As the wedding season in the UK is coming to its end this summer, Our blogger Junaid thought it would be good to touch this subject and also because there are so many people discussing this matter.
There is never a single week that goes without at least one song released from the British Asian music scene, in fact there are some days when half a dozen people decide to release their music! Some of the music is real quality, in some releases there is a room for improvement while some are a big no! Over the recent few years I have observed that a lot of the songs released tend to be party/wedding songs and usually from the same DJ’s and music producers repeatedly.
Bhangra is all about celebrating. It originated from Punjab region of Pakistan and India initially as a folk dance (with dhol) to celebrate the spring term; Vaisakhi (or Baisakh, as my grandparents would call it). It later popularised but the difference between a Punjabi folk song and a bhangra song is yet not clear to many. Therefore, it would only make sense to release party and wedding songs under this genre but the whole Asian music industry cannot be summed up by this genre as there are a number of songs released that are influenced by Sufi music, western styles and some are simple and “slow beat” Punjabi songs. However, there is a lack of music released that does not fit the dance category.
To understand why we see these songs that all sound literally the same, one would need a little understanding of how music artists make money, especially in the UK. Due to music being available on digital platforms, illegal downloading has had a huge impact on the revenues generated from selling music therefore majority of the money for artists either comes from royalties from mainstream radio or private wedding and party shows that they perform at. Now, you wouldn’t invite an artist (or a DJ as many have their own road shows) on your party to perform who has only released sad Punjabi songs. Therefore, from an artists’ point of view it is only fair to continue releasing such music as they have to make living somehow like we all do.
On the other hand, many tend to complain that this wedding market has “destroyed” the Asian music scene. In my opinion, if you have a target audience or market in mind at the time of creating a piece of art, it certainly does have impact on your creativity. Jaz Dhami and Nafees are British Punjabi singers both of whom have shown versatility by releasing some great quality songs by working with different producers. The same could be said about Dr Zeus and a handful of others.
The question that can be raised here is why do many music artists fail to show their versatility and release music with a range of influences and styles?
Surely there is more to music than what gets played at a party?
What is your opinion on this?
Does making music that is aimed for DJ’s and bookings limit creativity or can you still express your heart and soul? Has the wedding and club scene “destroyed” the Asian music scene in the UK?
Written by: Junaid