Is there a difference between Punjabi music & Bhangra music?

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Is it really Bhangra?

If you don’t know much about the origins of Bhangra dance then here is a quick history lesson for you to start off with. It all started off in Punjab region when the farmers saw wheat growing and wanted to celebrate, they did so by doing Bhangra! It then gained popularity amongst other regions and people started to widely celebrate weddings and New Year by doing Bhangra.

In the 1980’s people of Punjab origin in Britain started Bhangra music by taking the folk sounds of desi instruments and mixing them with western ones. The typical instruments used in Bhangra music are the dhol, tumbi and chemta along with a few others. Usually Bhangra music is fast paced, high pitched vocals and something you can dance to.

When someone asks me to name a good old classic Bhangra track then nothing other than “Darshan” by Jassi Sidhu (B21) comes into my mind. We all heard it on every wedding party. This is what I would classify as real Bhangra.

However, to me these days it seems that the traditional Bhangra is losing its identity. Most of the songs you hear do not have any noticeable elements of the dhol or tumbi rather majorly consisting of elements of western styles such as hip hop and reggae. This is fine, who cares what instruments are used as long as the track sounds good but it frustrates some when these tracks get put into the “Bhangra” category.

It is even more annoying when you see tracks like “Bukhaar” by Nafees and “Meh Punjabi Boli Ah” by Jaz Dhami being nominated as “Best Bhangra” singles for the Brit Asia Music Awards coming up on the 12th October.

If you have ever heard of these songs you might notice neither of them fit into the “Bhangra” music genre and are simply just really great Punjabi tracks. Slow motion music with romantic lyrics is certainly not Bhangra neither is a song that is paying respect to the Punjabi boli.

Do you agree? Who do we blame for putting them into Bhangra category?

Interestingly some artists tend to claim they are “Bhangra singers” in their interviews and twitter Bios.

Do these people understand the difference between a Punjabi singer and a Bhangra singer?

What do you think makes a song a Bhangra song? Do you think the next generation is getting passed on a wrong message of what Bhangra music actually is?

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krishna teja
+1 #3 you gave excellent speech about bhangra and punjabikrishna teja 2016-11-16 11:09
ji ! iam a south indian. i don't know about punjab.but recently,i heard a song of bhangra(i.e 5 taara by dilit dosanjh singh).
i liked it very much and heard that song nearly 1000 times in a week.
so iwant to learn punjabi language in , i want to know about bhangra and punjabi.

Tuhāḍā dhanavāda
+5 #2 SSidhu1 2013-10-08 19:56
Nafees is not a bhanghra singer and neither is this song of Jaz a bhangra song its a sad punjabi song. They all need a dhol at a wedding to bhnagra to but I dont see myself dancing to either of them.
Unknown DJ
+13 #1 RE: Is there a difference between Punjabi music & Bhangra music?Unknown DJ 2013-10-08 18:26
All Bhangra music is Punjabi music but not all Punjabi music is Bhangra. I can't see anyone doing Bhangra to Nafees track but I can see a Bhangra team dancing to Jaz Dhami's track.

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