|The Sahotas - England's Answer to Bhangra
|The Band of the Millennium
|by Khalid Ilahi
If there is an Asian band that has blended East with West in an exotic groove and has shown sheer innovation and musical talent in their rapid ascendancy to musical stardom it has to be "THE
SAHOTAS", voted "BAND OF THE MILLENNIUM".
Among Bhangra Artist's, The Sahotas have made the most significant contribution to the mainstream market. Supporting top Reggae band "Aswad" on their UK tour, a string of peak time television appearances which include "Cilla Black's Surprise Surprise" (ITV), "Blue Peter" (BBC), "Big World Cafe" (Channel 4) and performances at Music Festivals. "The Sahotas Music" continues to
dominate playlists on leading Asian Radio stations. With 6 successful albums performed in Punjabi The Sahotas are prepared to take on the English speaking market. "The Sahotas Music" is a reflection of their experiences and their aim to spread the music on a global scale.
The unique & distinctive sound has made Sahotas the most sought-after Asian Band from the UK! Songs such as "Lokan Nu Nach", "Aaja Aaja Aaja", "Mahi di Udeek", "Sahotas Show Te Jaake", "Hass Hogia" and more have gone down as Bhangra classics making the Sahotas one of the best selling artiste's in the British Asian Music Industry.
Their profound knowledge of Bhangra, music and stage, began to enhance after winning a school prom, The National Festival of Music for Youth and performing at "The Royal Albert Hall" in 1987, the most prestigious venue in the country. The unique musical combination of "Surjit Sahota", "Mukhtar Sahota" and "Raj Sahota" created an animation of musical language that landmarked "The Sahota Brothers" in the "British Asian Music Industry".
Ambition of the brothers led them to endeavour in, "Giddha Pao", their first Punjabi album released in 1987, blending Bhangra rhythms with contemporary sounds. As recognisable new talent they were signed to Multitone Records. Creativity, passion and growth called for three more members to "The Sahotas", "Prakash Sahota", "Vijay Sahota" and a session bass player.
Public demand led to "Sahota Beat", their second album released in 1988, which enhanced their success even more. The distinct voice of "Surjit", became a melodic fantasy that females craved for. "Sahota Beat" charted at number one in the Bhangra Charts, creating a firm fan following in the UK.
Drive, exhaustion and ambition led to the release of their third album, "Aaja" in 1989. Creating a new groove, that was to influence the whole of the Bhangra Industry. Now, DesiClub sits and talks with this engaging group, read on people...
DesiClub: Hey guys, whats up? Why don't all of you introduce yourselves for our users.
The Sahotas: Hello Desiclub, I'm Surjit Sahota (lead singer & producer), Hi I'm Mukhtar Sahota (keyboardist & producer), Hi everybody I'm Raj Sahota (Tabla, Dholak & percussionist), Hi I'm Vijay Sahota (keyboardist), Yo!! I'm Kesh Sahota
DC: When did you guys become "The Sahotas"?
TS: Surjit Sahota, Well actually our sir name is "Sahota", as we are all 5
brothers! As far as forming a band is concerned I would say we became "THE
SAHOTAS" in 1987.
DC: Who are the founding members of the band?
TS: Surjit Sahota, The founding members of the band are, myself (Surjit),
Mukhtar & Raj). Actually back then we were known as "The Sahota Brothers"
(back in 1985). It was "JOHN BIDDULPH" the Head of Music Department at our
school, Valley Park who asked us to form a band! Back then the 3 of us were
performing "Ghazals and Indian Classical music known as Raghas (or Raaghs)"
at Mehfil's around the UK!
DC: Can you give us some background on The Sahotas? How you guys started, and who motivated you?
TS: Surjit Sahota, Music & dance is a part of life! Our father was a musician, he played the Tabla & Harmonium in a local band, so I guess it was a family thing to form a band and go into the Rock'n'Roll business. Music for us was everywhere in the house, where ever we went we were surrounded with music playing and instruments. Raj started going to our local Temple and playing the Tabla there at a very early age. Then I started singing in the school choir. Followed by Mukhtar who started playing the keyboard!
We performed alot of Ghazals, Indian Classical Musica at Mehfils including the major theatres in London. We won the "Outstanding Performance Award" at the "SCHOOL PROMS" which is the biggest "MUSIC FOR YOUTH FESTIVAL" COMPETITION in Europe...we then went on to perform at the prestigious "ROYAL ALBERT HALL" at the South Bank in London. We were very nervous on that night, but loved every minute of it. Soon after...this exciting new sound kicked in...BHANGRA! All the kids at school were into it and we loved it ourselves....the Bhangra Groove, the beat the energy...it was really happening. So we gave it a try...thats all we did, just gave it a try! It was for fun. We produced our first Punjabi album "GIDDHA PAO" in 1986, while we were still at school. We do a have strong passion for music. I would say it was our determination & committment that drove us to take a risk at the music business. It is very challenging, exciting and a world of possibilities. Our family were not too keen at the idea of ALL 5 sons going into music...but we explained to them that this is what we wanna do and slowly they agreed! Now they are all happy for us! We are all self taught musicians.
We then in '87 decided to change the name to simply "THE SAHOTAS"! It was less of a mouth full. Just like "The Jacksons", but not as big!!
DC: How many albums do you guys have to your credit to date?
TS: Mukhtar Sahota, We have completed 6 Punjabi albums.
DC: Out of all the albums that you have done, which one is your favorite? Which one stands out the most?
TS: We would say that ALL our albums are close to us as they are part of our experiences. Our latest album "BROTHERHOOD" - (TERI MERI MERI GAL BAN GAYEE) released on "TIMES MUSIC" (THE TIMES OF INDIA GROUP) is our current fave coz it's us right now! There is a good variation of songs on this album! We enjoy playing our songs live! The album has done exceptionally well for us all over the world. Given us air play on MTV INDIA, CHANNEL V and many others Music TV Networks!! We've sold half a million records in India!!
DC: So what caused you to enter this world of business? I mean was it for the pure love of it, or were you driven by the money factor, or what? Its not everday that guys become great musicians just like that.
TS: Well it's for pure fun that we entered music...not for the fame! When we first started out we would be doing gigs at clubs all over the UK, we'd get fanatical fans (girls) following us and even calling us at home. They would call us at all hours of the day & night...2 or 3 O'clock in the morning! It got abit too much with our family, so we soon put a stop to that! It was fun, but we never encourage it! You get alot of groupies when we're touring!
There's been alot of fun within the band...coz each member has his own personality...we always joke around when we're on the road! One to watch out for is Kesh (blehn paakhe)...he's the party dude that never stops chattin! And boy he has alot to say! At least we get to do interviews with DesiClub.
As professional musicians we get alot of repect from our fans...and that we appreciate alot. It is due to our fans support over the years that has kept us going. We love playing, recording and touring and would not change it for anything else. Music...we enjoy what we do! But we are full time musicians and it is a living for us!
DC: What shows have you guys done so far? And which was your favorite, if any? I'm sure you guys have played all over the world.
TS: Well...we've done quite a few good shows that have gone down really well. We did a festival in Britain a few years ago...it was a Mela....and it rained heavly on that night...there were 15 thousand people there! It was totally amazing...the whole arena was buzzing, people singing. The lights shone onto the crowd, it was amazing. Then there was the BBC Live Festival of World Music...we played to multi-cultural audiences, a blend of Indian songs fused with Reggae beats, Dance & Rock and Bhangra! The Canadian Festival was really cool, coz we performed Bhangra songs with English songs to mainstream audiences. Our recent India tour ws huge we palyed in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore! The response was amazing...mauj masti where ever we went! We played at
PLANET M and other locations such as HOTEL REGENT etc. The launch party of TimesMusic.com was really cool.............we got alot of respect from other artists and film stars! The Indi Pop scene in India is really happening.
DC: Do you guys have a dream venue or concert that you would like to perform at?
TS: This ones a good question! Rather than the usual Rock'n'Roll concerts......... We reckon our dream show would be "WORLD PEACE, LOVE & UNITY"! Thats what we follow and belive in. The location would be all over the world, an event full of joy! Music &
Dance bringing people together. It would be a concert for life. The world needs peace & harmony at the moment. The whole event would go out live via DesiClub.com aswell.
DC: Is there anything new that you are currently working on? What message do you want your music to relay to the people?
TS: Well we are the now writing material for our fourthcoming Bhangra & English albums...............which will be very special for the fans. We are looking forward to our tour of USA in a couple of months time and will be playing our songs live to our audiences..............SO EVERYBODY WATCH FOR THAT!
We wanna send out a good message through our songs, educate the youngsters about the music! More meaningful lyrics, such as "URDAS KAR DE HAN" (LETS PRAY), YAARAN DI YAARI (UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD & GOOD FRIENDSHIP). At the same time make people happy through our music. Breaking barriers and spreading our music to a gobal scale!
DC: Any last messages you want to tell the Desiclub users?
TS: Our msg to DesiClub.com audiences, "KEEP MUSIC ALIVE"! Enjoy the DesiClub site.......coz it's brilliant and they surely put the "BRRUUAA" into Bhangra. check out: www.thesahotas.com WATCH OUT 4 OUR FOURTHCOMING ALBUMS and thankyou VERY much for your loyal support! We'd like to thank the creator, the one we believe in and our team "PURDY BHOGAL", "JOHN TRANTER" and "OZONE PR ENTERTAINMENT"
DC: Alright guys, thanks for such a wonderful experience and telling us your story, good luck to you!
TS: Alright........Keep up the good work! We wish you continued success on your web site!
Do you have any thoughts on this? Feel free to send Khalid an e-mail @ Khalid Ilahi.