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Meet the UK Bhangra group making waves in Pakistan

Meet the UK Bhangra group making waves in Pakistan

Twitter: @ibrownlad

UK based bhangra group Sahara have been touring and entertaining music listeners around the world for years, but if you follow them on social media, it is evident that Pakistan has to be their most popular audience base for live shows. Their frequent trips to perform in Pakistan prove that music does bring people together regardless of religion or nationality. As visible Sikhs, the brothers are true ambassadors of peace and unity through music. It really makes me proud to see UK bhangra artists promoting UK music in Pakistan.

Formed by Harvinder, who is commonly known as Herbie Sahara, Herbie was born in the UK and started singing along to Hindi film songs when he was only three years old. As he grew older, he graduated to singing at his local Sikh temple and through these experiences, his passion to be a professional singer grew stronger.

At the age of ten, alongside his brothers Kully and Gurps, the three brothers joined their local Bhangra dance group 'Nachda Punjab' where Herbie served his apprenticeship playing keyboards and also singing for local bands.

Sahara released their debut bhangra album 'Intemptation' in 1993 and have never looked back since then with albums such as 'Let Loose', and 'Access All Areas'. However, what really put Sahara in the limelight in Pakistan would probably be the album 'Undisputed' which featured the hit song 'Billo Ni Tera Lal Ghagra'.

Aside from almost daily performances at Pakistani weddings, Sahara have performed at various other events including QHBCW Bridal Couture week, Coca Cola FIFA World Cup Trophy event in Lahore and Coke Fest Islamabad to name a few.

We catch up with Sahara about their experience in Pakistan and what the future holds for the bhangra band.

1). You guys pretty much spend almost three months each year in Pakistan performing at weddings, charity and commercial events throughout the country. How do you guys feel about spending your time in Pakistan? Do you have to adjust much?

We love it! I'd say it's over 3 months of our time spent here and as our fan following grows we've become even busier over the past 5-6 years with event all over Pakistan. The flights, jet lag and getting used to the time zones is hard work at first but we have grown somewhat used to it all. It's always amazing to be here and performing.

2). Being visible Sikhs and of Indian origin, how welcome have you guys felt in Pakistan?

We receive such an amazing response and welcome here in Pakistan wherever we go. Being Sikhs we feel a greater sense of pride when we are greeted with "Sat Sri Akal Sardarji" by people here - there's a lot of love in the hearts of the people of Punjab here across the border.

3). Pakistan is the sixth most populated nation in the world with a huge number of audience. What have you observed about the general attitude of locals to music, especially bhangra?

It's something that has grown immensely over the years. When we first came to Pakistan in 2001, when we released our song 'Soniyeh ni Soniyeh' from the 'Access All Areas' album, the Pakistani audiences really took to UK Bhangra in a big way and especially to our sound. Songs like 'Lal Ghagra' and 'Billo Hai' are played at most weddings, partys and events now. The whole scene has changed over here - weddings have become bigger and live concerts are getting bigger and better.

4). Do you think more UK artists should promote their music in Pakistan?

Yes! We are in the process of organising more UK artists to come and experience the live music scene here in Pakistan soon.

5). Music clearly brings people together.

It definitely does. Music brings happiness, it brings closeness, it basically does what the politicians and heads of states cannot do and brings people together and smile!

6). The controversial part: your favourite city in Pakistan to perform in?

Oh you're going to get us in trouble here!! OK, if we had to pick one city then it would be Lahore - nothing to do with being Punjabi...honest 😊

7). When are your plans this year in terms of music?

There's a lot going on. We are doing some Lollywood films, some Bollywood films also our independent single releases are ready to to roll there's lots going on. Our last Lollywood film song 'Billo Hai' did extremely well and we congratulate the producers and directors of the film 'Parchi' for having the vision to collaborate with a UK bhangra band to do something amazing like this.

Billo Hai in Pakistani film Parchi:

8). For those who are reading this in Pakistan and want to get in touch with you regarding bookings, what's the best way to contact you?

You can contact us at:
FB: /saharafanpage
Twitter: @saharamusicUK
Instagram: @saharamusicUK