Author: Dhanika Kothari
Beats pounding high and low, lights flashing in and out, drums beating to create an atmospheric high; as JLO sings “This is the new generation..of party people”. And truly it is, with new genres of dance music taking centre-stage in the club culture. An aura of elevation is what you will see as you enter present-day discotheques and night clubs, fashioned with the heavy use of the immensely popular House music right from the vinyl of Guetta, Tiesto and others.
House – A History:
You can love it, you can hate it but you cannot ignore it seems to be the mantra for the fast-paced, groovy, electronic genre of music – House. For me, House music is something that generates a certain high which makes it compelling to shake a leg. Originally taking elements from Disco, House music was created mainly to serve the purpose of dance clubs. Initially, it catered to the Afro-Americans and Latinos providing them with a sense of freedom, since, the African-American crowd was not essentially considered a part of the mainstream American culture and society.
The trend took off in a club in Chicago, called The Warehouse, by DJ Frankie Knuckles in early 1980s and in Paradise Garage in New York by DJ Larry Levan and then spread all over the US. Soon, the House culture spread to UK and most of the DJs were coming up with their own House mixes and compositions. Eventually, Chicago’s Warehouse and NY’s Paradise Garage became a breeding ground for the music that came to be known after the clubs – House and Garage.
It wasn’t long before the electronic beats and sounds of House paved their way into the mainstream pop music. Initially thought of to be as a soon-to-fade-away fad, House music reinvented itself time and again to become one of the most liked genres of music. In the Indian Scenario, the first creator of House music was Charanjit Singh who used trance-like, hypnotic elements in his album Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat, uniting the soulful classical Ragas of Indian music with fast electronic beats.
Remember ‘Dil lena Khel hai Dildar Ka’ and Bappi Lahiri’s ‘Yaad Aa Raha Hai’? These songs of the early 80’s had a futuristic electro feel which influenced Singh’s work. He experimented with minimalist, high tempo, electronic sound and fused them into Indian Ragas. Although, it failed miserably in its initial years, it picked up pace with the advent of the new Rock-loving generation in the late 2000s.
Influence in India:
It doesn’t take much time for a trend to come flying across to India, once it has started in the West. Even though Singh had started off with what is considered to be the first Acid House, it took a while before House could actually gain popularity in India. With globalisation, more and more youngsters started becoming aware of this genre of music and developed a liking for it. When it found its way into the playlists of popular clubs, Hindi dancing numbers were left behind and House spread like wildfire.
Today, whether you are dancing in a happening nightclub or driving through the wide roads late at night with friends, it is House blasting on that stereo that keeps the pace going. It is House that lifts up your spirit to dance to the beat. What is appealing about House is that it identifies with the dancer in you and creates an atmosphere which elevates you, filling you up with a gust of energy and zest.
The influence of House in India is not just limited to listening and dancing to existing House numbers; rather it has made gifted musicians and artists of Indians. When House is talked about in India, one cannot miss out the young, talented, 24-year old Sahej Bakshi, popularly known as Dualist Inquiry. What can be more proud than knowing that the famous Dualist Inquiry who opened for the American electronic star DJ Shadow is a young Delhi boy?
And he is not the only one on the scene – the Indian House Mafia, a modern electronic fusion group, composes and performs music in not just Hindi and English but also in Punjabi. The idea behind it? To create a new form of dance music yet staying Indianized.
So much going on in the Indian music scenario has changed the tastes and likes of the Indians. We want more, and we are ready for it. This is what every Indian is thinking at this stage where the world is eyeing the huge, lucrative market of India. With the current status of House music, it should dawn on its pessimists that House music is not just another phase of club culture, it is club culture, and its future. The reason being very simple – people love to dance on House music. So, if you are listening to House right now, then Get On The Floor!