Mix and dance
He has made the world dance to his music. The king of remixes was in town a few days ago taking the people here on a foot-tapping journey.
"DO YOU like Punjabi music?" asked the pop icon. And the response he generated was maddening with the frenzied crowd that watched their cult figure in flesh and blood. And what followed was the unending stream of music - an appetiser at 10 Downing before the finale at Treasure Island.
He is the UK-based 30 something pop icon renowned for the unforgettable track Dil cheez kya apart from his other innumerable remix chartbusters. And if not mixing music, he is listening to old melodies-making them timeless on his console, and travelling. "It is a wonderful feeling to come home to India," says the unassuming king of remixes, during his visit to Hyderabad for the `Bally Sagoo-India Tour Live', in the last leg of the tour - the show at Hyderabad sponsored by Venkys ready-to-eat chicken products. Bringing Sagoo to their hometown has been the Hyderabadi duo Vikram and Dheeraj Waghray from Sphinx Adonis Events and the people here wanted more of the remix machine.
Once on the console, Bally Sagoo is a man bewitched, in passion with the music he creates mixing the MJ track Billy Jean with Koi Kahey from Dil Chahta Hai or the R&B with the golden oldie Chura liya - who would know better than Bally Sagoo, who has been elementary in making Indi-pop a part of the mainstream international music. "It has been a great challenge, making Asian music acceptable and more internationally sounding, especially when you are working with a lot of prejudices as Asians," he says. And all this with the fusion of techno, hip-hop and trance with the music from the East.
Apart from his signature style that make his remixes stand apart, and the fact that he pioneered the remixing trend in Bollywood, his significance lies in reviving the golden oldies from Hindi films and making them an anthem with the younger generation.
Music runs in his family. "My father used to play in a UK band in the Sixties and my mother sang at the Gurdwara," says Bally Sagoo. It was no wonder then that the ten-year-old Sagoo, popular with his schoolmates at western and hip-hop music, later broke into the music scene in 1989 with the remix of Malkit Singhs' Hey jamaalo, tutak tutak followed by his first Bhangra Album `Wham Bam'.
There was no looking back for the maestro mixer as he soon got to do the `Magic Touch' with the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, featuring the chart busters Mera piya ghar aaya and Kinna sona tujhe rab ne banaya. While `Bollywood Flashback-1' with the lilting Dil cheez kya climbed No 12 on the UK music charts, he won the EMMA awards for his work Noorie. "It was a wonderful feeling to win with an Asian song," he says.
"The Bhangra scene in the UK is very big now and a life-size force in the party scene around the world," adds Sagoo about UK as the hub for Indi-pop especially the Punjabi genre of music. That the Bhangra fever has become an international wave is evident from the response he generates at his shows across the world where he takes along the Asian music and culture. "I have my roots here,'' he says with nostalgia.
He finds that there is a very happening party scene in India and that Deejaying has come to a mature stage. And good news for the wannabe artistes is his new record company Ishq Records based in UK, aimed at promoting fresh talent. The website is www.ishqrecords.com where the budding artistes can send in their profiles. "It is not easy to get a break. Earlier I used to keep sending tapes to record companies but now I would like to promote young artistes and help launch their careers. India has a lot of potential, they just got to be discovered," says Sagoo.
This apart, his fans would soon see him do a full-length feature film score. At the moment he is also working on the Bhangra album, which would be hitting the music stands in a few months. Gunjan of the `Noorie' fame is the new voice to look out for he says. His preferred track amongst his works is `Chura liya' with its equally stunning visuals. ``Video is important these days with the music channels around. Good quality work with unique style and big budget are popular. Also, not everyone goes to the club, thus the emphasis on a matching quality video," he says.
As for his favourite artistes, apart from working with Amitabh Bachchan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, he admires A.R. Rehman, Lata Mangeshkar and R.D. Burman. "I thank them for making good music,'' he says. Or do we add, thank you for taking the Indian music to greater heights the world over inviting people to dance on the fresh beats ki aaja nach lei
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