Bhangra Moves: From Ludhiana to London and Beyond, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Bhangra Moves

From Ludhiana to London and Beyond, 1st Edition

By Anjali Gera Roy


304 pages

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Bhangra is commonly understood as the hybrid music produced in Britain by British Asian music producers through mixing Panjabi folk melodies with western pop and black dance rhythms. This is derived from a Punjabi harvest dance of the same name. This book looks at Bhangra's global flows from one of its originary sites, the Indian subcontinent, to contribute to the understanding of emerging South Asian cultural practices such as Bhangra or Bollywood in multi-ethnic societies. It seeks to trace Bhangra's moves from Punjab and its 'return back' to look at the forces that initiate and regulate global flows of local texts and to ask how their producers and consumers redirect them to produce new definitions of culture, identity and nation. The critical importance of this book lies in understanding the difference between the present globalizing wave and previous trans-local movements. Gera Roy contrasts the frames of cultural imperialism with those of cultural invasion to show how Indian cultures have constantly reinvented themselves by cross-pollinating with 'invading' cultures such as Hellenic, Persian, Arabic and many others in the past. By looking at Bhangra's flows to and from India, the book revises the relation between culture, space and identity and challenges boundaries. It weighs both the uses and costs of visibility provided by global networks to marginalized groups in diverse localities and explores whether collaborations between Bhangra practitioners, largely of working class origin, give ordinary people any control over the circulation of culture in the global village. Finally, the book considers whether cultural practices can alter hierarchies and power structures in the real world.


'… for the ardent fan eager to understand what makes bhangra bhangra, it's a fascinating read.' Songlines 'Anjali Gera Roy's book Bhangra Moves: From Ludhiana to London and Beyond is a prodigious tour de force in the writing of the complex cultural history of popular Punjabi folk dance 'Bhangra'. In this brilliantly annotated and well-researched work, charged with a lucidly written prose running into some two hundred and fifty pages, Roy has done a commendable job of archiving the entangled genealogy of one of the most popular folk dances and its subsequent mutations as it winged its way across cultures, nations and continents on a transcontinental journey.' South Asian Ensemble ’Bhangra Moves is chock-a-block filled with ideas, and this is a testament to Anjali Gera Roy’s long involvement with and thinking about this subject. It is the happy result of many stimulating conversations with individuals all over the world.’ Sikh Formations ’Anjali Roy’s impressive and extensive volume […] is the first major study of Bhangra that takes seriously its development in the Indian context… it is clearly essential reading for anyone interested in the Punjab, Punjabi culture and of course Bhangra.’ Journal of Intercultural Studies '… [Anjali Gera Roy] leads us through a rich and complex reading of bhangra in a global frame, drawing on poststructuralist and postcolonial theory. Her analysis is well-written and erudite as much as it is humorous. Her vibrant and fun writing style seems to mirror the genre, as she insists on bhangra as a foot-tapping musical form, something that persuades through providing pleasure�…' Journal of Punjab Studies 'Anjali Gera Roy’s scholarly meditation on the global phenomenon that is Bhangra will prove a valuable introduction to the complicated national and transnational contexts for the changing shape of this dance/music form… this book is required reading for anyone interested in understanding the global dimension

Table of Contents

Contents: Flows across the Chenab; No mixing please! We are Indian; Mann Panjab De: fabricating authority; Naqqal, mimicry and the signifying monkey; Global bazaar, local peddlers; Desi networks; Cool guys, desi boyz and Panjabi munde dance the bhangra; Performing the Panjabi body; Bhangra nation; Who speaks for the jat?: vernacular cosmopolitanisms; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Anjali Gera Roy is Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.

Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General