What is Bhangra?

Welcome to Balle Balle Bhangra, a blog for all things bhangra. We review teams, competitions, and styles of dance for all you bhangra lovers out there and for those that are hearing the word ‘bhangra’ for the first time you may be thinking, “What is bhangra?” Bhangra is a folk dance that originated in Punjab which is located in the northwestern region of India. The fast paced music is accompanied by drums (dhol) and other native instruments.

Bhangra has modernized throughout the years and as people from Punjab immigrated to other countries such as England, Canada, and the US, they brought the culture of bhangra with them. By the 1990’s bhangra became infused with modern music and a popular example is Mundian To Bach Ke by Panjabi MC ft. JAY Z. The sound of the drum that is heard in the intro of the song is the sound of the native drum of Punjab called the dhol.

Many universities and organizations have created bhangra teams all around the world and compete in annually held competitions. Many non-Indians have even joined these teams as they are open to anyone that can keep up with the fast paced beat.

The attire wore during dances are still mostly traditional and very eye popping and colorful which represent the rich colors of Punjab. Women wear something called a salwar kameez made up of long baggy pants, a colorful long top, and a chunni or scarf that wraps around the head.

On the other hand, men normally wear pag or turban which is wrapped around the head, a kutra which is a baggy silk shirt, a chadar which a loose cloth that is tied around the waist, and a chagi which is a waist coat.

Bhangra is becoming widely popular even in non-Indian communities. There have been bhangra teams that have competed on America’s Got Talent and even performed for NBA half time shows.

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