The Safri Boys

Get Real

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Short of Algerian rai, one would have been hard-pressed to find a more infectious and risk-taking East/West hybrid in the 1990s than India's bhangra music. Much like rai in Algeria, bhangra underscored a musical generation gap--younger Indians loved it, while many older Indians decried its western influences and use of electronic rhythms. On Get Real, vocalist Balwinder Safri's group the Safri Boys blend Indian pop with elements of funk, dance music, and hip-hop, and they employ synthesizers, electric bass, and R&B samples along with traditional Indian instruments such as the sitar, the dholak, and tabla drums. Diversity prevails on this CD, which ranges from the congenial "Kasma Kahiaye" (a gem that brings to mind late-'60s blue-eyed soulsters like the Spiral Starecase and the Rascals) to the funky call and response number "Ahh Sohniaye" and the reggae-influenced "Dil Te Allana Pyeah." For those who are just starting to get into bhangra, Get Real should be among your introductory purchases.

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