Non-Stop Bhangra Seven Year Anniversary
Oct. 15, 2011
Better than: Sweating it out at a Bikram yoga studio
It all started in the 14th Century. Bored wheat farmers in Punjab (a region in Northern India and Pakistan) created a dance based on the motions involved in harvest. That dance was called bhangra, and it's been passed down to the present through tradition. Today, it's a force in popular culture, commanding a loyal following with high-profile endorsements from the likes of Jay-Z and Missy Elliot. Yet, contemporary bhangra is much more than hip-hop and folk dances; the scope of the Punjabi diaspora has allowed the music to encounter and assimilate aspects of such diverse styles as dancehall and electrohouse.
Here in the Bay Area, the best place to catch this hybrid form of music is at the long running Non-Stop Bhangra party. Based around the Dholrhythms dance troupe/studio, it's an evangelizing force that has formed the crux of the local scene through instruction, publicity, and a national touring schedule. It was the party's seven-year anniversary last Saturday and, never having heard bhangra in a club, Kahley and I decided to give it a shot.