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by World Music Network February 08, 2012


University Challenge: The Bhangra Showdown

bhangra showdown

Perhaps a different kind of University Challenge, this inter-university battle of the bhangra talent competition hits West London this weekend. The Punjabi Society is one of the most active and vibrant societies at Imperial College and is to host the fifth Bhangra Showdown in aid of Lupus UK, Kenyan Orphan Project and the Sankara Eye Foundation.

The Bhangra Showdown is the UK's only national inter-university Bhangra Competition. The show has grown from strength to strength since December 2007 and hosts teams with ever growing talent in the art of Bhangra. The event brings together teams from all over the country to perform in front of a distinguished panel of Judges and a crowd of thousands to be crowned Number 1 Student Bhangra Team in the UK. After a tough audition process, the 9 teams competing in 2012 are: Imperial College King’s College, St. George's, Brunel, Kingston, Birmingham, Queen Mary and Barts, Leicester/DMU and Manchester.

A high energy Anglo-Punjabi dance groove, bhangra is the love child of a generation of British Asians. Driven by percussion, synthesizers and raw Punjabi lyrics, the genre has mutated repeatedly to fuse Indian folk origins with a boundless array of modern musical influences. Bhangra is a genre of riff-oriented popular music associated with Punjabi culture. It was developed in Britain in the 1980s by first and second generation immigrants from the Punjab region of Pakistan and India, drawing from music and song of the Punjab region as well as various Western musical styles. It is seen by some in the West as an expression of South Asian culture as a whole. Today, bhangra music exists in different forms and styles all over the globe.

The 2012 Bhangra Showdown, on February 11, is set to be an outstanding evening. It shows the huge significance and celebration of Bhangra music in Britain today.