Friday, July 09, 2004

Glastonbury gets desifyed!

Glastonbury gets desifyed!

Text by Ashanti OMkar
Photos by Akin Falope

Glastonbury – a festival that holds special meaning to many a music lover; one that has a history for being held on the one weekend during summer months where the rain pours and pours; the iconic festival which we can say is tantamount to the massive ‘Woodstock’ one in America; one where musical greats from Peter Gabriel, to Paul McCartney, to James Brown have been privileged to perform in; a festival which started with the name Pilton festival, in 1970, which has become multi-cultural this year – with a major twist! A very iconic year indeed, for Asian music, as it breaks through, not only in the mainstream, but also, thanks to the BR-Asian crew, into the ‘Lost Vagueness’ area of the mighty Glastonbury festival. With tickets selling out within 24 hours of going on sale, this muddy, but amazing experience is definitely one not to miss, by any music lover.

Enlisting on the hottest Asian talents around, Moiz Vas of BR-Asian (who founded the 1st ever Asian Music Awards last year) and his team got the best of the best; Radio 1 DJ’s, Bobby Friction and Nihal, to MC this part of the Glastonbury festival – the BR Asian All-nighter, which happened while the rain was beating down on the ‘Lost vagueness’ marquee. The anticipation was really high, with comments like "This is a moment in history. We're gonna 'desify' Glastonbury!" from Sri Lankan British Asian, BBC’s Nihal. After Bobby and Nihal did their 1st DJ set at Glastonbury in 2003, following their Sony Gold Award winning show, this time, they came with chart-busting stars like Raghav and Jay Sean, to give Glastonbury a real Indian experience, with a whole night dedicated to Asian music – a major achievement indeed.

In the words of Nav Sagoo, Senior Manager at Br-Asian: "The Br-Asian team is dedicated to making continuous waves to take Asian youth culture to a wider audience... we are always looking at challenges & opportunities where we can be the first ever player in the ever changing music scene." Literally making these words come true on stage, were the Rishi Rich Project, Raghav, Metz & Trix, Dr Zeus, Sona Family and many others. Asian talents like Nitin Sawhney, Talvin Singh and the Asian Dub foundation have indeed performed on stages at the festival, but this time round, it is a more mainstream experience

In a weekend, which was massive for Asian music, not only did the Rishi Rich project rock Glastonbury, but they saw one of their major stars, JAY SEAN it the Uk charts at number 6, with his very catchy and danceable tune ‘Eyes on you’. The young Punjabi singer rocked the famous ULU, University of London’s Student union that very week, saw his single promoted on TV for the first time and also performed an awesome set at the festival, to add to this, he finds out on Sunday that he has charted with his solo single, at Number 6 – an amazing achievement and a true gift for his dedication to the art, along with his tremendous talent. With his single having an innovative flip side, showcasing his many talents, ‘Me against myself’ is where Jay Sean the rapper goes against Jay Sean the singer, making fun of himself in the rap side and answering back appropriately by singing. Juggy D and Rishi Rich, The Mentor and the rest of the 2point9 crew did their thing by engaging the audience in a fully enjoyable show. Juggy D’s dancing no doubt set the stage alight and everyone is now waiting for his 1st solo album to drop!

The other star of the show was no doubt, the other Asian talent who has made waves in the UK charts, Raghav – the Canadian born Desi, classically trained and pretty amazing on stage, there can only be one person who fits this description. Having had his name to 3 singles in the top 10 this year, one being his solo single, which is one third lyrically in Hindi (fully penned by Raghav himself). Fans are now awaiting his next single and even more eagerly awaiting his album.

In the words of one of our correspondents who attended the festival, “The BR-Asian Experience summed up that Asian music is finally coming of age, and also a serious contender to how Asian music is appreciated and influencing musical tastes in Western societies. The only downer was that there were no female performers, which is a shame.”

Moiz Vas hopes that this Asian experience will go on, in tune with Glastonbury not just being though of as a punk-rock festival, but one of diverse world music, with something for everyone: "We hope this will be an event that will encourage Br-Asians to exchange their high heels and dancing shoes for wellies - gum boots - and join us at Glastonbury over the forthcoming years."