The Olympic Closing Ceremony was a true spectacle of UK pop culture from the old-skool bands to the modern pop stars of today. Amongst the best of British pop came an amazing surprise of Dholis, Bhangra dancers and folk punjabi music!
The London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony was a true spectacle of UK pop culture from the old-skool bands to the modern pop stars of today. Amongst the best of British pop came an amazing surprise of Dholis, Bhangra dancers and folk Punjabi music!
The dhol is at the heart of Bhangra music and who better to represent it then The Dhol Foundation and its legendary dhol icon Johnny Kalsi.
“My dear friend David Arnold asked if we could be a part of it and I said I’d think about it! Anyway a few seconds later I said of course we would.” revealed Johnny Kalsi.
Asked about representing Bhangra on a global stage;
“It was great and I felt I wasn’t just representing Bhangra but British Asians as a whole! This was an amazing experience and we’re so happy to be a part of something so incredible!“
Perhaps the most unexpected performance of the night was during Eric Idle’s “Always Look On The Bright Side” performance, a group of Bhangra dancers appeared out of no where naching’ away to the brilliant sounds of the Punjabi folk dhol, sarangi and algozey. The group behind this amazing showcase of Bhangra dance was East London’s very own Virsa Punjab. Who are Virsa Punjab i hear you ask?
“Virsa Punjab are a traditional Bhangra team which has been established for around 10yrs based in East London, Ilford area now, under the name VP Entertainments we provide all types of services under the VP Entertainments name.” says Gurdeep of VP Entertainments.
Gurdeep further explained to Chakdey.com how they landed the Olympics experience and how it feels to represent Bhangra on a global stage;
“We applied for casting to do with the Olympic ceremonies, we provided the Olympic casting team with our groups information, turned out they were looking for a Bhangra team, so we called into audition straight away.”“It was a once in a life time opportunity, and an amazing experience to represent our Punjabi culture and Punjabi music to the world. It was truly an exhilarating experience. I hope we made all the Punjabi’s proud!”
Social network platforms Twitter and Facebook erupted with praise for the surprise bhangra act by music fans across the world. Watch the Virsa Punjab Bhangra Dance performance here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19238439
Bhangra critics who claim that “Bhangra is dead” have well and truly been proved wrong. For a South Asian genre such as Bhangra, to have been given this huge opportunity to showcase itself in front of a sold out 80,000 Olympic stadium crowd and 22.9 million viewers tuning into the ceremony in the UK alone is unprecedented.
Having featured in both the opening and closing ceremonies of the most renowned sporting event in the World, Bhangra has given us a platform to go Global. We as an industry should grasp this opportunity and think bigger, better and believe that we have a solid musical package to communicate!
If you could feature just one Asian music track in an Olympic ceremony what would you put forward? Leave your answers and views below!