SOUTHALL JOINS THE PARTY WITH SOMALI IN NEW ALBUM BY INDIAN MUSICIAN KULJIT BHAMRA MBE
Indian musician Kuljit Bhamra MBE (Bend it Like Beckham, Bombay Dreams) launches his new album Somali Party Southall featuring well known British Somali singers Abdulkarim Raas & Nimco Degun. The first album of its kind, the songs merge the musical sounds, languages and cultures of three communities: the Somalis, Punjabis and Swahili-speaking groups of East Africa. The album launches on Monday 20 August, in time for the celebration of Eid-u-Fitr and is a unique collaboration marking a milestone in the history of British music.
The Somali community in Southall has slowly grown to a substantial size within the last decade. The community hustle and bustle within the local community and many Somali businessmen have established businesses in a parade of catering, retail and telecommunication shops on The Green, close to Southall Station. The area has become affectionately known as Little Mogadishu!
With the two communities living side by side, it was inevitable that a fateful meeting between Indian musican Kuljit and well known British Somali singer Abdulkarim Raas should take place. In 2006, Raas asked Kuljit to record some of his songs in Kuljit’s Southall based Recording Studio. During the recording session, having listened to the wonderful sound that transpired, Kuljit was inspired to request Raas if he could arrange and produce one of the songs for the album. Raas agreed and Kuljit crafted the song in a typical Punjabi style using tabla, dholak, toombi and the Arabian Oud. The album was soon released and the song Dahab became an enormous hit amongst the Somali community worldwide.
Such was the popularity of the hit song that back home in Somalia, a young upcoming female singer Nimco Degan heard Raas's song played over the music system in a crowded bus and fell in love with his voice. She asked the driver to see the CD and after making further enquiries, learned that he lived in UK. She dreamed of coming to Southall to meet him one day. A few months later and an unexpected opportune family plan enabled Nimco to travel to England. She tracked Raas down to meet the man behind the voice, however ended up falling in love and becoming his wife!
Kuljit himself was born in Nairobi as his grandfather was an Indian artisan who had been sent to Kenya by the British Raj. With his innate love of African music, Kuljit was also inspired by the voice of Raas and began to record a whole album of Punjabi/Somali style songs with music appealing to East African Indians from Kenya and Uganda, as well as Somalis. The album includes two new arrangements of
popular Swahili songs Jambo (Hakuna Matata) and Malaika. Punjabi singer Mohinder Kaur Bhamra also performs a new Punjabi song entitled Geet Tere Nit Gawan sung with the Somali musicians as does sufi vocalist Raj Kumar Lagoo.
Five years later from their first meeting, Kuljit feels that the album he has produced with Raas, represents the long-awaited and inevitable musical meeting of the Indians of 'Little India' and the Somalis of 'Little Mogadishu'.
The album is due for release through Keda Records for Eid celebrations on Monday 20 August and available for pre-order online through Amazon, HMV, Virginmedia and iTunes.
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Notes to Editors
NOTES TO EDITOR - Kuljit Bhamra MBE Hon DMus (born 1959) is a British composer, record producer and musician whose main instrument is the tabla. He is best known as one of the record producers who pioneered the British Bhangra sound and for his many collaborations with musicians from different genres and continents. His MBE was awarded in the Queen's Birthday Honour's List 2009 with the citation for services to Bhangra and British Asian Music. In July 2010 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate by the University of Exeter.
The album will be released through Keda Records Catalogue No: KEDCD33 Release Date: 20th August 2012 www.keda.co.uk
Links to order the album online
http://hmv.com/hmvweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=840176 http://www.virginmedia.com/music/browse/abdulkarim-raas-kuljit-bhamra http://www.amazon.co.uk/Somali-Southall-Abdulkarim-Kuljit-Bhamra/dp/B008E2SGSY