Friday, February 6, 2009

Love this Trend: South Asian Music Fusion

I saw Slumdog Millionaire recently and really loved the movie.  It was a creatively narrated, heartbreakingly honest look at life for the poor in India.  Incredibly, some of the most beautiful panoramic scenes were of impossibly massive piles of garbage on which children slept and played. Just amazing.  But even better was the soundtrack, a mix of well known South Asian-fusion tracks like M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" with upbeat Indian pop dance tunes.   In the last few years, I, like the rest of the world have slowly been introduced to this new sound of fusing South Asian dance and folk music with hip hop, electronica and alt-rock.  I do not claim to be any sort of expert at all but am sharing here with you some of my favorites.

Sri Lankan born British music genius who burst onto the scene in 2004.  Both her CDs Arular and Kala are excellent.  Her sound is a really unique, socially conscious mix of rap, electronica, Bollywood.  Some of my favorite tunes are "Jimmy", "Galang", "10 Dollar" and of course "Paper Planes".

British based multi-culti band that burst onto the scene back in the late 1990's with the extremely catchy song "Brimful of Asha".  Their first CD When I Was Born for the 7th Time was a perfect blend of Indian music and alterna-pop.  Then they came out with another CD in 2002 called Handcream for a Generation but then disappeared from the music scene after that, supposedly after a feud with Morrissey (everyone knows not to mess with the King of Sappy Whiny Indie Pop).  I wish they had stayed around a bit longer.

Probably one of the pioneers of fusing Indian dance music with hip hop, DJ Rekha runs one of the more fun, successful party in NYC nightlife called Basement Bhangra.  She didn't come out with her debut release until recently but it's perfect for those who loved the Punjabi MC mashup with Jay-Z in early 2000's.  Check out her Basement Bhangra Anthem and you'll know what I mean.

Bend It Like Beckham Movie Soundtrack: One of my favorite movies and soundtracks.  It's got Indian version covers of "Hot, Hot, Hot"...what's not to love!  

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