Den kjente bhangṛāartisten Malkit Singh og ensemblet hans under London Mela.
Foto:Jan van der Crabben

Bhangṛā (pandjābī ਭੰਗੜਾ (gurmukhī), بھنگڑا (sjahmukhī), [ˌpɐŋgɽɑː]; hindī भाँगड़ा, ['bʱɑ:ŋgɽɑ:]), ofte kalla pandjābīpop, er ei livlig danse- og musikkform som oppstod i Pandjāb i India og Pakistan.


Tradisjonell bhangṛā

Bhangṛā er tradisjonelt sett ein folkedans og ikkje ei musikkform, men fram mot slutten av 1900-talet har tydinga gått meir og meir over til å referere til både ein musikkgenre og ein dans. Bhangṛāen har eit sterkt rytmisk driv og slaginstrumenta spelar ein sentral rolle.

Bhangṛā begynte som ein del av innhaustings- og væsākhīfeiringa og vart introdusert på scena etter delinga av Pandjāb i 1947. Pandjābīdansen som vart ekstatisk framført med ḍhōl som rytmeinstrument kom til å bli kjent som bhangṛā. Danse- og musikkforma spreidde seg gradvis kring i regionen og utvikla seg til ei felles og unik danseform. I dag har bhangṛāen vorte både eit hovudelement i og eit hovudsymbol på pandjābīkulturen, og bhangṛāen hører no til alle store feiringar så vel som i klubbar og på festivalar.

Tradisjonell bhangṛā er eit samspel mellom song, musikk, dans og rytmen frå ḍhōl-trommone.

Denne artikkelen er ikkje ferdig omsett enno.

Traditional Bhangra is a fusion of music, singing and the beat of the ḍhōl drum, a single stringed instrument called the iktar (ektara), the tumbi and the chimta. The accompanying songs are small couplets written in the Punjabi language called bolis. They relate to harvest celebration, love, patriotism or current social issues.

In Punjabi folk music, the ḍhōl'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 ḍhōl and dholki.

As many Bhangra lyrics reflect the long and often tumultuous history of the Punjab, knowledge of Punjabi history offers important insights into the meaning of the music. During the last thirty years, Bhangra has enjoyed a surge in popularity worldwide, both in traditional form and as a fusion with genres such as hip-hop, house, and reggae.

Bhangra in the 1970s

In the late 1960s and 1970s, several singers from the punjab set the stage for Bhangra to become a mass phenomenon. These singers, some of whom are still active today, include Kuldip Manak, Amar Singh Chamkila, and A.S. Kang.

Anil Singh

Bhangra in the 1980s

It was not until the early eighties that Bhangra became popular in England. First generation Asians were intrigued by their musical heritage, and helped bring Bhangra to the mainstream in their new country.

Den kjente bhangṛāartisten Malkit Singh og ensemblet hans under London Mela.
Foto: Jan van der Crabben

One of the biggest Bhangra stars of the last several decades is Malkit Singh - known as "the golden voice of the Punjab" - and his group, Golden Star. Malkit was born in June 1963, in the village Hussainpur, in Punjab. He attended the Khalsa College, Jalandhar, in the Punjab, in 1980 to study for a B.A. in Arts. Here he met his mentor, Professor Inderjit Singh, who nurtured his skills in Punjabi folk singing and Bhangra dancing. Thanks to Singh's tutelage, Malkit entered and won many song contests during this time. In 1983 he won a gold medal at the University of Guru Nanak, in Amritsar, Punjab, for performing his hit song Gurh Naloo Ishq Mitha, which later featured on his first album, Nach Gidhe Wich, released in 1984. The album was a strong hit among South Asians worldwide, and after its release Malkit and his band moved to the United Kingdom to continue their work. Malkit has now produced 16 albums and has toured 27 countries in his Bhangra career. Malkit has been awarded the prestigous MBE by the Queen of England for his services to Bhangra music.

Gurdaas Mann the multi-talented singer from Punjabi, had a huge impact on Bhangra music. He started his career in 1982 with his first album, Dil Da Mamla, followed by his huge hit Masti, musically directed by Charanjit Ahuja, the man who changed the sound of Punjabi music in India with the use of non-ethnic instruments such as Spanish guitars, saxaphone and trumpet. Since then Gurdas Maan has become an idol for many, not only for his lyrical and musical talent, but also his acting ability. He appeared in the Punjabi film Long Da Lishkara, which included the mega hit Challa (remixed in 1999 by Punjabi MC on his album Legalised). Since 1982 Gurdass Mann has released a number of hit albums, performed at sold-out concerts around the world and recently released the hugely popular single, Apna Punjab.

The group Alaap, fronted by Channi Singh, the man made famous by his white scarf, hails from Southall, a Punjabi area in London. Their album Teri Chunni De Sitaray, released in 1982 by Multitone, created quite a stir at a time when Bhangra was still in its early days in the UK. This album played a critical role in creating an interest in Bhangra among Asian university students in Britain. Alaap were unique with a live-set that was the best ever to play on the Bhangra stage. Their music oozed perfection especially the rhythm section. The music produced for Alaap included the pioneering sounds by Deepak Khazanchi.

Heera, formed by Bhupinder Bhindi and fronted by Kumar and Dhami, was one of the most popular bands of the eighties. Fans were known to gatecrash weddings where they played. The group established itself with the albums Jag Wala Mela, produced by music maestro of the time Kuljit Bhamra and Diamonds from Heera, produced the Deepak Khazanchi the man behind the new sound of UK Bhangra, on Arishma records. These albums are notable for being amongst the first Bhangra albums to successfully create mix Western drums and synthesizers with traditional Punjabi instruments.

Several other influential groups appeared around the same time, including The Saathies, Bhujungy Group, Azaad (of Drum'n'Dhol and Kabaddi fame) and Apna Sangeet. Apna Sangeet, most famously known for their hit Mera Yaar Vajavey Dhol, are still performing and are known as one of the best live acts in Bhangra.

Bhangra in the 1990s

Bhangra took large steps toward mainstream credibility in the 1990s, especially among youths. At the beginning of the nineties, many artists returned to the original, folk beats of Bhangra, often incorporating more dhol drum beats and tumbi. This time also saw the rise of several young Punjabi singers.

This era saw the very first boy band called the Sahotas, a band made up of five brothers from Wolverhampton, UK. Their music is a fusion Reggae, Rock, Dance fused with their very own distinctive sound.

The most influential of these young superstars was the "Canadian folkster", Jazzy Bains. Originally from Namasher in Punjab, "Jazzy B", as he is commonly referred to, has become one of the preeminent Bhangra artists in the world after his debut in 1992. Having sold over 55,000 copies of his second album, Folk and Funky, he is now one of the best-selling Bhangra artists in the world, with a vocal style likened to that of Kuldip Manak. Although his music has a traditional Punjabi beat, Jazzy Bains has taken up a particularly modern, thug-like image for himself, perhaps helping his popularity in the process.

Another famous young Bhangra super star is Bhinda Jatt, "the Folk Warrior of California." Jatt, whose style reminds many of Bains, started his career alongside his brother Kaiser, an excellent dhol player. Their first album was a huge success.

Balwinder Safri, based in the UK, gives strong vocals to classic tracks. Since releasing his first album, Reflections, in 1991, Safri signed with BMG Multitone amongst other labels and has become one of the most sought-after Bhangra singers in the world. His career highlights include the releasing the first Bhangra single ever, Legends, in 1992 and his 1994 album, Get Real, which remained at top of the Bhangra charts for over eight weeks, All of these releases musically produced by Harjinder Boparai. Over the last few years he has reaped tremendous success around the world, through both live and recorded performances with his band the Safri Boys. His releases to date highlight his vocal versatility.

Hailing from the Punjab, Surjit Bindrakhia has arguably the most powerful and versatile voice of any modern Bhangra singer. Featuring a throaty and wide-ranging voice, Bindrakhia is the most successful traditional artist in the world, producing most of his music in India. He has been famous in Punjab for many years, but he only reached worldwide notoriety with Dupatta Tera Sat Rang Da, one of the most popular Bhangra songs of all time. There are more sustained dhol beats in Bindrakhia's work than in that of most UK-based Bhangra artists.

Another artist to rise to stardom with many successful hits was Punjabi MC.

Other influential Bhangra artists include Surinder Shinda - famous for his Putt Jattan De, Harbhajan Mann, Manmohan Waris, Sarbjit Cheema, Hans Raj Hans, Sardool Sikander, Sahotas, Geet the MegaBand, Anakhi, Sat Rang, XLNC, B21, Shaktee, Intermix, Sahara, Paaras, PDM, DCS, Amar Group, Sangeet Group, and Bombay Talkie.

Bhangṛā i dag

Bhangra has come a long way in the 21st Century and has recently taken the entertainment industry by storm. In the 1970s and 1980s, many Punjabi singers from South Asia and the United Kingdom emerged, setting the stage for Bhangra to become a hot new trend in dance music. Modern Bhangra artists, in addition to recording and performing traditional Bhangra, have also fused Bhangra with other music genres, such as hip-hop, reggae, house, and drum-and-bass

Bhangra has gained mainstream popularity, attracting producers and artists such as Madonna, Britney Spears and Craig David. It is still performed in a traditional fashion but has also evolved into a new form of fusion Bhangra, where Bhangra music has been remixed with various other forms of music including Bollywood, R&B and hip-hop - and is listened to by people of all cultures around the world.

Bhangra is also emerging in the North American music scene thanks to Punjabi immigrants. In addition, Daler Mehndi's song Tunak Tunak Tun became popular in America and the rest of the world due in part to its music video, turning it into an internet phenomenon. Some popular North American artists include Jazzy B, Bhinda Jatt, and Sangeet Group. The use of Bhangra in song remixes is also becoming a more popular practice. The Bhangra market in North America is not as big as the market in the UK, but it continues to grow.[1]


Bhangra has developed as a combination of dances from different parts of the Punjab region. The term "Bhangra" now refers to several kinds of dances and arts, including Jhumar, Luddi, Giddha, Julli, Daankara, Dhamal, Saami, Kikli, and Gatka. Jhumar, originally from Sandalbar, Punjab, comprises an important part of Punjab folk heritage. It is a graceful dance, based on a specific Jhumar rhythm. Dancers circle around a drum player while singing a soft chorus. A person performing the Luddi dance places one hand behind his head and the other in front of his face, while swaying his head and arms. He typically wears a plain loose shirt and sways in a snake-like manner. Like a Jhumar dancer, the Luddi dancer moves around a dhol player. Women have a different but equally exuberant dance called Giddha. The dancers enact verses called bolis, representing a wide variety of subjects - everything from arguments with a sister-in-law to political affairs. The rhythm of the dance depends not only the drums, but also on the handclaps of the dancers. Julli is a dance associated with Muslim holy men called pirs and is generally performed in their hermitages. Typically the dancers dress all in black, and perform Julli in a sitting posture, but it is sometimes also done around the grave of a preceptor. Julli is unique in that one person, alone, can perform the dance if he so desires. Daankara is a dance of celebration, typically performed at weddings. Two men, each holding colorful staves, dance around each other in a circle while tapping their sticks together in rhythm with the drums. Dancers also form a circle while performing Dhamal. They also hold their arms high, shake their shoulders and heads, and yell and scream. Dhamal is a true folk-dance, representing the heart of Bhangra. Women of the Sandalbar region traditionally are known for the Saami. The dancers dress in brightly colored kurtas and full flowing skirts called lehengas. Like Daankara, Kikli features pairs of dancers, this time women. The dancers cross their arms, hold each other's hands, and whirl around singing folk songs. Occasionally four girls join hands to perform this dance. Gatka is a Sikh martial art in which people use swords, sticks, or daggers. Historians believe that the sixth Sikh guru started the art of gatka after the martyrdom of fifth guru Guru Arjan Dev. Wherever there is a large Khalsa Sikh population, there will be Gatka participants, often including small children and adults. These participants usually perform Gatka on special Punjabi holidays. In addition to these different dances, a Bhangra performance typically contains many energetic stunts. The most popular stunt is called the moor, or peacock, in which a dancer sits on someone's shoulders, while another person hangs from his torso by his legs. Two-person towers, pyramids, and various spinning stunts are also popular.


Traditionally, men wear a chaadra while doing Bhangra. A chaadra is a piece of cloth wrapped around the waist. Men also wear a kurta, which is a long Indian-style shirt. In addition, men wear Pugdee - also known as turbans - to cover their heads.

In modern times, men also wear turla - the fan attached to the pugdee. Colorful vest are worn above the kurta. Fumans - small balls attached to ropes - are worn on each arm.

Women wear the traditional Punjabi dress, ghagra. A ghagra is composed of a long colorful shirt and baggy, vibrant skirt. Women also wear duppattas, colorful pieces of cloth wrapped around the neck. Many Bhangra songs make references to the duppatta. Also, women wear suits called salwars which are baggy pants and a long colorful shirt.


Bhangra lyrics, always sung in the Punjabi language, generally cover social issues such as love, relationships, dancing, and marriage. Additionally, there are countless Bhangra songs devoted to Punjabi pride themes and Punjabi heroes. The lyrics are tributes to the rich cultural traditions of the Punjabis. In particular, many Bhangra tracks have been written about Udham Singh and Bhagat Singh. Less serious topics include beautiful ladies with their colorful duppattas, and dancing and drinking in the fields of the Punjab.

Bhangra singers do not sing in the same tone of voice as their Southeast Asian counterparts. Rather, they employ a high, energetic tone of voice. Singing fiercely, and with great pride, they typically add nonsensical, random noises to their singing. Likewise, often people dancing to Bhangra will yell phrases such as "Hey hey hey", "Balle balle", "Haripa" or "Ch-Ch" to the music.


Many different Punjabi instruments contribute to the sound of Bhangra. Although the most important instrument is the dhol drum, Bhangra also features a variety of string and other drum instruments.

The primary and most important instrument that defines Bhangra is the dhol. The dhol is a large, high-bass drum, played by beating it with two sticks - known as daggah (bass end) and tilli (treble end). The width of a dhol skin is about fifteen inches in general, and the dhol player holds his instrument with a strap around his neck.

The string instruments include the tumbi, sarangi, sapera, supp, and chimta. The dhad, dafli, dholki, and damru are the other drums. The tumbi, orignally played by legends such as Lalchand Yamla Jatt and Kuldip Manak in true folk recordings and then famously mastered by Amar Singh Chamkila, a famous Punjabi singer, is a high-tone, single-string instrument. Although it has only one string, mastering the tumbi takes many years. The sarangi is a multi-stringed instrument, somewhat similar to the violin. The sapera produces a beautiful, high-pitched stringy beat, while the supp and chimta add an extra, light sound to Bhangra music. Finally, the dhad, dafli, dholki, and damru are instruments that produce more drum beats, but with much less bass than the dhol drum.


Many South Asian DJs, especially in America, have mixed Bhangra music with house, reggae, and hip-hop to add a different flavor to Bhangra. These remixes continued to gain popularity as the nineties came to an end.

Of particular note among remix artists is Bally Sagoo, a Punjabi-Sikh, Anglo-Indian raised in Birmingham, England. Sagoo described his music as "a bit of tablas, a bit of the Indian sound. But bring on the bass lines, bring on the funky-drummer beat, bring on the James Brown samples", to Time magazine in 1997. He was recently signed by Sony as the flagship artist for a new . The most popular of these is Daler Mehndi, a Punjabi singer from India, and his music, known as "Bhangra Pop". Mehndi has become a major name not just in Punjab, but also all over India, with tracks such as Bolo Ta Ra Ra and Ho Jayegee Balle Balle. He has made the sound of Bhangra-pop a craze amongst many non-Punjabis in India, selling many millions of albums. Perhaps his most impressive accomplishment is the selling of 250,000 albums in Kerela, a state in the South of India where Punjabi is not spoken. But Daler Mehndi(Paapa) is not popular among Jat Sikhs of Punjab because of his poor dress sense and his style of singing,dance,music and the lyrics of his songs.

Toward the end of the decade, Bhangra continued its assault on mainstream culture, with artists like Bally Sagoo and Apache Indian signing with international recording labels Sony and Island. Moreover, Multitone Records, one of the major recording labels associated with Bhangra in Britain in the eighties and nineties, was bought by BMG. Finally, a recent Pepsi commercial launched in Britain featured South Asian actors and Bhangra music. This, perhaps more than anything else, is a true sign of the emergence of Bhangra into popular culture.

Post-Bhangra continues to gain popularity in both the UK and US. As mentioned above, artists such as Bally Sagoo offer what was referred to as "Bollywood remixes". This is just one result of the fusion the traditional Bhangra beats and South Asian instruments with that of other contemporary music genres. Other lesser popular offshoots include "Bhangramuffin" and Acid Bhangra. Bhangramuffin mixes traditional Bhangra backgrounds are combined with Ragga; one famous band from this genre is Apache Indian. As the title suggests, Acid Bhangra combines acid music with Bhangra. An interesting result of its popularity was that post-Bhangra gave rise to a new wave of club culture (ie. Hot 'n Spicy at London's Limelight nightclub and Manchester's Shankeys Soap). Although much of the popularity was centered around South Asian participation, post-Bhangra expressed a "process of musical cultural hybridization and syncretism that moved beyond a straightforward juxtaposition of dance music genres."[2]


Without skilled percussionists, Bhangra, being a largely beat-based music, would not have developed in the way it did. Pandit Dinesh and Kuljit Bhamra were trained exponents of Indian percussion and helped create the UK sound, albeit mainly with tabla and dholki for bands like Alaap and Heera. The generation that followed had an equally dramatic influence. A talented 15 year old percussionist called Bhupinder Singh Kullar, aka 'Tubsy' of Handsworth, Birmingham created a more contemporary style and groove that seemed to fuse more naturally with western music. Songs such as Dhola veh Dhola (Satrang) and albums such as Bomb the Tumbi (Safri Boyz) contained this new style and were very successful. He was without doubt the best dholki percussionist in UK Bhangra. Then came Sunil Kalyan of Southall, London who also sessioned on many songs and albums. He added a smoothness and sweetness never heard before on the tabla, hailing him as probably the best tabla percussionist in UK Bhangra. Sukhshinder Shinda later introduced his unique style of dhol playing with the album 'Dhol Beat.' He added a very clean style of dhol playing and helped create the sound for artistes such as Jazzy B and Bhinda Jatt. He was regarded at the time as being the best Dhol player in UK Bhangra. Other important percussionists include Juggy Rihal of Coventry, Aman Hayer and Billy of Gravesend.

In North America

Punjabi immigrants have encouraged the growth of Bhangra in the western hemisphere. However the Bhangra industry has not grown in North America nearly as much as it has grown in the United Kingdom. Indian Lion, a UK Bhangra artist explains why:

'The reasons there's a lot of bands in England is because there's a lot of work in England. In England the tradition that's been going on for years now is that there's weddings happening up and down the country every weekend, and it's part of the culture that they have Bhangra bands come and play, who get paid 1800 quid a shot, you know. Most of the bands are booked up for the next two years. And England is a country where you can wake up in the morning and by lunchtime you can be at the other end of the country, it helps. In Canada it takes 3 days to get to the other side of the country, so there's no circuit there. And it isn't a tradition [in Canada] to have live music at weddings. There are a few bands here that play a few gigs, but nothing major.' However, with the emergence of North American Bhangra artists such as Jazzy Bains, Bhinda Jatt, and Sangeet Group, and the growth of the remix market, the future for Bhangra in this continent looks good.

In 2001, bhangra began to exert an influence over U.S. R&B music, when Missy Elliott released the bhangra-influenced song "Get Ur Freak On." In 2003, Punjabi MC's "Mundian To Bach Ke" (Beware of the Boys) was covered by the U.S. rapper Jay-Z.[1] The great popularity of these two tracks led to an even greater use of bhangra in American music. Additionally, American rapper Pras of The Fugees has recorded tracks with British alternative bhangra band Swami.

Bhangra IS popular in North America. For instance, the "West Coast's Premier Bhangra Competition" takes place 2008-02-02 at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California. This event is sponsored by the Berkeley Bhangra Club. Ref:


Bhangra competitions have been held in the Punjab for many decades. However, now universities and other organizations have begun to hold annual Bhangra dance competitions in many of the main cities of the United States, Canada, and England. At these competitions, young Punjabis, other South Asians, and people with no South Asian background compete for money and trophies. In the West, unlike the Punjab, there is less emphasis on traditional Bhangra moves, but rather more focus on a general look of the dance; for example, many teams at these competitions perform several hip-hop moves. This synergy of the Bhangra dance with other cultures` parallels the music's fusion with different genres. University competitions have experienced an explosion in popularity over the last three years (Bhangra Blowout, hosted by George Washington University on 1 April 2000, sold out to a crowd of 4,000 people, with scalpers reportedly getting $80 per ticket at the door), and help to promote the dance and music in mainstream culture.

Major dance competitions frequently have bhangra as the highlight of the event.

Viktige utøvarar



Sjå òg


  1. Punjab Online: "Bhangra History". Punjab Online, 2007.
  2. Sanjay Sharma, "Noisy Asians or 'Asian Noise'", excerpt from "Dis-Orienting Rhythms"

GNU-logoen This article is based entirely or in part on the article Bhangra from the English Wikipedia. It may be copied, distributed and/or modified according to the conditions of the GNU Free Documentation License.