By Ninder Kaur
As the warm summer month is upon on, what better way to get in the mood than to change your playlist to the sounds of the very best in Asian music?
Sony Music, the award-winning No.1 record company for UK compilations, and BBC Broadcaster and DJ, Nihal, have created an alternative soundtrack for the summer of 2015, with the release of an exciting new compilation album – The Asian Collection.
Nihal Arthanayake has collated over 50 tracks that create an explosive mix of Bollywood and British Asian classics. The compilation is a truly inspiring mix of flavours, and includes huge hits from iconic artists such as: A.R. Rahman, Anoushka Shankar, Nitin Sawhney, Apache Indian, Panjabi MC, Bally Sagoo, Raghav, Dr. Zeus, Diljit Dosanjh, Honey Singh, Talvin Singh and Jazzy B.
With over 50 tracks on the album, The Asian Collection is the first ever time a major label has been able to bring so many iconic artists and styles together. The album also features an impressively wide range of tracks from familiar mainstream artists who have embraced Asian sounds and influences. These include; Jay Z, Missy Elliot, Pussycat Dolls with their unforgettable version of ‘Jai Ho’ for the Slumdog Millionaire box office hit, Major Lazer whom are riding high in the current UK chart and Brit-Asian urban superstar Jay Sean. Not forgetting a sprinkling of Bollywood in the form of tracks from well-known films such as Desi Girls (Dostana), Rang De Basanti from the film of the same name, Tu Hi Mera (Jannat 2) and Tere Naina (My Name Is Khan).
The Asian Collection, is also a timely tribute to the amazing phenomenon of the Mela, which can be likened to the major British music festivals, and in the same vein are great live platforms for the plethora of Brit-Asian artists and bands. Whether you’re an avid festival goer or a novice to the Asian music scene and you fancy getting into the spirit, then now’s the time to try out one of the many Melas – the south Asian name for a gathering or festival – and where the enthralling sounds of British Asian music blast out from stages across massive fields, with tens of thousands of people dancing, eating and having a fantastic time. All free of charge!
Nihal, famous for his ground-breaking Radio 1 show and currently presenting a debate show on BBC Asian Network while regularly DJ’ing and curating events across the UK, is truly at the heart of both the music scene and the Asian community as a whole. With Mela season just around the corner, Nihal said how the new album is a timely tribute to the popular British Asian music festivals. He said:
“The album is actually like your own private version of a Mela, with an eclectic mix of sounds from the subcontinent. When you go to a Mela you’ll hear Bollywood from one area, Bhangra and Asian R&B blaring from the main stage, classical music from one of the cultural tents and everything in between!
“Selecting the tracks is always challenging as there is so much music to choose from. I wanted the album to showcase the diverse sounds that have emerged from both the UK and the subcontinent. The album features some great classics that everyone will recognise, no matter what their ethnic heritage, combined with some big Bollywood tunes that are guaranteed floor fillers and family favourites. Plus of course the very best of British Asian music which doesn’t belong to just one genre – we have UK-made traditional Bhangra inspired by folk music from the Punjab region of India, urban tracks, and good old commercial pop! Just press play and be taken on a journey through the world of Asian Music.”