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Birth of the Asian Underground 2

Birth of the Asian Underground 2

Anokha (meaning unusual) was the brain child of Musician and artist Talvin Singh. Talvin wanted to create a scene like Goldie created, with his club night and record label metalheadz. After several nights at the Rocket club Talvin decided to move his club night to the infamous and trendy Blue Note club in East London’s Hoxton Square. The club was home to several of the coolest club nights in London like Metalheadz, Stealth and many more. Teaming up with Club promoter Sweety Kapoor the Anokha movement started. At the heart of the club night was residential DJ State of Bengal who was undisputedly the sound of the club. The club night was home to a new second generation of British Asian, musicians, media people, trendies and general outcastes. It was a platform for young Asian musicians/artist to play and test their new music through vinyl or live performances.

Although the club was building momentum, there was a lack of interest from the music industry and no avenue in. It was this point when Talvin Singh approached music manager Suki Talwar to help build relationships with the industry. From this spawned the Anokha compilation, Talvin Singh presents Soundz of the Asian Underground. A compilation was created spearheaded by Talvin and encompassing artist such as State of Bengal, Amar, AR Rahman and many more. Island Records, took a huge punt on the album and signed the compilation. The compilation would later become a huge international success around the world galvanising the music industry to sign British Asian artists.

Talvin signed to Island Records, Amar to Warner Brothers and State of Bengal to One Little Indian. It is largely believed that AR Rahman’s track on the compilation Mumbai Theme was the track that bought the whole world to the attention of this genius from Chennai.

Talvin later went on to win the distinguished Mercury award and cemented his name in British musical history. Other Dj’s like Bobby Friction also emerged from the scene that became household names.

When Anokha seized to exist, other club nights appeared such as Swaraj and Shanti, but none of them had the musical or cultural impact that Anokha created.

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