Bally Sagoo face of ‘modern Indian music’
If Punjab’s music is today popular around the world with the Bhangra beats, it’s courtesy the British Asian Sikh musicians like Bally Sagoo who have drawn the world to India’s new-age music with an added flavour of their personal charm.
Bally Sagoo, the man who won laurels as a Disc Jockey (DJ) in the club scene and broke into music by revamping old Bollywood hits and fusing with the hip-hop, today needs no introduction.
Born as Baljit Singh Sagoo in Delhi’s Ranjit Nagar, Bally Sagoo grew up in Birmingham, England, in a predominantly Black neighbourhood where he was influenced by disco, rap and Motown music.
Bally Sagoo says: ‘I started learning music at a very young age and grew up in Birmingham, England where I was influenced by disco and rap music. But, my parents were fond of Bollywood and traditional Indian songs, which I disliked.’
Indi pop singer Sagoo is known for taking the new-age Indian music to the heights not many may have imagined ten years ago. Today, he is known for being one of the original pioneers of what is popularly called ‘the modern Indian music’ besides triggering the explosion of modern Bhangra pop music.
He says: ‘I hit upon the idea to bring the two cultures together and make a remix of English and Indian music. It was a completely new idea, which has become a hit. Bollywood, the Indian film industry wants me to do work for them. So, everybody likes this wind of music.’
Punjabi songs are a big hit these days.
Sagoo says: ‘Wherever I go to perform, in clubs or parties, Bhangra is very popular. I have performed in almost all countries and Bhangra is performed everywhere. Be it Hindi or Punjabi, remix add to their popularity.’
This form of new age Indian music has helped in popularising Punjabi and Hindi languages around the world.
‘I don’t just remix Indian music, but all music, including Arabic. It is promotion of the Indian languages. People of different nations are getting known to both Punjabi and Hindi songs. These days, I am also including Qawwali, the songs of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, which the English are very fond of. I have a crossover audience – the young and old, the White and Black.’
The popularity of the new age music has also motivated may youngsters to take it up as a career.
Sagoo says: ‘Many people are looking out for careers in music. They want to be a DJ, a singer or even a musician. Of course, there’s scope and the living proof of that is me. Seeing my success people want to be disc jockeys or producers. I am not only a DJ but also compose and direct music.’
Bally, presently, runs a production company—Ishq Records– that manages several artistes like Bohemia and Gunjan. He has worked twice with the Pakistani pop singer Hadiqa Kiyani.
Internationally, his most famous work featured prominently in Gurinder Chadha’s film Bend It Like Beckham.
Bally has worked with Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan for a musical rendition of Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s poetry and produced Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s album Magic Touch.