The tempo of Pun­jabi mu­sic and the vi­brancy is sim­ply amaz­ing


India Today - - SIMPLY PUNJABI - By Su­man­tha Rathore.

Reg­gae artist Apache In­dian marked the early 90s, a time when dance par­ties were in­com­plete with­out ‘ Ar­ranged Mar­riage’ and ‘ Chok There’ play­ing on a loop. That was nearly two decades ago and peo­ple nearly for­got Apache, nee Steven Ka­pur. How­ever, the 46- year- old is ready to re­turn to glory

with his new al­bum, ‘ It Is Where It Is’.

Q. Where did you van­ish af­ter Ar­ranged Mar­riage? A. C’mon! Just be­cause I was not singing Pun­jabi num­bers doesn’t mean I van­ished. I was ex­tremely busy in Ja­pan for a few years. Will it make sense to per­form bhangra there? And un­til per­form bhangra, will I be talked about in In­dia? Q. Any plans of mov­ing back?

A. I in­tend to come back to In­dia. In fact, I have a place in Goa. If I shift, I will get to see my rel­a­tives in Ja­land­har more fre­quently than I do now. Noth­ing is more pre­cious for an artist than the coun­try that he be­longs to. It’s al­ways fun com­ing back to your roots, and ev­ery time I come to In­dia, I have to go to Ja­land­har. I’m a big fan of Pun­jabi food and mu­sic. The tempo in the Pun­jabi mu­sic and the vi­brancy is sim­ply amaz­ing. Q. How big was the Pun­jabi in­flu­ence on you? A. I grew up in the United King­dom but my par­ents were from Pun­jab, so there was a strong Pun­jabi in­flu­ence on me. I grew up lis­ten­ing to Kishor Kumar, Mo­ham­mad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar; while, out there on the streets, there was a lot of reg­gae, Ja­maican and rock n’ roll. My mu­sic is a re­flec­tion of who I am. When my first record ‘ Ar­ranged Mar­riage’ ( AM) came out in 1989 it cre­ated a whole new genre of Indi pop, it was a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of my cul­ture. Q. Can you re­call a proud Pun­jabi mo­ment? A. Af­ter the re­lease of AM, I had come down to Ja­land­har to visit my

rel­a­tives. There, I heard this jalebi­wala play­ing my song, I knew that it was pop­u­lar, but not so pop­u­lar that even street side shops would play it. I was happy that my song had reached this far. Q. Did the suc­cess ever get your head?

A. Yes it did. It’s quite nat­u­ral if you per­form to a packed house of 70- 80 thou­sand au­di­ence, but with time, I mel­lowed down. Even be­fore I tasted suc­cess, I was a pri­vate per­son but then af­ter the eye­balls that I gar­nered post AM and Chok There, I be­came even more re­served. Q. Is that when Steven Ka­pur be­came Apache In­dian? A. I know you would ex­pect me to give a high fly­ing an­swer, but there was no thought process be­hind my de­ci­sion to adopt Apache In­dian as the stage name.

Q. The area where you grew up in UK is racially mixed, it must not have been an easy child­hood. A. Not re­ally, but yes, there were mo­ments of con­flicts from the Blacks and then from the Whites. They would poke us for what we are, and we would do it for what they were ‘ not’. I would of­ten come back to my fam­ily, and ques­tion our val­ues and cul­ture be­cause there was a con­stant con­flict be­tween the cul­ture that we fol­lowed in­side the house and out­side it. With time, we got used to it, but the con­flicts were there. Q. So was it the Ja­maicans who in­spired you for your dread­locks? A. Ini­tially yes, but soon I re­alised that even Bob Mar­ley and other peo­ple pop­u­lar for their dread­locks were ini­tially in­spired by In­dian sad­hus. Q. How do you re­late to your lat­est al­bum ‘ It Is Where It Is’?

A. This is that ‘ big’ al­bum that I al­ways wanted to come up with. While my fans know who I’m and what I do, this al­bum will con­nect me to the new gen­er­a­tion. I have rav­elled to 27 coun­tries in the last two years, and this al­bum is the cel­e­bra­tion of my life and work. It was writ­ten and recorded in the USA with Jims Beanzs from the Sun­set En­ter­tain­ment Group. Glob­ally, he has worked with some of the top names like Tim­ba­land, Nelly Fur­tado, Shakira, Pussy­cat Dolls and Brit­ney Spears. In In­dia he has col­lab­o­rated with Sonu Nigam and Shankar-Eshaan- Loy. I also have a song with Mika that will be re­leased soon.

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