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Partitions: A musical portrait of Britain's Punjabi community

1 September 2017

PunjabTronix is a new music project by Asian Arts Agency that combines contemporary electronic music with traditional Punjabi instruments. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Partition of India, Canvas have commissioned a special film to accompany their track Partitions, which showcases the thriving Punjabi community in London's Southall.

About the project

PunjabTronix is led by electronic music producer DJ Swami, along with a group of hand-picked Punjabi folk musicians consisting of multi-instrumentalist Vijay Yamla, Dhol drum player Naresh Kuki, Sarangi player Dheera Singh and Punjabi folk vocalist Gurtej Singh.

Partitions is the distinguishing track from PunjabTronix. It tells an inspiring British Asian story in the month that marks 70 years since Partition created India and Pakistan. To mark the anniversary, Canvas have commissioned a special film to accompany their track.

The film, directed by Vivek Vadoliya, an up-and-coming director supported by Somesuch Productions, focuses on London's Southall where, through portraits of the people who reside there, we see the thriving Punjabi community. The music, composed by DJ Swami for PunjabTronix, mixes traditional instruments with contemporary sounds, and the film celebrates the traditional yet modern side of the people of the area.

DJ Swami has been nominated for a Mercury Music Award, Ivor Novello and has won Best Producer category twice at the UK Asian Music Awards. He is joined in the film above by multi-instrumentalist Vijay Yamla, who explains the collaboration from the side of the Punjabi instrumentalists.

The visuals in the film (as well as the tour) are supplied by Bristol-based filmmaker, John Minton. John accompanies PunjabTronix when they play live and uses analogue and digital techniques to create live bespoke visuals. John has provided live tour visuals for the likes of Portishead and Noel Gallagher.

The first UK tour of PunjabTronix took place in July 2017, with performances at Horniman Museum & Gardens (London), Arnolfini (Bristol), Norwich Arts Centre, Cambridge Junction, Rich Mix (London), Mac Birmingham and New Art Exchange (Nottingham). There are plans to tour PunjabTronix internationally in 2018.

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