Catching Up Maritime Bhangra Group

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Jovan recently had the opportunity to speak to Hasmeet S. Chandok from the Bhangra team from Canada, 'Maritime Bhangra Group' from the East Coast all the way in Halifax Nova Scotia!

Why did you create the team?
  My brother (Kunwardeep Singh) and I with bunch of other dancers, ( mostly, students at Dalhousie University, Halifax,Nova Scotia ,Canada)  were doing bhangra ( traditional dance, the one you see in our videos) on different multi-cultural gatherings and other type of events for almost 3 years in our province of Nova Scotia, Canada as a volunteer dance group.

Back in this year summer in the month of July, we thought of making a professional dance team and making short videos and putting them online was just a small part of the plan.We were concentrating more on the performances , especially the one in which we can help organizations fundraise or work with Mental health or Interfaith harmony organizations to help them to increase the reach of their message.

One of our upcoming performance is with United Nations Interfaith Harmony week, First Nations/Aborignal communities  and other ones includes Big Brother Big sisters, IWK foundation and many more. It also significantly focussed on breaking down barriers and stereotypes sikh men face everyday due to their turban and style of clothing. 

What was it that drew you all together to form this team?

 I think its about connecting to your cultural and linguistic roots, when you are searching for a home, away from your home. I think we all share this feeling of need to work for community and social causes like Charity and Fund-raising.

Moreover we all would like to contribute our culture as an addition to the amalgamation of culture’s we have in this fabulous country - Canada. Spreading happiness is the other focus we had, as we were always told by the people watching us live that “Its hard to watch you guys and not smile”. We also want to  help people from other communities in breaking down barriers.  

What do you wish to accomplish with this Bhangra team?
In regard to our videos: We want to showcase the beautiful Atlantic Canada especially, Nova Scotia to the people all around the world and our recent international super-hits  peggy’s cove and Dartmouth-Halifax Waterfront Bhangra videos are one good example's of that.

Secondly, We again wanted to concentrate on breaking down barriers and stereotypes sikh men face everyday due to their turban and style of clothing. We also want to help other communities to raise awareness and break stereotypes. 

 It seems like the reaction to your videos has been overwhelmingly positive? Why do you think that is?  

Their are bunch of reasons i think which contribute to this, but i will list few most prominent ones:
1. Sense of enjoyment you could feel in this genre of dance and it reflects on the faces of the dancers and also, in their body language.

2. Choice of locations and equipments. We try to choose lively and happening locations, which already has lot of memories attached to it for many people living around the world or is somehow relatable with their daily life. Same is the case with equipments, were have a video of a dancer dancing with a mop in a famous grocery store.

3. Amount of hatred we have right now in the world. We need more of anything which could help us forget all the hatred and help us relate to happiness in any way even for a bunch of seconds. For example someone shared the video and gave it a title “ I have had enough of politics” and someone commented “Immigration, Yes” to tackle the hatred going around the immigration. 
We have also received very-very few negative comments, but we plan to tackle them by spreading more and more happiness.
What sort of impact do you think your videos have on your viewers?
 I think it has a very positive impact. People all around the world are loving us.We are getting plethora of messages and comments on many different platforms. I would like to quote some comments here:
“I am on a wheelchair, but when i see your dance i feel like getting up and dance” 
Someone reviewed our page and left this comment: "The video by the ocean makes me soooooo happy! I watched it first thing upon waking up to get my day off to a great start!"
Another person shared the video and gave it a tagline “ looks like they have found the secret to happiness”
Many people are relating to the videos because of the places where they have been shot, as they have memories related to them may be because that’s where there family or ancestors lived or they visited the place on some specific occasion. 
Our efforts to spread happiness has been awarded in the past by the GOVERNOR AWARD (First sikh ever to receive Highest Honour in Nova Scotia (Dalhousie University) and many others. 
Our videos have been featured on BBC, NPR, Buzzfeed,Yahoo Canada, Huffington Post Canada and shared by Hollywood artists like Ashton Kucher and Lil Wayne".

You can follow the team at the following social media accounts:


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