pop music records and cassettes. Notable among the Indian pop group is Alap, a 10piece band that began performing in 1977 at temples and weddings. They have since become popular, touring North America and Africa and releasing five record albums, of which three became best sellers. Another major group is Heera whose vocalists, Kumar and Dhami, have as their heroes America’s Elvis Presley and Britain’s Tom Jones.


Bali and his group have been established London performers for 15 years, and have also toured Europe and Africa, singing in five languages: English, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, and Swahaili. At its ICA concert the group performed with the popular Indian female singer Bina.


The five-day London festival focused the spot light on some of the talented new generation of Indian Bands. Masti, for example, began performing only in 1986, often at weddings and parties. They are influenced by two contemporary Western pop stars from Britain and Michael Jackson of America.

Holle Holle was formed in 1986 by ex-Alaap singer Manjeet, the band’s distinctive use of modern pop techniques and traditional Punjabi settings has made a major impact on Britain’s Asian music scene.

Meanwhile Apna Sangeet, the London based pop group is in India to record an album and give performance in Bombay and Delhi. Himmat Singh, the manager of Apna Sangeet, the Punjab pop group says their music is “luring the third generation Punjabis”. The Punjabi pop has come to town.

Article extracted from this publication >>  July 31, 1987