MUSIC

How Glastonbury promotes music from South Asia and says that “the time has come to be a part of global culture”

Brown joy reigned supreme at Glastonbury on Thursday night. As Sbtrkt closed his set with a song that is rarely heard outside of Spotify playlists, South Asians at the festival’s Lonely Hearts Club stage exchanged knowing looks of shock and elation: Greetings, Paul’s Str8 Outta Mumbai! The group had scarcely settled from the high-energy tablas when London-based south Asian DJ Jyoty made that big appearance with a large number of bangers: She prefaced an Afrobeats mix of the classic Hindi hit Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein, which was performed by British Asian pop star Jay Sean, as a highlight: Where are the brown people I know? Rahul, one of the punters, called it “life-affirming.”

This was only the beginning of the south Asian programming this year, which has grown at Glastonbury over the past few years to become one of the most prominent supporters of the British Asian dance underground. In 2022, the dance music collective Daytimers had a thrilling takeover, and Yung Singh, Ahadadream, and Manara performed simultaneously; The final three also had multiple performances in this year’s lineup.

DJ Bobby Friction, who has been bringing bhangra to the Somerset festival since 1998, hosted a Going South takeover where he put a number of different south Asian DJs, both old and new, on the same platform. Friction explained, when asked why this music seems to be having a moment, that global audiences are accepting the sound regardless of language barriers. This year, I performed at Glastonbury with the Bhangra singer Bee2, who sounded like Hendrix playing the tumbi, a group of Punjabi dancers, and thousands of white people who had probably never heard of bhangra. He goes on to say: Like reggae, I believe its time has come to join global culture.

How Glastonbury promotes music from South Asia and says that "the time has come to be a part of global culture"
How Glastonbury promotes music from South Asia and says that “the time has come to be a part of global culture”

Dialled In, a South Asian creative group, secretly held a party in the Shangri-La area. It was alive with their signature blend of sounds from native and diasporic communities, including the south Asian underground, illuminated by green lights: club edits, R&B, Afrobeats, Punjabi garage, samples from Bollywood, bassy techno, and other genres Focused colleague Almass Badat said she felt “totally cheerful and loaded with motivation” after the occasion. ” A unique moment was created by providing DJs of South Asian descent with a sonic playground to play simultaneously. I feel enabled to be given the programming space with full imaginative trust,” she said.

DJ Priya, also known as “Thee Bass Baddie,” is a newcomer to this year’s lineup. I can’t depict my sound without portraying the energy that I bring when I play it, which — and I mean this unassumingly — is unequaled. Due to the amount of time I spend jumping, people have inquired if there are trampolines beneath the decks, she stated. The London-based DJ from Southall had Jyoty train her, and the Glastonbury crowd went wild for her. Discussing the significance of south Asian portrayal in the setup, she said: ” We have been negatively portrayed in the media for a long time; We’ve been the joke, the kids who aren’t popular, and if you ever saw an Asian musician, it would almost always be a man.

How Glastonbury promotes music from South Asia and says that "the time has come to be a part of global culture"
How Glastonbury promotes music from South Asia and says that “the time has come to be a part of global culture”

“I seldom saw somebody that looked or seemed like me, in music as well as in the media overall. I made it my mission to appear as the person I needed to see when I was younger, and I’m so happy that other Asians are being booked and representing themselves as well. No longer is it just a matter of checking boxes; The majority of us are receiving praise for our abilities.

The Australian craftsman Surusinghe was likewise at Glastonbury this year, playing multiple times across the celebration. She emphasizes the significance of the South Asian music community, describing her sound as “lots of drums and bass but not drum’n’bass.” Artists like Ahadadream, who have recommended me for so many slots and opportunities, owe me everything. It’s so nice to know that other South Asian artists are behind you; that is what inspires me to continue growing.”

This year likewise saw the primary South Asian get together, which Erosion coordinated through virtual entertainment. Under the Ribbon Tower, dozens of brown faces gathered to ask, “Is this the South Asian thing?” followed by enthusiastic conversation and warm embraces. Vinay, 68, told me how he went to Glastonbury for the first time in 1984, when admission cost £13; Kirrin Punia, 41, who was wearing a purple bodysuit, said: It’s amazing and liberating to hear south Asian music played in clubs; it’s like saying, “Welcome to my world.”

Badat stated that she hopes to see South Asian artists perform on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury in 2024. In a meeting with Glastonbury co-organizer Emily Eavis, Friction recently stated, “She said let’s do something big next year.” It is evident that there is an audience for the weekend’s south Asian DJ sets from the happy faces of people of all ethnicities.

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