Bhangra Information

Bhaṅgṛā is a form of music and dance that originated in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan.Bhangra dance began as a folk dance conducted by Punjabi farmers to celebrate the coming of Vaisakhi, a Punjabi festival. The specific moves of Bhangra reflect the manner in which villagers farmed their land. This musical art further became synthesized after the partition of India, when refugees from different parts of the Punjab shared their folk dances with individuals who resided in the regions they settled in. This hybrid dance became Bhangra. The folk dance has been popularised in the Western World by South Asian communities and is seen in the West as an expression of Indian and Pakistani culture as a whole. Today, Bhangra dance survives in different forms and styles all over the globe – including pop music, film soundtracks, collegiate competitions and even talent shows.

Traditional Bhangra is a form of dance based on a Punjabi folk dhol beat called 'bhangra' singing and the beat of the dhol drum, a single-stringed instrument called the iktar , the tumbi and the chimta. The accompanying songs are small couplets written in the Punjabi language called bolis. They relate to current issues faced by the singers and what they truly want to say. In Punjabi folk music, the dhol's smaller cousin, the dholki, was nearly always used to provide the main beat. Nowadays the dhol is used more frequently, with and without the dholki. Additional percussion, including tabla, is less frequently used in bhangra as a solo instrument but is sometimes used to accompany the dhol and dholki. The dholki drum patterns in Bhangra music bear an intimate similarity to the rhythms in Reggae music. This rhythm serves as a common thread which allows for easy commingling between Punjabi folk and Reggae as demonstrated by such artists as the UK's Apache Indian.

Whereas bhangra dance, and its accompanying dhol beat are part of the Punjabi folk music genre, Bhangra Music itself is a genre that was created in the early 80s by bands in UK who rarely, if ever used traditional Punjabi folk instruments other than the dholki. In addition to the influence of Punjabi folk music, Bhangra music was also heavily influenced by genres such as classic rock and Punjabi classical music.

Wikipedia, Bhangra, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhangra (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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