South Asian Creators Share Their Sounds and Tradition on Spotify — Spotify

July 18 marked the beginning of South Asian Heritage Month, which celebrates the historical past and tradition of eight international locations in South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka. This yr marks a very monumental milestone: the seventy fifth anniversary of India’s, Pakistan’s, and Bangladesh’s independence.

On Spotify, we’re utilizing this event to have fun the huge breadth of expertise in and impressed by these international locations. Via a revamped on-platform hub, listeners can discover fashionable Desi playlists, unique playlist takeovers from noteworthy group members, a curation of podcasts from South Asian podcasters, and extra.

To kick off the month, For the Report requested a group of artists, podcasters, and creators about how their South Asian tradition has influenced their work. 

 DIVINE, Indian hip-hop artist

DIVINE looking straight at the camera with his hands in a prayer gesture

“I really feel just like the spirit of South Asia, at its very core, is about hustling and overcoming circumstances the place the chances are stacked in opposition to us. All through my profession, I’ve tried to pen down lyrics that signify this very timeless spirit. Musically, whereas I draw a whole lot of my influences from the West, I usually attempt to decide up nuggets from extra conventional South Asian music—whether or not or not it’s interpolation of lyrics from an iconic Bollywood hit/movie or choosing up samples from traditional Indian melodies. Music from movie has been a shared heritage and a connecting thread for all of us who name South Asia our residence or have roots going again right here.”

Trisha Sakhuja-Walia, CEO and cofounder of Brown Woman Journal 

Trisha Sakhuja Walia posting in front of the camera wearing a pink dress and holding pink roses

“Born out of the dearth of minority illustration in mainstream media, Brown Woman Journal was created by and for South Asian girls who imagine within the energy of storytelling as a automobile for group constructing and empowerment. Over the previous decade, we’ve continued to function an anchor for South Asians by remaining steadfast in publishing premium, multimedia content material in order that it uplifts, creates deeper understanding and connection, and cultivates significant dialogue in communities across the globe. It’s extra necessary than ever earlier than to proceed telling our tales from our mouths so the following era has a chunk of our lives, hyphenated id, and our blended cultures.”

Asim Azhar, Pakistani singer-songwriter

Asim Azhar standing in front of a car with its headlights on at night.

“I began doing music in 2012 as a result of I felt like there was a void in our South Asian music scene the place there wasn’t sufficient tradition crossing. That was my foremost goal. What I do now could be incorporate and attempt to mix Japanese sounds and devices in my pop-oriented songs, which often have a Western association—whether or not it’s melodically or lyrically representing my South Asian tradition. For example, we added qawali in considered one of my actually fashionable songs, and I really feel like lots of people resonated with it as a result of it introduced them again to their tradition as quickly because the refrain hit and the qawali began. I strive my finest to slide in South Asian themes and sounds in my music and make a modernized model out of it. Additionally, I’m actually joyful the way it’s being accomplished extra usually and so effectively in our facet of the world now. We’ve come a good distance, however much more to go!”

Hasan Raheem, Pakistani singer-songwriter

Hasan Raheem wearing sunglasses and posing in front of the camera

“I’ve grown up listening to South Asian music, so melodically I’ve been influenced and impressed by a whole lot of different artists and their songs with out dropping my very own essence and originality. Sampling previous classical songs and experimenting pop, R&B, hip-hop with these samples has been very useful in setting the sound that I’ve now. Musically, I used to be inclined to include the sounds of devices equivalent to shehnai, tabla, and sarangi in my songs, that are an enormous a part of Pakistani classical and North Indian music.”

 Raja Kumari, Indian American rapper 

Raja Kumari wearing sunglasses and posing in front of the camera in the desert

 “My South Asian heritage is integral to all the things I do as an artist. Whether or not or not it’s the sounds or visuals, my tradition is simply part of who I’m.”

Mumzy Stranger, British Bangladeshi rapper and producer

Mumzy Stranger wearing sunglasses and looking off in the distance standing in front of a palm tree


“As a British Bangladeshi, I’ve grown up listening to Western and Japanese music, particularly Bollywood music. I’ve picked up devices and melodies from South Asian tradition and fused this with Western genres to create a singular sound, which I’m championing at the moment.”

“It is very important me to make use of my platform to inform South Asian tales as a result of not solely does it present a supply of energy and self-love for different South Asians, a possibility to construct and fortify communities, and a medium to advertise respect and empathy for one another, however it’s also a help system that may present us with braveness and assist us within the battle in opposition to any false narratives, racism, and completely different methods of oppression that we encounter in our lives.” Picture credit score: Oumayma B. Tanfous


Discover extra voices to take heed to and study from on our South Asian Heritage Month hub.

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