Bhangra and Its Role in Cultural Evolution
By: Manprit Kaur
Tere Tille Toh oh, Surat deendi aa Heer di, oh lai vekh kai gorkha ud di ay phulkari.
“I can see the beautiful face of this diamond all the way from here. Oh look, friend. I can see her embroidered scarf flying.”
Bhangra is a cultural dance that originates in northwest Punjab, India. It is generally associated with the celebrations of the harvest festival in mid-April. This song sung by one of the legendary Punjabi folk singers Kuldeep Manak, expresses the poetic nature of folk Bhangra. It is a culture of its own that has solidified into a competitive dance platform around the world. As globalization continues to spread and influence western ideals, the modern dance of Bhangra acts to preserve the cultural roots of Punjab.
Over the past two decades, Bhangra has grown as a passion in younger generations’ hearts. The art of Bhangra includes the bass of the dhol drum joined together with sharp, precise movements. It emphasizes the importance of personal attitude blended into each and every move, with the shrug of the shoulders, and a sure nod of the head. The culture itself consists of the music, dance, and energetic atmosphere on event dance floors. The beauty of this recently formed bhangra circuit is that, although it is present everywhere in the Punjabi community, its beauty resides in the hearts of competitions thrown all around the world amongst prominent bhangra teams.
We may have the seven wonders of the world, but we have many more jewels of Punjab, one of them being bhangra, bhangra, bhangraaa!