A visual history of bhangra

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237
hardeep_singh said:
old webpage for the MIT bhangra club, has some info on the history
http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~rad/mit-bhangra/

just random speculation on the ramaal topic, i've never danced with ramaals but just thinking about it, it seems like it could be problematic trying to perform a modern fast paced saap segment while u have ramaals on your wrists which could possibly get caught in your saap. there are examples of phuman causing problems, i can imagine ramaals being worse and phumans on biceps and wrists seem to be standard these days.

Could be a factor, to some degree. The stuff people used to do with sapps back in the rumaal days wasn't as crazy and fast.


Thanks for the MIT link. I used to be on their mailing list in the early 2000s and this is bringing back memories. It is also reminding me that I never thought that they were that "clued in" about bhangra. That's not a dis! I just mean that what they were saying/doing seemed pretty standard for America. But now that I watch their late 90s videos, I see a much higher content (at least in those years) of Indian moves than in some other groups' performances. Unfortunately the site doesn't give clues on where they got their info from.
 
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237
Hey, I just made a long post about interaction between India and America, etc, but I lost it.


Anyway, one of the main points was that Indian bhangra evidently shifted in the 1990s, though not necessarily in all areas (I gave details about why I think an area like Ludhiana specifically might have led a change, while other areas continued in earlier vein). That particular brand of bhangra contained some element of the "athleticism" being discussed, and its that trend that happened to be going on when YouTube vids became available to American bhangra dancers. I think much of the athleticism came from there. But there are also elements of style that I think were developed in America (addressed in earlier post), and recent NA bhangra has both athleticism and a unique style.


Sapps were there in 2000 at UC Santa Barbara when I started with them, even if they were a relatively "clueless" group that couldn't dance on dhol, but I see your point that, indeed, they weren't so common in that era of NA bhangra. Sapps were absolutely standard in Indian bhangra, and the "sapps on speed" section of the Indian bhangra of mid 2000s most certainly made them a requisite for American teams.
 
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237
taminder,


Thanks, REALLY good stuff. (It doesn't fit much into the evolution of bhangra dance style -- topic of this thread -- but whatever.)
EVERYONE who wants to see what "real" traditional style dhol-playing is like should watch some of it.


This is the real art of dhol, rather than the narrowed down range and homogenized style created by people who play along with "songs." And it is the "folk" style (= more variety of different rhythms), not part of the attempts to impress people with "classical"/tabla style (=few taals but with much embellishment).


A professor in Patiala played me the audio of this back in 2000; good to see the video now!
 

taminder

Member
Messages
80
No prob.

I brough back a few more videos on bhangra & dhol from my last trip to India. I'll post them up here if I find them.
For sure I have at least 2 videos of bhangra masters going through different steps laying around somewhere.

Gabbah Shareef Bhalwan said:
taminder,


Thanks, REALLY good stuff. (It doesn't fit much into the evolution of bhangra dance style -- topic of this thread -- but whatever.)
EVERYONE who wants to see what "real" traditional style dhol-playing is like should watch some of it.


This is the real art of dhol, rather than the narrowed down range and homogenized style created by people who play along with "songs." And it is the "folk" style (= more variety of different rhythms), not part of the attempts to impress people with "classical"/tabla style (=few taals but with much embellishment).


A professor in Patiala played me the audio of this back in 2000; good to see the video now!
 

SEP BCN

New Member
Messages
12
Oh people!! This is a total treasure for us!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! :-* :-*
 
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237
The Facebook page of "Kenyan Kala Singh" (https://www.facebook.com/feelthekenyaninyou) has posted two photos of a bhangra team in Kenya.

The first photo from Kenya, 1977, includes Kenyan president Kenyatta. Caption is:

This is a moment that will remain forever entrenched in the minds of those Sikhs who were present at the Nairobi State House invite to The Kenyatta Day of 1977. The Bhangra team were extended an official invite from the President's Office as part of Kenya's diverse cultural heritage.

President
Mzee Jomo Kenyatta had just arrived on the ground and was trying to wiggle his way through the Bhangra performance that was going on at the moment, as he tried to make his way to his seat. Because the Punjabi dance is so vigorous and energetically animated, Mzee Kenyatta broke into a dance himself, joining in tandem to the steps of Sardar Kuldip Singh beside him and Sardar Bhupinder Singh Nagi (behind Mzee), as everyone else cheered, including then Vice-President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi(extreme right).

This was the last Kenyatta Day that was marked with Mzee in attendance, as the following year in August 1978, he passed away – and eventually leading to the ascension of Daniel arap Moi to Presidency.

Photo Credit -
Bhupinder Singh Nagi




The second photo is from 1982. Caption is:
Nationally-registered Kenya Punjabi Bhangra Group pose for a photo with (Rt) President Daniel arap Moi at State House, Nairobi on Madaraka Day (1 June) of 1982 after the celebrations wrapped up in commemorating the historic day when Kenya attained internal self-rule in 1963, preceding full independence from the United Kingdom on 12 December 1963.The group, established in the 1970s, was regularlyinvited by the Office of the President to officially perform at national events, alongside other traditional dances of Kenya. The Kenya Punjabi Bhangra lads made national news as the country enjoyed the vibrant and joyful traditional dances of the Sikhs.

Though the group was nationally respected and honoured for many years, they were largely overlooked and ignored by the Sikh community in Kenya - one of the major reasons why the group could no longer sustain itself and it eventually fizzled away into obscurity - and disbanded.
 

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hardeep_singh

Well-Known Member
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gibb, you're a boss, thanks again for highlighting another forgotten part of bhangra history. i've been meaning to contact you for a while about the topic of tumba algoza ballads. a while ago i was browsing dhadi jatha vids on youtube and happened to stumble upon recorded kavishri videos, which i had never been exposed to before and totally blew my mind. so i started searching for info on babu rajab ali khan and i somehow happened to stumble upon some ucsb literature. i was skimming through one such document about the tumba algoza ballads, which was translated by you:
http://www.global.ucsb.edu/punjab/journal/v18_1-2/articles/6_TheTumba.pdf
while skimming through this document the name sadeeq muhammad auria caught my eye. the surname "auria" implying that he was from the pind aur, which is the pind neighboring the one i'm from. the document states that his balladry was recorded so i was wondering if those recordings are available. i love hearing old music and the thought of hearing old music that could provide a perspective of old aur/urapar/chakdana excites my inner pindu. i would be very appreciative if you could help in any way. thanks
 
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237
Hardeep,


I never got much time to focus on the tumba-algoza guys in my research, though it was an important tradition. Besides the few notes I have here and there in my writing, I have no special expertise. Because I think it was an important tradition, I felt it was essential to have in that volume, but because there is no substantial written work on the subject, I had to edit and translate Thuhi’s book. With no disrespect to Thuhi, that book is not a rigorous “academic” work, though we can be very grateful for all the information he compiled. What I did was to take excerpts from the book that would seem to give an overview.


The book is available from Chandigarh. He does talk more about Auria. I actually don’t have the book with me now, but I’m pretty sure it will answer your questions, and I think you’re right about the village. One thing that seems clear is that the tradition is stronger in Pakistan than in India. In India, the performers that were most visible during my time were a few (Hindu) Bazigars, who learned the tradition from the mostly Mirasi type musicians….most of whom went to Pak side at Partition (if not already there).


One of the interesting things that all Punjabis should know is that the earliest commercial (we could say “popular music”) recording of Punjabi material were of this genre. It seems logical that if this was the genre of music used for entertainment that Punjabis were already enjoying that this would be first recorded.


If and when I get access to my copy of Thuhi’s book again I can try to scan the relevant pages.


Michael Nijhawan’s book Dhadi Darbar also has a little teeny bit on this.


A fellow from Delhi made a documentary on this, but I have forgotten his name at the moment. No disrespect. If you look for tumba algoza clips on youtube now I believe you’ll find the filmmaker’s channel.


If it moves you, you might consider starting an Off Topic thread on this, and compiling some of the video links. I have some links but I’ve never organized them because I am busy with other stuff. I think the most important part of the genre is the ballad texts themselves, so it is hard to gain entry into the world of truly understanding the genre if one can’t follow the words.
 

faizan

Just shut up and dance
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1,738
I'd love it if BTF could begin a thread regarding the visual history of bhangra in the diaspora.

As bhangra gained a foot hold in Canada and the UK in the 70's and 80's it evolved, and continues to do so with the rise of bhangra circuits in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore (yes, there are teams in Singapore, and yes WBBC has reached out to teams in random places, and will continue to do so). From the floppy turlas and awkward chaadars, to today's romesh inspired masterpieces, there is a great story to be told re: bhangra as it exists in the diaspora.
 
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237
Hardeep,
I took a look at my copy of Thuhi’s book on ballad singers. It has a few pages on Auria. The writing is very “padded,” so there’s not actually that much info. Here’s the info I got out of it:
Sadeeq Muhammad Auria (1892/3-1992)
Born in village Aur of Jalandhar district.
His ustad: “Kaaka” of Ludhiana. Kaaka’s ustad was Natthoo Raunt of Karyam, Natthoo Raunt’s ustad was Muhammad Raunt of Nakodar.
Auria was dada-ustad of Ibraheem Ghuddoo of Malerkotla. Ghuddoo stayed in India at Partition, produced many disciples. [No mention of his direct disciple in India.]

Auria performed on recordings with Fazal Muhammad Tunda.
Went to Pak in1947 – to Lyallpur (i.e. Faisalabad)
His famous disciple in Pakistan was Shareef Muhammad
 
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