In search of his Punjabi roots
About Navtej Singh Rehal
For leadsinger Navtej, Bombay Rockers creates a way to connect with the roots of his indian family
Navtej was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, by Indian parents, and as such, he has his roots in India. He grew up in the multicultural suburb Nørrebro and went through the whole public school system - from nursery to high school in Denmark, except for two years, where he went to school in India and, as he states it: "experienced his own culture".
Navtej has always played music, but more seriously became engaged in it during his gymnasium period. At the age of 13 he began to dance hiphop, funk, breakdance and Indian bhangra (the name of both a music genre and a dance style). He has performed many places with song and dance, especially bhangra, at multi-ethnic culture arrangements around Seeland.
Navtej is Sikh (a people characterised by the special turban), and his parents are from the North-Indian state Punjab. He speaks fluently Punjabi and Danish. He travels to India almost every year and is very fascinated by the Bhangra music, as well as of India´s many folk music styles.
Bhangra is a folk dance/music style from Punjab. The special thing about Bhangra is the hard-hitting and moving rhythms (e.g. from instruments such as dhol, tabla, tumbi and dholki), mixed with songs from old folksongs (from the fields, weddings, and other traditions). The different folk songs are called tappe, boliyaan, and log geet in Indian language.
Bhangra has always been a music style of joy, where people forget poverty and life conditions for a moment, and enjoy song and dance and gets connected with the music.
ABOUT BOMBAY ROCKERS
25-year-old Indian Navtej Singh Rehal is the lead singer in Bombay Rockers - a duo, based in Denmark, consisting of Thomas Sardorf (Vocals & Keyboards) and Navtej Singh Rehal (Vocals, Guitar & Keyboards)
Together with the Danish producer Janus Bosen Barnewitz, the band aims at creating a fusion between Bhangra and Western musical expressions such as R&B, pop, and hiphop.
Performance-wise Bombay Rockers puts on an electrifying live-performance which includes break-dancers, Indian folk and belly-dancers. A real Indian "Masala" (which means "spicy").
An "Indian Masala" from Denmark, now superstars in India
In 2002, the Indian singer Navtej (Naf) was introduced to the Scandinavian producer-team WCA (Thomas Sardorf and Janus Barnewitz) and started out mixing a hybrid of R&B, Hip Hop and Bhangra-influenced vocals, reflecting on their varied cultural backgrounds.
Naf, 25, delivers the Indian vocals. Thomas, also 25, performs with English vocals.
Their first collaboration, "Ari Ari", got massive national airplay in Denmark and became a favourite of leftfield DJs. In July 2003, Bombay Rockers went on stage with the house duo Filur at Roskilde Festival in front of roughly 20,000 people. A month later they were performing in the "Images of Asia" festival, as well as playing numerous concerts in Copenhagen and the rest of Denmark. In February 2003, they performed with the famous English DJ project Panjabi MC.
“Sexy Mama”, their follow-up, released in late 2003, was the first official single from their album “Introducing... ”. This track again received airplay all over the country. The next hit single “Rock tha Party” became a major radio hit. Danish national radio had it on A-rotation, it was on top of the Danish Dance Chart and the Danish Single Chart. It was published on various compilations released in Denmark throughout 2004. While their third single and video for "Wild Rose" (shot in the beautiful city of Dubai) and debut album “Introducing...” are being promoted in Denmark. Bombay Rockers´ debut album is about to be released in more than 32 countries world-wide in 2005. In Germany "Sexy Mama" was released in mid-2005 and is getting a lot of airplay and buzz.
And more, the Rockers are enjoying great success in India. Their album has sold more than 100,000 copies total and has now gone five times platinum. #1 for more than 15 weeks straight on the Indian Album Charts. Supporting act for the popband Westlife at gigs in Dubai and Bahrain.
Bombay Rockers first realease was the single hit "Ari Ari"
Debutalbum has sold five times platinum in India
This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.
(08 August 03 - 26 September 03)