Desipalooza '99: British Bhangra Invasion
story by Satinder
Pictures from Desipalooza
NEW YORKThe Kit Kat Klub on 43rd
Street in Manhattan was the host for Desipalooza 99 on September 11.
The show, featuring some of Bhangras hottest bands today. The bands are well
known in the worldwide Bhangra scene. The venue included three international bhangra
bands, Stereo Nation, B21 and Sukhbir. Added to Desipalooza was a Bhangra-rap group from
Los Angeles called Rukus Avenue and the acapella group from Penn State, Penn
The show started out with a dance competition from local universities including NYU,
Hofstra/St. John, Temple and Rutgers, which was judged by Miss. India USA New York.
The winner, Rutgers, walked away with $1000.
the dance competition, the 13-member acapella group Penn Masala boarded the stage
and silenced the crowd with their no instruments, voice-only style. The crowd responded
favorably even with sound system problems. Penn Masala recently returned from a tour in
the UK and has a music video hit on MTV Asia.
crowd seemed anxious to get on the dance floor for the bhangra groups they came to see.
First off was Rukus Avenue. A mixture of rap, bhangra, Hindi, Punjabi and house style
music. The band includes a teen-age sardarji on the turntables, a sardarji as the
crowd stirring MC, two female dancers, 4 desi rappers (one with the style of
Flavor Flav from Public Enemy), a female singer and probably the highlight of
the group, Amar, the Punjabi speaking singer. Rukus Avenue was something new to NYC and
well accepted by the crowd. They also found time to pass out audiotapes and T-shirts while
After Rukus Avenue the crowd exploded with B21 entering the stage. B21 is UKs
hottest bhangra band. Hailing from Birmingham, were the postal code is B21, the two
singers Jassi Sidhu and Bally Jagpal along with the amazing 19 year old dhol player, Tony,
brought the crowd to a non stop frenzy.
They played their hit bhangra songs, Putt Sardara Deh ,
Chandigarh and an exclusive song that is expected to be out on their next
appearance here, we are booked for three shows in the UK in the coming weeks", said
Bhota Jagpal brother of Bally Jagpal before the show. Bhota has a successful career in the
UK bhangra scene. In 1994 he received the award for Best Musical Producer at the age of
Sukhbir, the artist from UAE, kept the crowd moving to the bhangra beat with his hit
songs, Sauda Khara Khara, Ishq, Gul Ban Gayee and
others. This was Sukhbirs first appearance in NYC.
"I am looking forward to the show but am not sure how well I am followed
here", said Sukhbir before the show.
The crowd proved to Sukhbir that he is a favorite in New York. Sukhbir recently came
out with another album Greatest Hits 1. Even with the sound people from the
Kit Kat Klub interrupting his performance, Sukhbir kept his energy and prepared the crowd
for the closing act, Stereo Nation.
Stereo Nation the closing act of Desipalooza re-pumped the crowd after a short delay.
Comprised of Tarsame Singh and Kendall Smith, Stereo Nation showed New York City why they
are so successful in the UK, Canada and India. Tarsame, a veteran in the Bhangra scene as
compared to the other groups, showed his experience by keeping the crowd jumping and
singing to the lyrics of his songs. Performing the smash hit Oh Carol and
other crowd favorites, Stereo Nation closed the tour of Desipalooza 99 with a bang.
The New York City show was the last performance of Desipalooza. It also took place in
Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and Chicago around the Labor Day weekend. Also present
at the show were local favorites DJ Kucha and DJ RB-NYC. Span Entertainment and ZEE TV
presented the four-hour show.