Punjabi music festival energized the Oliver Community Park

The Bhangra beat in Oliver

The two-day Indian music festival and charity event injected a serious dose of energy into Oliver Community Park last weekend despite a poor turnout, with live performances by various artists Saturday evening including a number of major Bhangra artists.

This included artists like Deep Jandu, Roach KiLLA, Jassa Dhillon and En Karma. While the crowd was noticeably thin, those in attendance got to enjoy world-class performances by some of the hottest acts around.

Speaking to the Times Chronicle • Castanet, Pip Dhaliwal the drummer for En Karma, a Vancouver-based Bhangra band, noted that Bhangra music has a universal appeal.

“Music is a universal language. You don’t have to know what we’re saying,” he says noting that they try to translate the best they can but at the end of the day “the music that we play is all about a celebration about having a good time, so that resonates.”

Inder Kooner, the frontman for the band, adds that you can see this energy when the band is performing. “When we’re performing I mean, you can feel the energy and it’s not only that we’re off energy, we feed off the energy of the crowd.”

Dhaliwal notes that the band has been around for a few years and plays across the country. “We have the privilege as one of the only live Bhangra dhol fusian band in North America,” he says explaining that the dhol is a traditional Punjabi drum.

“We’ve had the privilege for many, many years to play many, many festivals around Canada representing Punjabi culture and multiculturalism.”

Dhaliwal and Nick Chowlia, who plays keyboard for the band both hail from the UK where they launched their musical start.

“We started off with a live Bhangra band in the UK and now we come here to North America and it’s just now started off as a new culture.

And it kind of worked out for us because we were representing Bhangra in the UK and now we’re here in North America so it’s kind of good timing because we’re representing Bhangra and people here are catching on,” says Chowlia.

He adds that some of the most fun they have as a band is bringing the culturally infused Bhangra to other communities, “they love it!” he says. “I don’t know how many times at music festivals or a local show in North Vancouver, or Montreal, or in Osoyoos on Canada Day where people came up and are like ‘we really needed this!’”

Despite the poor turnout for the event, the band says that they will absolutely be back next year. Dhaliwal says they’ve performed in front of 25,000 people and they are just as happy in front of a handful of people but stress that an event like this year’s will surely get bigger and better.

The event was organized by Lower Mainland-based Desi Junction.

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