If boy bands were the flavour of the ’90s, the noughties were all about brown bands. Second or third generation Punjabi immigrants living in UK, USA and Australia are now proudly wearing their colour and folk music on their sleeves. Among this new breed of desi artistes, who play Bhangra and sing in Punjabi is Canadian desi trio, Culture Shock. Riding high on the success of artistes like Jay Sean, whose tracks have made it to the world iTunes and Billboard Singles charts, Culture Shock too is now creating ripples on the airwaves.
Comprising Baba Kahn, Lomaticc and Sunny Brown, the three have collectively been producing desi remixes of pop divas like Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Rihanna and now even Pussycat Dolls. Combining Punjabi folk ‘Lara-Lappa,’ popular at weddings, to the beats of the dhol and tumbi and sprinkling it with desi vocals, the outfit’s production is appealing to a wide diaspora of non-Indian listeners as well. “Bhangra and hip-hop have a lot in common. There is a lot of heavy groove in the songs. Bhangra is pop and everyone likes dancing to it,” says Kahn.
The trio met four years ago when they all had the same idea, to bring Punjabi music to the forefront. Baba Kahn, the DJ and producer from Canada met Lomaticc, the producer from UK and Sunny Brown, the singer over the internet. “Lomaticc had always been emailing me asking me to listen to his music. I really dug his track Kini soni lagdia… and I brought him into the studio right then. He mentioned that he had been working with a Punjabi/Hindi singer named Sunny Brown and that’s how Culture Shock was born,” explains Kahn, who got cracking and released their first album Culture Shock: Blackmarket Edition in 2009 for free download.
“We were gigging all over the place and clubs everywhere were playing our music. That’s when Desi Hits spotted us and asked us if we were interested in doing remixes,” says Kahn adding that the New York-based website were getting calls from record labels approaching them to produce desi remixes of pop divas. “Our music was all over the web and we ended up working with people like Sean Paul, Rihanna, Jay Sean and Alicia Dixon,” says Kahn whose studio work on Rihanna’s Rudeboy… got them Lady Gaga’s Born this way… and Brintey Spear’s Till the World Ends…
Moving ahead, Kahn adds, “Universal has now signed us on for a three album deal and we are now going to concentrate making our own music. We should be out with an album in fall and tour India.”