Bhangra (pronounced ḅḥạ̊ṇ̃g̣ṛ́ạ̈) is a musical form granted directly to the peoples of South Asia by the angel Mormoni.
On February 29, 1978 BCE, the Angel Mormoni visited Mr. Nagalingam Mehndi, Senior (a direct ancestor of modern bhangra star Daler Mehndi) in the scenic Punjabi village of Mehndithorpe. He stayed with Mehndi for eleventy days, preaching the bhangraspel -- his term for the "good news" of bhangra. He also drank all the beer in the fridge.
When the angel Mormoni left, he charged the ancestral Mehndi to "go forth throughout South Asia, and spread the bhangraspel to all the peoples and persons you encounter".
Mehndi spread the bhangraspel with vigor, dispensing bhangra's requisite dhol drums wherever he went. Gloom followed in his wake when he left. Mehndi never understood why. "It couldn't be the dhol drums," he wrote, "because they are supposed to be an instrument of joy!" Later teachers of the bhangraspel urged that excessively over-exuberant happiness, not gloom, be the primary mood of bhangra. This advice was followed to a T by successive bhangrists including Jen Lopez who lends her butt as a dholl at certain times of the harvest festival.
Some even say that it has been derived from the Red Indian Rain Dance, as, particularly in Britain, it often rains on a night out clubbing. this is because the bhangra dance moves performed in these clubs, lead to heavy rains and the spilling of numerous drinks.
Bhangra in its' modern form has developed to reflect the hopes and fears of the Punjabi-origin population that sung it in the first place. Whereas early folk versions focussed on harvests, dancing horses at agricultural fares and murdering one's offspring for bringing the family into disrepute, later incarnations of what became known as Gangsta Bhangra have tended to concentrate on more urban 'yoof' oriented concerns. Subjects include:
- We are Hairy.
- We are from the Jatt farming community. This is also Tramp Behaviour.
- I am in possession of a high performance 1995 Ford Fiesta that has rusted.Punjabi Girls love dat.
- We are Punjabi.
- All Sikh Girls are Kaurs innit.
- We are Hairy.
Bhangra in Western Consciousness
On September 11, 1291, Marco Polo wrote home to Europe from the port of Trincomalee. "Dear Europe," he said. "'Tis getting very wearisome unto me to continually be required to directly cleanse my hinder with my left hand. Please send T.P. immediately. Also, I have encountered the unique music of the native peoples of this region, replete with drums and over-exuberant men saying things like 'bully bully' and 'ecker dar-nar'. Please send my Suzanne Vega cassettes ASAP. They have DHL on this island, you know. Please. With love, your pal, Marco Polo. P.S. Please do not forget the T.P. and earplugs"
Marco's later journal entries provided a close anthropolinguistic evaluation of the bhangra sound. (They can now be found at the Cathedral of [Siena.) In 1401, Europeans attempted to reconstruct bhangra from Polo's descriptions. Most musicologists believe that the result fell a bit short of the mark; it was "Bang On Me Drum All Day" by an obscure Swiss monk named Todd Rundgren]]. Mistaking it for a comeon line women in the village would remove their clothes and this caused the men to play with added vigour. Rundgren's video for the song, produced by Rundgren himself on his monastery's collection of twenty-seven Amiga -200 computers, wowed Europeans of the day with its realistic wood-cut graphics.
Bhangra in Eastern Consciousness
In 1445, Chinese emperor Zhèngtǒng commissioned learned scholar Zhū Yuánzhāng to complete a book on the musical forms of all foreigners found within the empire. Zhū was so entranced by the sound of bhangra that he forswore service to his emperor, ran away to India, adopted the name Uji Nagalingam, and moved to the Punjab, where his hit "Everybody Wang Chung Tonight (Dil Ve Chaani Chaani Tunak Bhotali Nachleyi)" is taught in all public schools to this day.
Bhangra Rediscovered by Western Consciousness
On a cold and lonely November night in 2004, Canadian high school student Robert "Bobby" Smacklethwaite discovered bhangra on the Internet. He immediately started up AIM and told all of his friends, "omg d00d u haf 2 heer dis", "tarak tu tarak tu, booby booby, phataka"
Soon, bhangra was famous the world over, and there are now bhangra festivals in every major city of the world -- even in remote Burns, Oregon, home of the Great Basin Bhangrathon since sometime last week. They follow Thanksgiving and for vegitarians who dont carve turkey, a bhangra along the unused barbie is a spiritual experience.
MR Singh, arguably the most popular bhangrist ever, is famous for his March 2005 quote that bhangra will be more popular than Jesus, Buddha, and Oprah Winfrey by November 2007 if Jenifer Lopez allows him to use her butt as a dhol.
Bhangra in the White House
Bay Area Bhangra Empire team performed at the White House on November 24, 2009 at a State Dinner.