Various Artists

Bhangra: Original Punjabi Pop

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Bhangra: Original Punjabi Pop is an album of Punjabi-based bhangra (as opposed to that of the London clubs). The basic sound is similar, though the British breed is usually rather more beat-heavy than the Punjabi-based form. The exuberance is always there in both formats, but the Punjabi artists tend to emphasize the melody of the lyrics more than the British. The dhol still figures heavily in the rhythmic aspects, but it's a generally lighter sound. The end result is a joyous compilation lying somewhere between electronica and Punjabi folk songs. The artists all have decent sounds, updating the ancient genre as so many others have done with a good show of skill. The lyrics are often simple chanted mantras repeating themselves for the duration of a song, but then again it's the musicality of the song and not the lyrical content that is foremost. The call and response aspects are strong as well. There are a number of bhangra compilations available on the market, most licensed from one of a number of Indian labels (this album is no exception in this respect, coming from the Times Music label out of Mumbai). With such a wealth of music available, the competition for the title of the best bhangra compilation is stiff. This album is certainly a contender. The title is in doubt, but that the album is a worthwhile listen is not.

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