Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Finnish bhangra. This is weird.

I'm not sure what to think about this. Shava are a group from Finland who play bhangra, the dance music originating from the Punjab region in India. The casual listener might think this song, called Päälliköt on Voittamattomii, is no different to other bhangra tracks, like Panjabi MC's Mundian To Bach Ke, which it liberally rips off. Except there's a big difference - instead of an Indian guy singing in Punjabi, its a white dude singing in Finnish. It's a bit of a mindf**k for me watching this - it sounds almost like the real thing.

If there's another thing it reminds me of, it is the white Canadian dancehall artist Snow, who rapped/sang in thick Jamaican patois. Remember his big hit song Informer back in the day? This is just as incongruous. But I wonder: is it really any stranger than the idea of Brazilian band playing hardcore metal (ie. Sepultura) for instance, or a Japanese hip-hop artist (ie. DJ Krush)? Or for that matter, a bunch of white British guys playing rhythm & blues (ie. The Rolling Stones).

But it's also kinda cool that some dudes in Finland found their calling in music from Punjab. And translating the distinctive vocal style of bhangra to the Finnish language is crazy but it somehow works. I'm trying to imagine trying to sing that way in English right now.

So whaddaya reckon? Is this yet another example of the white man keeping the brown man down by appropriating and diluting his cultural expressions? Or is it a heartfelt tribute to the power of music to transcend boundaries of creed and colour? Is this 4 minutes and 14 seconds of sheer wackness? Or is it off the hizzle?

(Hat tip: Sociological Images)

Also check these related posts:

Nigerian dudes sing Bollywood

Mainstream hip-hop's Bollywood flirtations

Tajik Jimmy. This guy is freakin' amazing.

From Bollywood to black America and back - the evolution of a sample

Some Tamil rap for yo' ass - Yogi B and Natchatra

Let's play Spot the Sample: Lata Mangeshkar - "Tere Here Beech Mein"
Daichi, amazing Japanese beatbox kid

Black chicks singing in Mandarin - why not? This is cool.

Lloyd Popp - awesome Indonesian talk-box guy

Artistic interpretations of the Super Mario Brothers Theme

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