Drop And Give Me Bhangra …trustworthy reviews of new music releases in the bhangra world.

‘Traffic Jam’ is a single release by vocalist Raju Dinehwala and producer Popsy and has been out now for a fortnight. This collaboration has been coming for a while, but does it continue to showcase Popsy’s impressive production skills that we last heard on Jazzy B’s ‘Naag 2’?

This is a song which starts with some pomp, automatically drawing listeners into the rippling rhythm. But from there on awaiting the build up to the chorus, I was a little let down by the tone and music which stays the same. Despite the chorus and verse lacking distinction, the song is quite catchy and the production is rich. Popsy is well known for his polished recordings and you can really hear each instrument pop out of the music. He does very well to neatly weave the standard samples into the strong sounds of the mandolin and dhad, making it a defined mix of Punjabi folk with sharp modern beats.

Yet the song does become a little repetitive after a while. Other than the title and the introduction nothing really stands out from the song, but that doesn’t make it much less likeable. Popsy has made the track work very well overall, with a simple formula that gets you tapping your foot to the beat. So far the song has received good feedback although it hasn’t been promoted heavily, limiting the number of people who have heard it.

Raju Dinehwala is a UK singer with strong vocals. His introduction to the music industry was with the well known track ‘Jatt Di Dushmani’ followed by his recent single ‘Saadeh Mooreh Aah Keh’. Vocally he has a strong voice and is suited to the song. His pronunciation is on point and he has potential to last as a singer. Time will tell as he plans to release more songs over the next few years.

But what are we expecting from Popsy as a producer. The music machine as he is known has many aspirations for the future and has already become well known in many countries. He is looking to collaborate with more singers and has many new releases on the way. Credit goes to him for aiming to strengthen the musical foundation of the bhangra movement in the UK and to take his musical story one step further.

Popsy began playing the keyboard when he was 12. His musical journey started when he was at university in Birmingham where he was introduced to Ambi Bilga, Jazzy B’s manager. Bilga who was also managing Eshara at the time introduced Popsy to Meshi, the lead singer of the band, who along with Jazzy B and Sukhshinder Shinda visited him at his Halls of Residence. Popsy started to play keyboards for Eshara and as time went on joined Shinda and Jazzy B’s live act too. Shinda spent a lot of time with Popsy teaching him about music production which was a massive learning curve but led to his first album and the start of his career as a producer.
The video reflects the song really well and will promote the track further when it is seen more on television. Shot in Punjab, the video shows parts of village life and the traditional sport of kabbadi. I love how it does that as it’s rare to see Punjabi activities like these in music videos. Raju Dinehwala looks suave in his black kurta and matching khunda portraying a very desi video, which is better than the typical club video. The only strange element is the dancers in the background because throughout the video you can’t tell whether they are a bhangra, Bollywood or hiphop act!
Words cannot describe the legacy and musical phenomenon that is the artist in this reviews ‘Blast from the Past’. When most people think of Kuldip Manak, they remember the popular songs he sang such as ‘Tere tille ton’ or ‘G.T. Road’, but I urge people to dig deeper into his catalogue as you can find songs just as entertaining and touching, if not better. ‘Mirza Yaar Bulaonda Tera‘ is a beautiful song about the epic of Mirza Sahiba. Manak’s outstanding vocals accompanied by the beautiful mandolin bring the story to life, sending shivers down the spine. It is an under-rated track in today’s over-populated market, yet if you give it a listen it will soon become a favourite in your play list. Released in 1980, it is a song where Manak’s vocals, the lyrics and the music combine to surpass songs of recent times.