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Asian music off BBC radar

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OVERLOOKED: Asian music experts such as Yasser from BBC Asian Network were not invited to be on the panel (Photo: BBC/Joel Anderson)

OVERLOOKED: Asian music experts such as Yasser from BBC Asian Network were not invited to be on the panel (Photo: BBC/Joel Anderson)

Broadcasters slammed over ‘Sound of 2016’ selectors

The much awaited ‘BBC Sound of 2016’ long list has been announced but no sooner has it struck a dissonant chord with one of the country’s leading ethnic music publicists.

Pedro Carvalho has taken issue with the composition of the panel that voted for the top 15 up and coming artistes to look out for in the coming year.

The panel comprised 144 people but Mr Carvalho said there was not a single person who had experience in British Asian music.

“In my opinion, that is a big oversight. Actually it is more than a big oversight if you think that the BBC has a radio station that they pay £2 million or £3 million a year to run and they are not actually considering anybody within that station that is good enough to be on that panel of British Asian music,” he said referring to the British Asian Network.

“They have programmes such as those presented by Yasser on Friday which is all about new British Asian music and not one of those presenters, producers, or anybody in management from that radio station was either on the panel.

“The panel didn’t even consist of anybody from a record company that has British Asian artistes, or any radio station in UK or magazine that would know of such acts that are breaking into mainstream.

“The funny thing is that in previous years they have had people from the BBC Asian Network ... there is something severely wrong with this list.”

In announcing the names on the panel, the BBC said: “Although the panel includes a selection of the BBC’s most respected new music presenters and producers, the majority of the pundits are from newspapers, magazines, blogs, commercial radio & TV.

“This year’s list also includes organisers and bookers for some of the biggest UK music festivals like Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and T in the Park, plus lead editorial figures and music curators at music streaming services such as YouTube, Spotify and Deezer.

“We hope to represent a huge spectrum of music from across the world, covering a diverse range of musical styles and backgrounds.”

But Mr Carvalho said they fell far short of their intended goal because the list consisted of mainly mainstream people.

“The start of the list is, and I am being very blunt about this, a very White list and very few of them are focused towards any kind of other genre of music other than that which falls into mainstream society,” he added.

“It’s got five or six people from BBC 1 Xtra, very few from other stations such as Capital Xtra but nobody from the BBC Asian Network, nobody from any Asian organisation that has anything to do with Asian artistes and therefore how can it be fair? How can it be equally diverse?

“I would like an answer from the BBC as to why they have not chosen anybody of Asian background who knows about British Asian music breaking into mainstream to sit on the panel?”

The BBC said in a statement; “The BBC Music Sound of 2016 panel is made up of over 140 passionate music industry experts. They represent a broad knowledge of all music genres, including up and coming Asian artists, as their day jobs are to showcase the best of all new music to a wide audience. By not using a predetermined list the ‘Sound Of…’ is open to new artists across all genres.”

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Track of the year!

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Soni Soni Selfiyan- Maz Bonafide 5 (800x472)

Maz Bonafide’s ‘Soni Soni Selfiyan’ smashes over a quarter of a million views within days of release

Soni Soni Selfiyan- Maz Bonafide 4 (299x450)It comes as no surprise as Maz, who’s one half of the award-winning UK Asian music duo ‘Bonafide’, racked up tens of thousands of views within hours of it’s release on YouTube.

Following on from the worldwide success of his first solo single ‘Jaan’, Maz Bonafide has now got everyone groovin’ to a mind-blowing anthem ‘Soni Soni Selfiyan’, which he has written and composed himself.

The entertaining dance floor track is very much aimed at the millions of people who click selfies on a daily basis and has been produced by acclaimed music makers 'Bloodline'.

Fresh from his North America Tour Maz says: “I literally wrote and composed the whole song in a couple of hours!

“I wanted to write a fun up-tempo track dedicated to the current selfie phenomenon, which has swept across the globe and become so popular on social media.

“Everywhere you go these days fans want selfies. When I’m out and about; be it here in the UK or another part of the world, fans want to take selfies.

“It’s no longer just about meet and greet, everyone wants to capture the moment. So naturally I wanted to give back to all, say a thank you for all the love and support and what better way to do this than portray this in my music and capture the fun and excitement.”

Maz Bonafide Soni Soni Selfiyan COVER (300x300)Starring the tremendously stunning Jasmin Walia (The only way is Essex, Towie, Desi rascals fame) and set in a luxurious venue ‘Arabian Nites’ in Birmingham, the big budget video has caused quite a stir.

As part of Bonafide, Maz along with his partner in rhyme, Ziggy recently collaborated with Bilal Saeed to give us the beautiful melodic summer hit 'memories'.

With ‘Soni Soni Selfiyan’ the popular British-Pakistani singer is hoping to expand his musical horizons and reach out to even more people.

“I enjoy both working as a solo artist as well as being a part of Bonafide.

“We like to switch it up and make each release fresh and different to our previous songs hence I followed up a romantic number 'Memories' with a fun up-tempo song many people will be able to relate to. I really hope people make Soni Soni Selfiyan their own,” said Maz.

Well maz, you’ve got us at Asian Express hooked on the track – can’t wait to hear what you’ve got lined up next!

Soni Soni Selfiyan- Maz Bonafide 6 (800x532)

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Mughal India brought to life

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Dara - Ali Mola

Mughal India in 1659, the imperial court, a place of opulence and excess; music, eunuchs and harems, witnesses a battle of wills.

Two brothers, whose mother’s death inspired the Taj Mahal, are heirs to this Muslim empire. Now they fight ferociously for succession.

Dara, the crown prince, has the love of the people – and of his emperor father – but younger brother Aurangzeb holds a different vision for India's future. Islam inspires poetry in Dara and puritanical rigour in Aurangzeb.

Can Jahanara, their beloved sister, assuage Aurangzeb's resolve to seize the Peacock Throne and purge the empire?

Spanning the princes’ lives from cradle to grave, ‘Dara’ is an intense domestic drama which is brought to life even more with a stunning score by composer Niraj Chag (Much Ado About Nothing, RSC, 2012).

The soundtrack to ‘Dara’ takes root in classical Indian music and Qawwali, the devotional music of Sufism. Chag’s score brilliantly combines traditional Indian instruments – such as the santoor, Indian classical violin and Indian percussion – with touches of sharper, modern sounds and textures, invoking the opulence of the royal courts of the enigmatic Mughal Empire.

The lead track, ‘Ali Mola’, a Qawwali piece, accompanies the scene when Dara goes to see a Sufi mystic for a blessing before embarking on a war. During the scene the mystic tells Dara a story so profound the prince finds himself moved to tears.

The experience of religious ecstasy through the repetition of Qawwali chants at the core of Sufi devotional music, along with the elements of Indian classical music, mirror both the Mughal setting of the play and Dara’s own experience.

Adapted by Tanya Ronder from Shahid Nadeem’s play, originally performed by Ajoka Theatre, Pakistan, Dara opens in the Lyttelton Theatre on 27th January 2015.

 

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