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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion


By Stacy Meyn
Published September 22, 2005


DJ/GlobeSonic founder Fabian Alsultany’s five-year plan culminates in this collection of UK-based bhangra folks who spent the ’80s cogitating on ways to combine their parents’ records with burgeoning hip-hop. Panjabi MC, remixed by Jay-Z, gave bhangra a recent shot in the arm, and other established tracks get recycled for American ears. Harvest songs from India’s Punjab state feature the dhol (a bass drum played with two sticks) and the single-stringed tumbi, both of which are prominent in bhangra. “Elders” Panjabi MC, Achanak and Saqi drop their classics while relative newcomers MIDIval PunditZ, tj Rehmi and Swami (brothers Simon and Diamond) offer the bangin’ “Bhangra Fever,” “Who Killed Bhangra?” and “Pao Bhangra,” respectively. The incessant beats can become a tad monotonous, but just keep thinking about dancing (or running, or housecleaning…) and you’ll be fine. The best is saved for last: the closing track is “Teri Baaton (Your Words),” a straight-up dancehall toast over Chaka Demus and Pliers’ [in]famous “Murder She Wrote,” but delivered in Hindi by Canadian Raghav. If you are not previously inundated, Bar Bhangra is a sparkling starter kit.