Indian pop

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A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735 (Rajasthan)
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Indian pop music (Hindi: हिन्दुस्तानी पॉप संगीत), often known as Indian-Pop, Hindi Pop, Indipop or Indi-pop, refers to pop music in India. Pop music really started in the South Asian region with the playback singer Ahmed Rushdi's song ‘Ko Ko Korina’ in 1966.[1] It is based on an amalgamation of folk music and classical music with modern beats from different parts of the world.


The term "Indipop" was first used by the British-Indian fusion band band Monsoon in their 1981 EP release on Steve Coe's Indipop Records.[2][3] Pop music began gaining popularity across the Indian subcontinent with Pakistani singers Nazia Hassan and Zohaib, forming a sibling duo whose records, produced by the Indian Biddu, sold as many as 60 million copies.[4] Indian popular music was further popularized in the early 1990s with grass-root efforts made by Alisha Chinai, whose albums were also produced by Biddu, and MTV India. Since then, it was Shashi Gopal who pioneered the spectacular growth of this genre by producing, marketing and launching some of the biggest brands (e.g. Magnasound) in the Indian pop scene.

Much of Indian Pop music comes from the Indian Film Industry, and until the 1990s, only a few singers like Remo Fernandes, Usha Uthup, Asha Bhosle, Sharon Prabhakar and Peenaz Masani were popular outside of the film industry. Since then, pop singers in the latter group have included Baba Sehgal, Alisha Chinai, Shantanu Mukherjee aka Shaan, Sunali Rathod, Palash Sen, KK, Sagarika, Colonial Cousins (Hariharan, Leslie Lewis), Lucky Ali, and Sonu Nigam, and music composers like Jawahar Wattal, who made top selling albums with, Daler Mehndi, Shubha Mudgal, Baba Sehgal, Shweta Shetty and Hans Raj Hans.[5] Another notable Indian pop musician is Charanjit Singh, whose 1982 album Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat anticipated the sound of acid house music.[6][7]

Besides those listed above, popular Indi-Pop singers include Papon, Zubeen Garg, Anaida, Daler Mehndi, Raghav Sachar, Rageshwari, Devika Chawla, Bombay Vikings, Sunidhi Chauhan, Falguni Pathak, Anushka Manchanda, Bombay Rockers, Anu Malik, Jazzy B, Malkit Singh, Hans Raj Hans, Raghav, Jay Sean, Juggy D, Rishi Rich, Sheila Chandra, Bally Sagoo, Punjabi MC, Bhangra Knights, Mehnaz Hoosein, Sanober, White Revoluteries and SQS Supastars. Also, Indian music composer and singer Himesh Reshammiya gave a new face to high pitch pop singing through his debut album Aap Kaa Surroor (2006) which had unprecedented success in Indian music album sales.

Recently, Indian pop has taken an interesting turn with the "remixing" of old Indian movie songs, new beats being added to them.

Global Reach[edit]

Indian-Pop has made its way to the American charts, with singers like Rishi Rich (working with Britney Spears), Jay-Z (working with Panjabi MC), Timbaland, Missy Elliott, and Truth Hurts. (A suit for copyright infringement of a Lata Mangeshkar song has been filed against Truth Hurts' song, "Addictive"). Indian-Pop entered American movies with the movie, Moulin Rouge!. Its main number, "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend (Hindi)", featured Alka Yagnik's song "Chamma Chamma" from the Indian movie, China Gate (1998).

Popular rock musicians of Indian descent in the US include Kim Thayil of Soundgarden and Tony Kanal of No Doubt. Grammy-winning jazz singer, Norah Jones, is the daughter of sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar of international fame, (US-born Sue Jones being her mother).

Indi-Pop has also become popular in the UK through songs and remixes by the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Erasure, Bananarama, and Samantha Fox. Pop singers of Indian descent in the UK include Talvin Singh and Freddie Mercury of British band Queen, (who was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and started his first band in an Indian boarding school in Panchgani). Indo-British band, Cornershop, also fuses Indian and Western music.

In Canada, Indo-Canadian musicians include Shweta Subram, who's gained popularity in the Urban and Bollywood scene; Dave 'Brownsound' Baksh (a former Sum 41 guitarist now forming his own band, Brown Brigade); percussionist Safwan Javed (of the pop-rock trio, Wide Mouth Mason);Raj Ramayya Singer, Songwriter (The Beautiful Losers, Bhang Lassi) bassist, vocalist, and producer Chin Injeti (formerly of the trio, Bass is Base); Ian D'Sa (of Billy Talent); and Ashwin Sood (drummer ( husband of Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan)).

In the Scandinavian pop music scene, musicians of Indian descent include Yusaf Parvez of the Norwegian black metal bands, Dimmu Borgir/DHG/Ved Buens Ende/Code. Newest entrant is PUNKH an indo-German hiphop act that has stormed the Indian scene with the song "Punjabi na aawe" The lead singer Deepak Nair is also the front man of the indo-German rock band GURU

Seattle-based band Manooghi Hi (featuring Indi-Pop singer, Mehnaz Hoosein,) vocalize in a multitude of South Asian languages, including English, Urdu, Sanskrit, Hindi, and Bengali. The band claims to have active members living in both the United States and Mumbai.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Socio-political History of Modern Pop Music in Pakistan". Chowk. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  2. ^ Ladyslipper Music - Monsoon Featuring Sheila Chandra
  3. ^ Sheila Chandra - Discography
  4. ^ PTI (18 November 2005). "NRI TV presenter gets Nazia Hassan Award". Times of India. Retrieved 2011-03-04. 
  5. ^ Music man with a golden touch The Hindu, December 9, 2002."..Daler Mehndi's "Dardi Rab Rab" and "Ho Jayegi Balle Balle", Shubha Mudgal's "Ali More Angana", Shweta Shetty's "Deewane To Deewane Hain", Hans Raj Hans' "Jhangar", Bhupi Chawla's "Jogiya Khalli Balli", Ila Arun's "Haule Haule", Malkit Singh's "Paaro", Ali Haider's "Mahi O Mahi" and Sujat Khan's "Lajo Lajo".
  6. ^ Pattison, Louis (10 April 2010). "Charanjit Singh, acid house pioneer". The Guardian. 
  7. ^ Aitken, Stuart (10 May 2011). "Charanjit Singh on how he invented acid house ... by mistake". The Guardian. 

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