Sizzling City of Bhangra Festival April 29 to May 8
City of Bhangra is set to rock the city with a free outdoor concert that will take place on Friday, May 7, 2010 from 5:00pm – 10:00pm at the Vancouver Art Gallery grounds.
Downtown Bhangra is just one event during the 6th Annual City of Bhangra Festival, presented by Rogers from April 29 to May 8, 2010.
“BlacKMahal is part funk, part hip-hop, part Punjabi folk,” said Jag Rajwan, VIBC Director and event organizer. “The sound is as unique as the members who make up the band. The ‘Godfather’ of the Punjabi dhol drum, Lal Singh Bhatti, lends vocals to DJ Vikram Chatta’s hip-hop beats, which are then married with a cool jazz saxaphone, bass and beatboxing.”
Joining BlacKMahal is the one-of-a-kind Danish singer, Anita Lerche, who won the award for Best Debut in 2006 from Punjabi Music Channel MH1 for her album, “Heer from Denmar.” She is also the first non-South Asian woman to produce a Punjabi album. Backing Lerche up on stage will be Vancouver’s own Shan-E-Punjab Little Stars dance team, made up of talented dancers between the ages of seven and nine. Shan-E-Punjab recently performed at the 2010 BC Victory Ceremonies during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games.
“By bringing performers from Denmark, San Francisco and India, we’re bringing a truly international feel to the festival,” said Sukhi Ghuman, VIBC Director. “The VIBC Society always aims to bring new and fresh talent to Vancouver, while promoting our locals artists and dancers here in our city.”
The City of Bhangra Festival runs from April 29 to May 8 at venues across Metro Vancouver, and concludes with eight of North America’s best Bhangra teams competing for the $5000 first prize at the Coast Capital Bhangra Competition May 8 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Since 2005, the not-for-profit Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration Society (VIBC) has presented events to entertain and educate all communities about Bhangra. The Society’s vision is to embrace the spirit of celebration, generosity and community that is Bhangra. The VIBC is dedicated to spreading the universal rhythm of Bhangra and welcoming people from all cultures to enjoy the beats of this beautiful art form.
For more information about the Festival, please visit VIBC's website. Additional images available for press.
Bios for Downtown Bhangra Headline Acts
Black Mahal (San Francisco)
Black Mahal recently performed at VIBC's Quantum Bhangra event, the Grand finale of the Olympic Arts Festival at the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad. Lal Singh Bhatti, the legendary “Godfather” of the dhol drum, has traveled the world, sharing Punjabi folk music and wisdom with audiences from all walks of life. The veteran dhol player/lead vocalist Lal Singh Bhatti and hip-hop DJ Vijay Chatta formed BlacKMahal almost six years ago after meeting at a wedding. The two shared an idea to create music that merged their differing styles and experiences. With its unique blend of traditional Punjabi folk, funk and hip-hip, the resulting eight-member band has since exploded onto the international scene, capturing the attention of the BBC and Rolling Stone India magazine.
Anita Lerche (Denmark)
Some say this Danish singer/songwriter is the greatest lyricist of our generation. Anita Lerche, born and raised in Denmark is the first non South Asian woman from the West to sing and release a solo album in the Punjabi language. Her singing capability doesn’t end there. She is in fact able to sing and perform in fourteen different languages and received the award for Best Debut in 2006 from Punjabi Music Channel MHI for her album, “Heer from Denmar.” In 2007, Anita Lerche created a Hindi song for the Indian Cricket team during the World Cup 2007 and is currently working on her third album that is a fusion of Indian and Western music.
Shan-E-Punjab Little Stars (Vancouver)
SHAN-E-PUNJAB Little Stars consists of young dancers between the ages of seven and nine. These talented dancers are mastering the art form of bhangra at a very young age, having competed at an international level and winning various bhangra competitions in their age category. Shan-E-Punjab Little stars also participated in the 2010 BC Victory Ceremonies during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games in addition to performing at various community fundraising events. This year Shan-E-Punjab Little Stars will be accompanying Anita Lerche on stage.
Raju Johal (Surrey)
Raju Johal is a modern day crooner whose unique sound and slick style, compliment his classically trained voice. His range is vast, as he delivers elements of R&B, folk and classical music. Born and raised in Surrey, B.C. he has been exposed to music since the age of three, when the first Dhol was placed in his hands by his father. Raju continued his love of music by singing at age six. Since then, Raju has been involved in many aspects within the Bhangra genre; he’s played the Dhol alongside some major artists, and won numerous awards for Bhangra dance competitions, and performed in front of sold out crowds.
The PropheC (Calgary)
Often described as one of Calgary's best up-and-coming South Asian acts, The PropheC writes, sings, producers and engineers every song himself. He is a young man with an extraordinary talent who began to perform at the tender age of seven. Aside from his skillful ability to develop beats that make you want to get up and dance, what sets PropheC apart is the spirited character he brings to the stage. The success of his first single "Sohni" is just a sample of what he has to offer.
Bombay Sapphire (Vancouver)
Bombay Sapphire is a young band with a remarkable talent for blending various musical styles with Hindi and Punjabi lyrics - a style that is uniquely their own. What began as a casual musical partnership between friends has, in less than four years, morphed into one of Vancouver's up and coming South Asian bands. Their music combines guitar, keyboards and drums, with Punjabi vocals and instruments, creating a trademark Bombay Sapphire sound.