In the Shadow of the Shaheed: Beant and Satwant’s Badla and the JAKARA Album

Co-blogged by JooKay Singh and Jodha

Our fellow langa(w)r-iter – Navdeep Singh highlighted the dominant pop genre of Punjabi music that celebrates nihilism and suicide through political complicity and destitution. Today, we highlight another form of music that has reached new heights in the shadow of the Shaheed.

UK-based producer Tru-Skool’s latest dharmic-track, ‘Beant Satwant Da Badla‘, which will be part of the 10th Shaheedi Immortality album, has topped the BBC Official Asian Download Chart this weekend gone. This isn’t the first time one of the Shaheedi Immorality tracks has been on the BBC Asian Network playlist (Tigerstyle’s Son of a Sardar and Jhooldey Kesri Chande have previously been played by Bobby Friction, Nihal & Adil Ray amongst others), and some would argue this track isn’t pushing the envelope musically or lyrically, since the Immortal Production (IP) collective have been putting out similar tracks for the past 10 years. So, what’s different, and is this a flash-in-the-pan riding on the back of kesri lehar, or is there more?

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Previous IP tracks were given play time on the BBC courtesy of their association with Tigerstyle, who are well respected in the UK as innovative producers, rather than for the tracks themselves; diligent listeners will have noted that the songs were also edited to remove ‘controversial’ lyrics. In Jhooldey Kesri Chandey, for example, the first thirty seconds or so contained part of a speech by Baba Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, and was removed entirely. Beant Satwant Da Badla, by contrast, has received air time by virtue of being the most officially download ‘asian’ track last week in the UK and was played unedited.

jakara_album2.jpgWhen introducing the song as the number one track, Bobby Friction clearly acknowledges the song’s political content, and it’s narration of a much discussed and debated part of recent Indian history. The fact he felt compelled to highlight this, either as a personal initiative, or because he was required to by the BBC, is significant, as it locates the track not simply as a ‘TruSkool’ production, or just another ‘Asian’ track, but a highly political piece of music in it’s own right. This is important, because it propels the issue of 1984, human rights, indian politics etc, very abruptly into the listeners conscience in a way I don’t think we’ve seen before, at least in the mainstream media outlets in the UK such as the BBC. That this track was the most popular ‘officially’ downloaded track should also be of note, since it suggests the community, most likely the younger generation, is willing to show more than just moral support on twitter or facebook, and actually pay for a track they perceive as being worthwhile to them.

Jakara_Album.jpg_largeTruSkool’s track wasn’t alone. In North America, this past weekend sawRevolution Records release its newest album – JAKARA. The album promoted by various Canadian and American Sikh organizations has seen a meteoric rise, akin to that of TruSkool’s song. It has even risen to the top of Apple iTunes’ charts.

Jakara is set to be Revolution Records’ third album and features renowned artists such as, Jaz Dhami, Manak-E, HS Talwar, Kaka Mohanwalia, Balraj, Jaswinder Daghamia, Micky Sra, Street Kings, TwinBeats, Gupsy Aujla, Sachin Ahuja, DJ Intense, Gurmeet Singh, Randy Jassal, Harvi Bachu, Violinder and more.

Whether these dharmic tracks, on their own, will catalyse a mass movement or raise awareness amongst a critical mass in the UK, US, Canada, Punjab (or anywhere else for that matter) is unlikely, but I think that as a component of a mult-faceted approach that covers education and political engagement, amongst others, they definitely have something to offer.

Check out the promo from Revolution Record’s album – JAKARA and make sure to support this album, that of TruSkool, and other music that has substance.

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3 Responses to “In the Shadow of the Shaheed: Beant and Satwant’s Badla and the JAKARA Album”

  1. rocco says:

    sick sick albumn, def recommend buying it

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