Drop And Give Me Bhangra …trustworthy reviews of new music releases in the bhangra world.
In the newly released album ‘Project:BHANGRA’ we get to know Dipps Bhamrah the artist. Otherwise more commonly recognised through his father KS bhamra’s legendary music in Apna Sangeet, here we gain an insight of this quirky talent through his own production.
Firstly, hats-off to Dipps Bhamrah for making a commendable album that is neither commercially-driven, nor all-out traditional. Although as a whole it is not as striking as it could be, the approach is clearly rooted in Dipps Bhamrah’s Apna Sangeet days. As soon as I pressed play, I could feel that the album definitely has a 90’s bhangra vibe going on, which is really refreshing. There are a lot of instruments being used that aren’t used as much in bhangra any more, for example you can hear a lot of banjo throughout the album, as well as old-school samples placed here and there.
The album as a whole touches on a variety of styles, kicking off with ‘123 boliyan’, a track that shows good production, but I felt was let down by the lyrics. The album then plunges into a range of romance and wedding tracks.
Musically this album is produced to a promising standard, yet I feel some of the vocals have let the tracks down. KS Bhamrah sounds raw and way more appealing when contrasted to the vocals of Jatti Cheed and Amby Sagoo. I don’t know whether the change in dynamics is deliberate, but it does give the impression that none of the singers are meant to overwhelm KS Bhamrah’s contribution, although Dipps Bhamrah should be applauded for using less well known artists. Obviously KS Bhamrah on the album was a great choice, with his deep controlled voice projecting words clearly and smoothly, but singers such as Amby Sagoo on the boliyan track just didn’t have the same edge which would have made it more vocally entertaining.
The more popular songs on the album have to be ‘Tu Nachdi’ and ‘Punjabi Lions’ but I think the star song publicly is ‘Mr Makhana’. The response to this song was favourable, in no small part due to the come back of KS Bhamrah in what was a friendly, family video.
Listening through the album, I was on edge waiting for that banger track, yet ‘Tu Nachdi’ was the only real offering of this sort. ‘Punjabi Lions’ touched on the new mainstream hip-hop style which is becoming more prominent on the scene, but it feels as if it might be missing something. The song ‘Pyar de Sahare’ has good technical production, but doesn’t sit right in the album. It’s a shame because musically it works and the lyrics impress throughout the whole song. Other songs in the album would be ideal for wedding functions as they sound great for family occasions. Overall, if ‘Project:BHANGRA’ is a building block for Dipps Bhamrah, it’s a solid one as he is still learning his craft so i’m sure we will see him at his best in the future.
And what should we expect from that future? Hopefully more tracks that showcase his vast bhangra knowledge and skillset. In the mean time, his youtube page and video blogs are a must view. They show his journey through out the creation of this album which makes you appreciate how much hard work producers put in to get a finished product. Dipps Bhamrah’s comical and entertaining commentary brings a smile to the face, plus you get to see him working along side his father, where you see a hilarious father-son relationship transport to on screen.
Jati Cheed is a British-Asian vocalist from the Midlands who was trained by Meena Kumari in classical Indian music from the age of 15. He has an expansive and versatile vocal range and has been playing the keyboard since the age of 10.
Malkit Bhulla A cultural singer from my home town of Hoshiarpur who is not well known in the UK, but has a great background in Punjab and sings traditional cultural songs.
Amby Sagoo is a 22 year old Punjabi Folk Singer whose passion for music developed in an early age. His first recording was based on Punjabi culture and was highly appreciated and praised.
Surinder Laddi is a well-known Punjabi artist renowned for his romantic melodies. It’s evident from a lot of his music that he comes from a more classical background than most artists.
Garry sandhu At the young age of 12 in Punjab, Garry was given an enduring spiritual platform to start his journey into music. After moving to Birmingham in the UK, his passion for singing was reinvigorated, initially performing at private functions, where his natural ability to sing live effortlessly was clearly evident.
This track was the official introduction of Gurbej Brar onto the bhangra scene. Not enough people know about this track. Too many people think the first time they heard Gurbhej Brar was in ‘Hai meri maa’ but no! On the surface it seems to be a simple fabrication of a track, but underneath it’s a gripping hard-core desi track. Led by the dhad and sarangi, it draws the listener in, the pulsating beat kicking in followed by the subtle bassline all adding to the enjoyable listen. ‘Kaali Gani’ provides classic bhangra energy all encased in a truly unique way. The production is rich, it has great percussion and is neatly composed. The layering of the track is strong and it shows off the beautifully formulated melodies. For those who have this song, go and give it another listen and for those who haven’t, you need to go and buy the whole album immediately!