Today there is a new generation of Indian musicians, producers and deejays making a mark on international music. Some are pursuing hybrids of traditional music with dance beats, while others are pursuing more ethereal sounds. The dance-oriented genre sprouted up in England with the unlikely re-invention of bhangra, a traditional Indian harvest dance music. Splicing big electronic beats to the rhythms from double-headed dholak drums gave young Indians music that they could call their own and dance to. The music has expanded to what's been dubbed the Asian Underground movement and made inroads stateside.
A good introduction to the movement is Asian Travels, which brings together top names such as Talvin Singh and Najma, as well as a few westerners who have an affinity for south Asian music and a taste for state-of-the-art electronics.
Cuts by the groups Fun Da Mental and Joi borrow the ecstatic voices of Pakistan's religious qawwali music, but turn them into deeply funky brews that tap into the singers' powerful expressions of joy. Elsewhere, the sound stays electronic, but beats get less emphatic and the songs more trippy. - Marty Lipp
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