City of Bhangra Festival aims to get everyone dancing to the beat

Published: March 19, 2013

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Vancouver and Surrey will be bhangra cities this spring.

Bhangra dancers

The South Asia Arts Girls Bhangra Team performs as launch to the Bhangra Festival in Vancouver on March 19, 2013. Wayne Leidenfrost/PNG

The Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration (VIBC) Society officially launched their week-long HSBC City of Bhangra Festival by announcing the lineup at Granville Street’s Vancouver FanClub on Tuesday morning.

The announcement gave a vibrant taste of what the May 30 to June 8 festival will offer: delicious Indian food, upbeat bhangra dancers, all accompanied by loud and cheerful music.

“That beat, that rhythm — it’s universal, so anybody can get up and dance and be a part of it,” said VIBC director Sukhi Ghuman.

Organizers wanted to “create a festival that welcomes people of all different cultures,” he said.

“It’s not about being Indian to participate in the festival — we want everyone to feel welcome and to be a part of the festival and be able to learn about what is bhangra.”

Bhangra is a form of Punjabi folk music that dates back to the 1400s in Northern India, when farmers would celebrate harvest season with music and dance.

“It’s definitely come a long way since then,” said Ghuman. “Even now mainstream artists are incorporating bhangra beats into their music — artists like Britney Spears, Missy Elliot will use some of the drums that we use for bhangra in their music, too, so it’s definitely becoming a lot more mainstream.”

The festival will showcase that evolution with art exhibitions in both Vancouver and Surrey, free outdoor concerts and dance performances by local bhangra teams, as well as teams from California, New York and Pennsylvania.

“We’re kind of taking bhangra in all its artistic mediums and spreading it all throughout the festival,” said Ghuman.

“There’s no right or wrong way to bhangra,” said Ghuman. “When you hear that beat of that drum and that dhol you want to dance as well, and so it’s all about you coming out, feeling that music, dancing and getting your groove on and having an amazing time.”

Local dhol drummer Rayman Bhuller has been part of the festival “from day one” — when it started back in 2004.

Bhuller will be participating in a number of performances, including the opening reception on May 30.

“There’s no bhangra without dhol,” Bhuller said after supplying the upbeat soundtrack for Tuesday’s announcement. “When you put the dhol in a room it just overshadows everything. It’s really loud … it takes over a room very quick.”

Bhuller will also be performing alongside international artists such as Punjab’s raw folk singer Saini Surinder, producer and musician Gupsy Aujla from the U.K. bhangra scene, DJ Anjali and The Incredible Kid from Portland, Ore., and Oxford’s teenage performer D-Sarb.

Bhuller has travelled the world working as a freelance dhol drummer and created Vancouver’s Dhol Nation Academy 12 years ago. He also performed at the 2010 Olympics and has been involved with the City of Bhangra Festival since its inauguration nine years ago.

“You learn a lot about the culture itself through the medium of music,” Bhuller said.

Especially through the dhol, which is “in every part of our life.”

“From the day you’re born there’s a dhol playing till the day you die there’s a dhol playing — it’s very symbolic,” he said. “It’s the whole cycle of life just in this drum.”

For more event listings and ticket information visit www.vibc.org

Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration schedule

May 30, 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m.: Opening ceremony and rePercussion. Milton Fei Wong Theatre, SFU Woodward’s/Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Vancouver. A cultural fusion of drummers, including Rayman Bhuller alongside Surrey Folk Bhangra Club and EV A-Slam.

June 1, 8 p.m.-11 p.m: Influx with VIBC Media Arts Mehfi. Surrey Arts Center, Studio Theatre. An evening of live music mash-ups, hip hop dance battles and art projections.

June 4, 8 p.m.-10 p.m.: Bhangra on Main. Heritage Hall, Vancouver. Punjabi folk traditions from critically acclaimed artists D-Sarb and Sunil Kaylan.

June 6, 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m.: rePercussion. Surrey Arts Centre. A cultural fusion of drummers, including Rayman Bhuller alongside Surrey Folk Bhangra Club and EV A-Slam.

June 7-8: Downtown Bhangra. Bringing artists such as Saini Surinder, Gupsy Aujla, D-Sarb, Shava, Sunil Kalyan, Inder Kooner, DJ Anjali and the Incredible Kid and featuring bhangra teams from New York, Pittsburgh, California and Metro Vancouver. Friday, 6 p.m.–10p.m. Saturday, 12 p.m.–10 p.m.

June 7, 10 p.m.-3 a.m.: Non-stop Bhangra. Vancouver FanClub. The official after party of Downtown Bhangra, Non-Stop Bhangra, offering an electric mix of bhangra party music meant for the dance floor, including DJ Harpz coming from the U.K. and DJ Anjali and The Incredible Kid from Portland, Ore.

June 8, 10 p.m.-12 a.m.: Closing Gala. Vancouver Art Gallery. Musicians, local dance teams and DJs.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,





Featured

Surrey

Surrey RCMP continue hunt for hit-and-run driver who struck a Sikh temple volunteer

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY —  Surrey Mounties are still looking for the driver who ran down a Sikh temple volunteer in Newton last fall….
Continue Reading »

Merritt music festival

Headdresses banned from Merritt music festival out of respect to First Nations

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI An electronic music festival this B.C. Day long weekend in Merritt has banned native headdresses from its campgrounds. “Bass Coast Festival…
Continue Reading »

luxury brand market Vancouver

Asian tourists important for Vancouver’s high-end luxury retailers

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI If you ever wandered by a high-end luxury retail outlet like Burberry or Tiffany’s and wondered who could afford thousands of…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Surrey

Surrey RCMP continue hunt for hit-and-run driver who struck a Sikh temple volunteer

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY —  Surrey Mounties are still looking for the driver who ran down a Sikh temple volunteer in Newton last fall….
Continue Reading »

Merritt music festival

Headdresses banned from Merritt music festival out of respect to First Nations

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI An electronic music festival this B.C. Day long weekend in Merritt has banned native headdresses from its campgrounds. “Bass Coast Festival…
Continue Reading »

luxury brand market Vancouver

Asian tourists important for Vancouver’s high-end luxury retailers

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI If you ever wandered by a high-end luxury retail outlet like Burberry or Tiffany’s and wondered who could afford thousands of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

india flag2

Sporting fans disappointed as Indian flag depicted upside down in Commonwealth Games promotional video

VANCOUVER DESI India is already making headlines as the Commonwealth Games officially kick off in Glasgow – but not for sporting-related reasons. In an official…
Continue Reading »

INDIA_RAPE_PROTEST_217126232

Angry villagers mob alleged suspects after another girl found hanging from tree in India

KOUSHIK DUTTA HINDUSTAN TIMES A 7-year-old girl was found raped, murdered and hanging from a tree in West Bengal on Thursday, resurfacing horrific memories from…
Continue Reading »

525020624_213567324

Indian baby whose head swelled to three times its size smiling and laughing a year later (w/ photos)

VANCOUVER DESI A three-year-old girl in New Delhi who was given little chance of survival after her head swelled to three times its normal size…
Continue Reading »

An Indian private tutor was caught on CCTV camera brutally beating a child. YouTube screenshot

Private tutor who mercilessly beat child finally arrested in Kolkata

IANS Kolkata  – Private tutor Pooja Singh, who was caught on video brutally thrashing a three-and-a-half-year-old child in Kolkata, was finally arrested Friday, police said….
Continue Reading »

child abuse

Indian kidnappers agree to handover boy to parents on condition of swapping him for his sister

CEN AGENCY In a bizarre demand, parents of an Indian boy who has been kidnapped, were told that they could have youngster back if they…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Mahesh Bhatt

Bollywood filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt fasts during Ramadan as a tribute to his mother

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Mumbai – Mahesh Bhatt observes fasts during Ramadan as a tribute to his late mother and says on Eid he looks…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Bigg Boss

Salman Khan’s charitable organization to help 100 kids with heart condition

IANS Mumbai – Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has announced that his Being Human (BH) charitable organization will help “100 genuine patients” suffering from heart condition…
Continue Reading »

Kareena Kapoor Khan

Kareena Kapoor: “Bajrangi Baijaan” has nothing to do with my personal life

IANS Mumbai – Kareena Kapoor and Salman Khan’s next “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” is about a Brahmin girl and Muslim boy, but the former says that it…
Continue Reading »