“Burning At Melting Point”
Release date: October 4, 2004
Cat No.: KEDCD 60
UK Distributor: BMG/RSK
Genre: East/West fusion
“It has always been my dream to produce an album of collaborative performances with prominent musicians from the western music industry.” Kuljit Bhamra.
Kuljit Bhamra is one of the most inspiring and influential people working in the British Asian music scene. Multi talented Kuljit is very much at home either as an artist, producer or composer. He is perhaps best know to the theatre going public for his truly breathtaking performances as on-stage percussionist in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Bombay Dreams.
“Born to the Bhangra Beat!” - Daily Telegraph
Kuljit was responsible for spearheading the Bhangra movement composing and producing over 2000 songs to date which in turn helped to launch or enhance the careers of numerous Bhangra and Bollywood stars.
He has worked both independently and collaboratively on film scores including the soundtracks for Bhaji on the Beach & Bend It Like Beckham. He has also been applauded for his stunning drumming work in the film “The Little Princess.”
Alongside his stage and music production work he has made appearances in The Guru, Four Feathers and Wings of a Dove.
“One of the most prolific and dedicated Asian music producers to come out of Britain.” London Asian Guardian
All 19 tracks on “Burning At Melting Point” are collaborative performances with well-known artistes and personalities who have touched Kuljit’s life.
Mike Lindup (Level 42), Barb Jungr, Michael Garrick, John McCoy (Gillan), Nick Beggs (Kajagoogoo), Eduardo Niebla, Henry Thomas (Rock School), Julian Clary, Lol Gellor,
Gary Crosby, Henry Thomas, Martin Lee Stephenson, Stefan Hannigan, Russell Churney
And John McCoy,
“Introducing Bhangra to a non-Asian public …” - The Times
“… has been able to blend both eastern and western music without sacrificing the roots of either.” - Asian Times
About Kuljit Bhamra:
Kuljit Bhamra virtuoso tabla player, composer, producer and pioneer of the UK’s burgeoning East/West music fusion market. His talents and interest in all music genres are evoked in “Burning AT Melting Point” released on his own Keda label, now in its fifteenth year.
Keda Records are a dominant platform for new releases in Bhangra, Hindi Pop, Jazz & R 'n' B, Underground Dance, African Indonesian Fusion, Guyanese and Asian Classical music.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1959. Kuljit contracted polio at the age of two which affected his left leg. His father (studying in England at that time) called his wife and child to his flat in Palmers Green, North London in 1961 and where they lived until 1968 when the family moved to Southall, West London.
Kuljit’s mother (Mohinder Kaur), a Punjabi Scholar and graduate of Punjabi/Sikh Literature was also a trained singer and regularly performed in the local Sikh Temples. His father, not as musically adept, struggled to learn to play the tablas (Indian Drums) from his musical brother so that he could accompany his mother on stage, watched with curiosity by the young Kuljit.
His curiosity paid-off to the extent that by the age of six, he was a proficient tablas player and was in demand from local temples to accompany their singers.
Mohinder became a famous singer in England and her family band (Kulit’s two younger brothers playing accordion and mandolin) travelled all over the UK, performing at weddings, birthday parties and religious ceremonies.
By 1976, they were performing at approximately three to five events every weekend in the West Midlands, South East and Scotland. Kuljit recalls, “We were in the process of creating the dance-floor scene for the British Asians which until now had not existed at all.
“Strong demand for recordings of our original songs grew, and although there was no such thing as a UK record industry for local talent, we pressed our first LP in 1978 ourselves and actively distributed it by convincing Indian corner-shops to stock a few on their shelves.
“The dance-floor culture was growing and at almost every performance my mother would request that the chairs and tables be moved to the back of the hall so as to make room for people that wanted to dance.
“Our very first smash-hit song “Gidhian Di Rani (Dancing Queen)” – not to be confused with Abba, became an international hit – and set a milestone in history for being the first hit to be produced outside of India. Dancing at weddings was fast becoming a regular thing.”
Kuljit’s mother recorded her first album for HMV India which was released and distributed worldwide through EMI. Despite her enormous success and rise to fame, Kuljit’s father became concerned that the family’s social status and development was being undermined.
“He strictly imposed the notion that ‘music is just a hobby’ and that my brothers and I must continue further education in University and train to become a doctor or engineer.
“I continued studying at his wish, graduated in Civil Engineering at Middlesex University and eventually landed a job at Richmond Council designing speed humps!”
“I hated my job and would spend all day waiting to go home and continue my lover affair with music.” “I loved listening to Greek, Arabic, Mainstream Pop, Jazz, Classical and of course India’s Film Music (later to be branded ‘Bollywood’).
“I loved Stevie Wonder, Led Zeppelin, Level 42, Billy Holliday, George Benson and the Bee Gees.”
Kuljit was particularly interested in seeing how he could apply western production techniques to Indian music – and in particular, to his own growing repertoire of songs.
“Indian songs sounded shrill to me – and you definitely couldn’t dance to them.
“I began to study tempo, instrumentation, production, composition, arrangement and lyrics. My bedroom was cluttered with recording gadgets, synthesisers, drum machines and a reel to reel tape recorder, which I used to slow down recordings so that I could analyse the songs.”
In 1983, came the opportunity to arrange and produce an album for Southall-based singer Premi.
Kuljit completed the album in three days in a small local recording studio to the delight of Premi who played the songs to singer-colleagues Kumar and Dhami, themselves in the process of setting up a band called Heera.
Kuljit recorded the band’s debut and both albums were played back to back, twenty four hours a day on the new Asian pirate radio station Sina Radio (now Sunrise Radio).
The local community would tune in to hear Kuljit’s songs and within a few months both albums had become mega hits.
Bhangra was born!
The Southall riots of the late seventies and early eighties had the effect of pulling the local Indian communities together. They had their own 24-hour radio station, a burgeoning music industry and the Bhangra club scene.
Buckingham-based entrepreneur Pran Gohil had his eye on developing musical talent in England and set up the very first UK Asian label Multitone in the early eighties.
Over the next ten years Kuljit Bhamra became a sought after producer and composer. He opened his own 24-track studio in Southall and launched Keda Records to record artistes of his own personal choice.
He began to tour with western jazz artistes including renowned saxophonist Andy Sheppard and pop band The Auteurs.
The studio became known for creating overnight Bhangra Stars and Kuljit was featured regularly in the musical press and on television. Kuljit gave up his ‘boring civil engineering career’ to become a full time musician, composer and producer.
Today, with over 2000 songs to his credit and contributions to mainstream film scores and with mainstream artistes as a featured percussionist, he enjoys a prime place in the UK Bhangra and Bollywood explosion.
Kuljit’s most successful project known to Western audiences is his work on the soundtrack music for the award-winning film 'Bhaji On The Beach' and his drumming work on the film 'A Little Princess'.
Since 1986, Kuljit has been presented with:
1986 Asian Pop Awards - 'Best Musical Director'
1987 Asian Pop Awards - 'Best Musical Director'
1987 Platinum Disc for record sales
1988 Two Gold Discs for record sales
1989 The Mrs Kaur Trophy - 'Top Musical Director'
1992 Nominated for 'Men Of Achievement Award'
1993 The Music Industry Accolade UK 'Most Consistent and Prolific Producer'
1996 The Movie International Appreciation Award 1995/1996
He has over 15 years experience performing and presenting concerts to audiences in the UK, Europe, USA, and Canada and around the world.
About The Kuljit Bhamra Band
Fronted by virtuoso tabla player, multi-percussionist, composer and record producer, the Kuljit Bhamra Band consists of up to eight musicians from different cultural backgrounds performing a variety of music styles including Bhangra, Hindi film, Bollywood, Latin American, Western classical and pop.
Bhamra himself has over 15 years experience as a performer with appearances at venues and festivals in the UK, Europe, USA and Canada.
The UK-based band makes numerous appearances at Asian culture events and world music festivals including Pontardawe 2003.
Kuljit Bhamra also lectures on various styles of Indian music including Ghazals, North Indian Classical, South Indian classical, Hindi film music, Bhajans, Qawalis, Bhangra, Hindi Pop and British Asian Fusion.
For further information contact Pat Tynan Media 01895 636 935 Mobile 07985 400297
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