Malkit Singh – Sikh Hon Da Maan
We continue with our aural spelunk into an international world of music by traveling into the glorious sounds and grooves of Bhangra. This is an album by Malkit Singh, one of the most revered voices in this “Punjab by way of Britain” sound.
While much of this genre’s output is focused strictly on the dance floor, the tradition is not without its “heavier” material, and this album is generally considered to be a “religious” album extolling the virtues of life as a Sikh.
The sound is at once haunting, hypnotic, funky, and beautiful. Singh’s voice is truly incredible, running the gamut from a soft, warm baritone to a howling, microtonal cyclone of sound.
Virtually all of the core Bhangra ingredients are here, minus the overt hip-hop-isms that are an inevitable part of the urban side of this sound.
Many discovered or re-discovered the Bhangra sound when Jay-Z laid a rap on top of Panjabi MCs “Mundian To Bach Ke” for the track “Beware of the Boys,” and while that tune was indeed the total jammy, it was also notable for it’s inclusion of a “Knight Rider by way of Busta Rhymes” loop; this sort of pop culture and hip-hop sampling is absent on this release by Malkit Singh, making this a bit of an outlier in the overall Bhangra ecosystem, but all the same, it’s gorgeous music, and should absolutely be listened to immediately.