FLASHBACK FRIDAYS 010 – ‘DEATH JAMM’ by Death Jamm Productions

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Sheran Wangu Ghum De Phir De, Put Sardaran De…

Do we need to say any more?

Possibly one of the most, if not the most iconic UK Bhangra track ever made. Sang by Balwinder Safri, who is highly regarded by many as the voice of the 90s, ‘Put Sardaran De’ was taken from that whopper of an album/ EP – DEATH JAMM!

The year was 1993 and the UK Bhangra scene was at its peak with many live bands, from DCS and Sahotas, to Sat-Rang and Apna Sangeet, performing week in, week out, at weddings, birthday parties, universities, and not forgetting the regular club nights up and down the country, where thousands of Bhangra heads would pack out nightclubs, to witness their favourite bands perform their hits, live on stage, and dance the night away ’til the early hours of the morning.

One of these live Bhangra bands was The Safri Boyz – the band behind the hugely successful albums, ‘Bomb The Tumbi’ and ‘Another Fine Mess’, were enjoying this new found fame and popularity, and performing to major crowds across the world.

The drummer for The Safri Boyz, Happy Virk, found a niche in this ever growing UK music scene. Something that had never been tried before… BHANGRA HIP HOP! Happy teamed up with his brother, Bobby, and their good friend, Bassi, and formed a hip hop trio, known to all of us as: DEATH JAMM PRODUCTIONS.

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In 1993, Death Jamm Productions released their first album, ‘Death Jamm’, on the Roma Music Bank record label, which featured the vocals of Balwinder Safri on that iconic track, ‘Put Sardaran De’, with the lyrics penned by the Late Great Dev Raj Jassal. Happy also made his vocal debut by singing another classic, ‘Jat De Dushmani’, backed by Balwinder Safri. The popularity of ‘Put Sardaran De’ around the world, catapulted the album to unprecedented success – selling millions of copies, worldwide!

The album featured a never tried or tested before groundbreaking Hip Hop style, with Bobby lending his rapping talents to two of the tracks – influenced heavily by Bassi’s love for Hip Hop, fused effortlessly with the Bhangra roots that Happy was so passionate about.

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‘Put Sardaran De’ still packs out dance floors, and the name, Death Jamm, is still very much recognised today. The trio went on to release their second album, ‘Out On Bail’, which also experienced great success like its predecessor.

To this day, Happy is still very much active in the UK Live Bhangra scene, where he is part of the widely acclaimed live band,  THE LEGENDS BAND,  who is made up of the UK’s elite musicians. Just goes to show that, even in 2016, the live scene isn’t dead, but very much alive and kicking!

Artist Reactions

Dipps Bhamrah (@DippsBhamrah)

The sound of UK Bhangra was always a hybrid genre of music. Talking Panjabi Folk elements and fusing them the mainstream sound of the time. With the rise of the Hip Hop movement and the rise of Panjabi Folk vocalists in the UK in the 90s, Death Jamm was the perfect fusion of both.

Happy, Bobby & Bassi gave us the vocals of Balwinder Safri like never before – exuding power and flair in his voice, and rolled up with that authentic Hip Hop sound of saxophones, bass lines and beats.

‘Put Sardaran De’ is still an anthem today. There is so much musical freedom and creativity across the whole album that it would bamboozle New Skool listeners today. Death Jamm is, without doubt, a marker of change in the Bhangra world and continues to stand the test of time over two decades from it being unleashed to the public.

Maximum NRG (@maximum_nrg)

Put Sardaran De – simply the greatest Bhangra anthem in 90s. Right from the dhol intro. For me, one the best dhol intros ever. The track was on every DJ’s playlist all over the UK. The production was absolutely spot on. The arrangement? Epic. Countless ‘Put Sardaran De’ tracks followed, as a result of this. It was Safri’s vocal delivery that had Bhangra clubbers in meltdown. This track was the Panjabi equivalent of ‘Slam’ by Onyx. Definitely had the same impact. People would jump all over the floor slamming into each other. If you were a lightweight, get right out the way. ‘Faces of Death’ actually was something we never heard before. The intro again was epic. When Dr Dre’s ‘187 Deep Cover’ Instrumental kicked in, you knew they were on point.

DJ Reminisce (@AMENREMINISCE)

Death Jamm, for me, was an iconic album for the UK, which initiated the shift from friendly conservative music, to a new pseudo Urban vibe. My favourite records on that album were Faces of Death, Jat De Dushmani and, of course, the iconic record by Safri – ‘Put Sardaran De’. ‘Put Sardaran De’ was, and will always will be, one the greatest UK records made, in my opinion, which represents the very core of who Panjabis are. The response in Canada was huge! Prior to the album dropping, we were already regularly playing ‘Put Sardaran De’ and ‘Jat De Dushmani’ at gigs. Happy warned us about the album, so we did what we could in North America to help our boy overseas out.

Album Purchase Links

‘Death Jamm’ can be purchased both physically and digitally via the following links:

Physical Copy

http://musicjuice.com/Death_Jamm_CD-0

Digital Copy

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/death-jamm/id321741081

Bhangra Tape Deck would like to thank Happy Virk, from Death Jamm Productions and The Legends Band, Dipps Bhamrah, Maximum NRG and DJ Reminisce for their input into this week’s Flashback Fridays post.


One thought on “FLASHBACK FRIDAYS 010 – ‘DEATH JAMM’ by Death Jamm Productions

  1. I hated that album. End of real bhangra. Beginning of folk singer n hip hop age we are still in. I remember being bored by it

    Like

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