16 December 2009
Two days ago I received an email from a BBC Asian Network listener about my interview with JK, a rising star in the world of UK Bhangra. His complaint was about JK not mentioning Imran Khan (THE Desi Music star of 2009 here in the UK) in a reply he gave to me about the current crop of new UK Bhangra artists. My listener’s basic point was the Indian members of the UK Bhangra Industry were only concerned with other Indian people and were freezing Imran out of the debate as he had a Pakistani heritage.
Here’s How it Happened:
Listener: “JUST HEARD YOUR JK INTERVIEW FROM LAST NIGHT.
I THINK JK WAS TOALLY WRONG WHEN HE SAID ALL THE YOUNG ARTIST SOUND THE SAME BECAUSE LOOK AT IMRAN KHAN HE IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT, HIS VOICE AND MUSIC.
I HEARD MANY INTERVIEWS WITH JK, JAZ DHAMI, H DHAMI AND RANA SAHOTA THEY ALL SEEM TO BIG UP EACH OTHER IN THE INTERVIEWS. AND NON OF THEM EVEN MENTION IMRAN KHAN.
IS THIS SOME KIND OF PAKISTANI V INDIAN THING GOING ON IN THE INDUSTY ?????
WELL NEXT TIME YOU SPEAK TO ANY OF THEM YOU MIGHT ASWELL TELL THEM IMRAN KHAN’S ALBUM WAS MORE SUCESSFUL THEN H, JAZ, AND RANA’S ALBUM PUT TOGETHER.
MORE PEOPLE LIKE IMRAN KHAN MUSIC THEN JAZ, H, JK AND RANA’S PUT TOGETHER. AND IF THIS IS A PAKISTANI V INDIAN THING IM SORRY TO INFORM YOU, THE PAKISTANI IS IN THE LEAD.
OR IS IT JK, JAZ , H , AND RANA THINK BHANGRA INDUSTRY IS FOR ONLY INDIANS ? WELL IM SORRY TO TELL YOU IMRAN KHAN IN THE BIGGEST THING IN THE INDUSTRY AT THE MOMENT AND HE IS PAKISTANI…..
PLEASE REPLY AND REFLECT YOUR THOUGHTS.”
Bobby: “Oh dear – as far as I know this is NOT a Pakistani v’s India thing. I cant speak for the artists you mentioned but most people I know dont even think of India or Pakistan when listening to music – or let their heritage affect what tracks they buy or what artists they like. Can I point you towards a Blog I wrote for the BBC back in september where I said it was obvious to anyone who took their desi music seriously that Imran Khan was the artist of 2009 ( a big claim on my part as it was only September….xx).
Once again – not speaking for the other artists you mentioned but they maybe dont mention Imran Khan as he has a more fused (and forward looking) Bhangra sound. He defo doesnt sound like those other artists and in a way is too unique to be compared to his peers.
Thats my reading of the situation, I hope that you can see where I’m coming from. I also offer you this advice – try yourself NOT to see musical things in such stark India/Pakistan terms. Yes Politics is all too real and can be very fraught with conflict – but in my experience the hundreds or thousands of young British Asians with Pakistani & Indian heritage dont usually ever see ‘desi music’ as part of the India/Pakistani divide. i would even go as far to say that music is the one thing ‘both’ communities have not used to score political points with.
Please my brother – join me and the 90% of other British Asians who dont think about India or Pakistan or Religion or Background when listening, buying, downloading, and enjoying our music.
Listener: “I never started this. but it frustrats u when u know one as done so well and other people who are in the same boat cant accept that fact (jaz, h jk, rana). In regards to india v pakistan thing i dont know what planet your living on but in our age group teens to 21 ish. all the young pakistanis r supporting imran because he pakistani and i know loads of indians who have said dont support imran because he a pakistani. i actually heard them say that. us pakistanis always say when we like an indian artist song that they done well and its a good song but YOUR youngters cant accpet the fact that a PAKISTANI has smashed the scene where U lot are meant to be smashing it.”
Bobby: “Re: “YOUR youngters” – my youngsters are my British Asian peeps of both backgrounds.”
What made me really sad about the exchange was my listener’s assertation that the Teen to Twenty One year old age range all thought like this. Is this true?