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Talent and style; Terry Grimley reports on an exhibition reflecting the range of music being made by British Asians.

Byline: Terry Grimley

Birmingham photographer Jaskirt Dhaliwal has a dream: that in 50 or one hundred years' time people researching the history of British Asian The term British Asian is used to denote a person of South Asian ancestry or origin, who was born in or was an immigrant to the United Kingdom. Britain has a large Southern Asian population due to British India once being the most populous portion of the former British Empire.  music will be consulting a book of her photographs.

It's one of a group of themes - women footballers and residents of Bearwood are two others - which the 24 year-old has been exploring in the last few years. An exhibition just opened at The Drum shows how this one is shaping up, with portraits of 21 musicians working in a wide variety of musical styles, photographed in locations of their own choosing.

"I started this body of work a couple of years ago and it started differently to how it ended up," she explains.

"At first I was interested in musicians who went against the stereotype of Asian music Asian music is an interesting loose term that encompasses numerous different musical styles originating from a large number of Asian cultures. For more specific information, try:
  • Asian jazz
  • Buddhist music
  • Bhangra

, anyone that wasn't doing Bollywood or bhangra bhangra (bhängˑ·r),
n Latin name:
Eclipta alba;
. But as it progressed I was approached by the Drum to exhibit the work and I decided there was no way I could not include them, so now I have included everyone in all music genres This list is split into four separate pages:
Music can be divided into genres in many different ways. These classifications are often arbitrary and controversial, and closely related styles often overlap.

"I've shot nearly 30 musicians and I've been photographing them in places that have special significance for them. It's made it harder but it's added so much to the work - it's documented their personal history."

Jaskirt says that working as a freelance for BBC BBC
 in full British Broadcasting Corp.

Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927.
 Asian Network in 2006 first alerted her to the quantity of Asian musical talent and the wide range of musical styles it covered.

"That's what really opened my eyes to so many talented people. I think it's important that they are all recognised for their achievements - people like M.I.A., who sang on the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire and performed at the Grammies, or Kapil Travedi, the drummer with the Mystery Jets.

"One thing I really found is that people talk about the support of their families. Kapil was saying that it was blind faith on the part of his mother that he was going to be a musician. It's fantastic to see all that talent and the range of it. The common denominator common denominator
1. Mathematics A quantity into which all the denominators of a set of fractions may be divided without a remainder.

2. A commonly shared theme or trait.
 is that all these musicians are probably third generation Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Nepalese, but they're involved in such a range of music including rock, drum'n' bass, MCs and hip hop."

About a quarter of the subjects are Birmingham musicians, including singer-songwriter Vijay Kishore, who has been compared to Jeff Buckley by the NME NME Name
NME Enemy
NME New Musical Express
NME Neisseria Meningitidis
NME New Molecular Entities (US FDA New Drug Approval reports)
NME Network Management Ethernet
NME New Music Express
 and whose debut album is released on Monday.

"When I started I had to keep it local but, as I got Arts Council funding, it gave me leeway to go to London and other places," Jaskirt says.

"But there's very strong Midland talent. There's loads, in Birmingham especially, because I know of them through my work with the Asian Network. It's brilliant for me as a Brummie, and I don't have any plans to move away. There's so much artistic talent in Birmingham - I think it should be shouted about more."

Jaskirt calculates that there is another five or ten years' work in the music project. She spent much of last year as resident photographer on a cruise ship, a job she spotted in The British Journal of Photography. That enabled her to build up two further bodies of work - one a series of portraits of her remarkably international fellow crew members, the other a series of strangers encountered on the streets of various ports in the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and North America. Two other series, devoted to women footballers and "football landscapes", reflect her passion for the beautiful game.

"I want to really expand the women footballers series. I'd like to do not just the England team but players in Germany, United States and China, especially with the World Cup coming up."

As a fan, her own allegiance is to Birmingham City Ladies and Liverpool FC. Explaining the latter, she says: "It was the Ian Rush-John Barnes team when I was very young. I didn't realise at the time that Birmingham City and Aston Villa existed. My parents didn't know anything about football."


Jaskirt Dhaliwal with musicians Vijay Kishore and Nuphlo. Photographer Jaskirt Dhaliwal at the Drum
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 10, 2009
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