MC for Punjabi Music
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Ab Tak Chhappan and done — if international bhangra musician Punjabi MC had been a little filmi, he would have toyed with this Bollywood film title for his latest album. But he kept it straight and simple, just like he is — 56 Districts. "That's the title of my next album and it releases in 2013," says Punjabi MC, who was in town for a gig at the Blue Blazer lounge in Sector 26. The title stands for the 56 districts across Punjab in Pakistan and India. "There is a Punjab in Pakistan and in India, and I am bridging the gap and doing away with the border with music," says Punjabi MC, adding that he has been working on the album for a year now. The concerns included concentrating on rap, different styles of music on both sides, the accents, instruments, history, tones, tempo and so on. "It talks about the lives and relationships and has a lot of cultural influences in it too," he reveals.
While such an album would've taken extensive travel and research, Punjabi MC decided to cut the virtual ticket and explore talent through the world wide web. "I came across such amazing voices, instruments and tunes," he shares.
Born to Punjabi parents as Rajinder Singh Rai, Punjabi MC's "bhangramentary" had him growing up listening to the likes of Kuldip Manak and Shinda, and being part of the UK Punjabi music and bhangra crew of contemporaries such as Apache India, Bally Sagoo, Jay Sean and Rishi Rich. The years saw him rise to stardom by being a hit across Europe, especially Russia and launching new talent such as Labh Jhanjua. "For me, bhangra is fusion, it's something that hits people instantly and moves them," says the musician who feels that Punjabi music is a trendsetter. "Being overseas, we value Punjabi music more, maybe that's why we work harder at keeping it alive," he says.