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My broad term covers classical, folk and film aspects of the music unique to the Indian subcontinent and it's diaspora, notably the Bhangra and Bollywood genres. As always with my one song / one genre policy, much of the region's music naturally falls into other categories when a more prominent style merits it e.g. Hip Hop / Rap or Rock.

The Jukebox Pick (of 83):


 (Tjinder Singh, Bubbley Kaur)


 10 out of 10 “Utterly perfect” Desi

 Fending off stiff competition from Fateh Ali Khan, Bhosle and Mangeshkar (yes I do have some of their records), my Jukebox pick lands with this glittering beauty, released in 2004. Cornershop's exploration of the desi aspect of their cultural roots isn't usually the foremost aspect of their output, but it's there in spades on this 'un. “A massive track for urban stations, turban stations, clubs as well as Indian weddings” they say. They're not wrong! “Topknot” was the first fruit of the pairing between the band and the enigmatic singing debutant Bubbley Kaur who, Annabella-Lwin-style, went from the launderette to the recording studio (the back story itself could make a film). Initially a stand-alone single, it would eventually settle down to live on their full-blown collaboration album, 2011's “And The Double O Groove Of”. Their stars collided naturally through mutual acquaintances and a shared love of Punjabi folk music. The New Delhi-born, Lancashire-raised housewife brought her own lyrics to the table as Garry Mulholland in the Guardian explained: “There's this guy, see, who's the hottest thing since green chillis, and Kaur wants him, but knows she faces stiff girl competition, and suspects he'll break her heart anyway. 'Don't betray the girls,' she pleads, but we suspect her sisterly solidarity is all in vain.” A classic Bollywood theme. Or you could say it's The Shirelles reimagined in the punjabi style 40 years on. Any which way you look at it, this is a joyous masterpiece which deserves to be celebrated far and wide for decades to come. [Worth watching is the excellent video American film-maker Prashant Bhargava made as a promo for his 2011 film “Patang”, albeit a considerably shortened version of the piece.]

Some favourite artists:

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar, Apna Sangeet, Mohammed Rafi

The Jukebox pick:


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