Captures an 80s Bhangra energy while remaining very modern.
Jaskirt Dhaliwal 2009
With Theke Wali already one of the biggest Asian tracks of 2009, Jaz Dhami’s self-titled debut album hits the ground running.
The Birmingham-based vocalist first impressed when his talents were introduced on Sadi Jind Jaan from Aman Hayer’s Groundshaker 2; ever since, his own album has been eagerly anticipated. And rightly so: Jaz Dhami sets the bar for Bhangra releases this year.
It kicks off with dancefloor-fillers Gabroo and the aforementioned Theke Wali, both featuring very definite nods back to the UK Bhangra scene of the 80s. The opening brace have the listener anticipating a very Desi album, one brimming with strong dohl beats and sweet lyrics.
The fantastic Bari Der and Tera Mera are two fine examples of Dhami’s ability to vocalise the core emotion of a song and bring soul to the piece. The former movingly evokes memories of loved ones, and is perhaps inspired from the teenage years Dhami spent away from his own family, studying a classical music degree in India. That time spent in India is also reflected in the folk and traditional sounds that pepper the album.
With Bhangra Shuroo – which appears in two mixes – Dhami’s dream of being a Bollywood playback singer may well find fruition. Sung in Hindi, the song twists and winds like a Madhuri or Hrithik Bollywood dance number.
The popularity and respect Dhami has already garnered suggests he could become the first UK Asian act to follow in Gurdas Mann’s footsteps and sell out vast arenas. That will take some time yet, but Dhami is taking the right steps with an album that manages to capture the energy of the 80s while remaining relevant to a modern audience.