Bally Sagoo

Bally Sagoo

Bally Sagoo (born Baljit Singh Sagoo) is a British Asian musician and DJ who was born in Ranjit Nagar, Delhi, India but grew up in Birmingham, England, in a predominantly Black neighbourhood, influenced by disco, rap and Motown music. In an interview "Re-mixing Identities: "Off" The Turn-Table," Bally said:

"Indian music was Indian music. So I just left that side of things and I moved into the Western side of things and I was getting into English and American music... I was a typical example of someone who didn't know what Asian people were about. I was too much into the Western society business. My friends were mainly black and I didn't have many Asian mates because of, talking fifteen years ago you know, we didn't have funky Asian music... Then all of a sudden things just changed. I just got so much into it and my mates were like 'my god Bally Sagoo's doing Indian music.'"

He gained success as a DJ in the club scene and broke into music by revamping old Bollywood hits and fusing them with hip hop. He is widely credited as one of the original pioneers of what is now modern Indian music, and for triggering the explosion of modern Bhangra pop music (although his music was and is more a fusion of Western dance and hip hop with existing Indian music). This is specifically seen in his 1994 album Bollywood Flashback, followed up with Rising From The East in 1996. Bally runs a production company named Ishq Records that manages several artistes like Bohemia and Gunjan. He has worked twice with the Pakistani pop singer Hadiqa Kiyani.

On an international scale, his most famous work features prominently in Gurinder Chadha's film Bend It Like Beckham. He worked together with Amitabh Bachchan for a musical rendition of Harivansh Rai Bachchan's poetry and produced Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's album Magic Touch.

Sagoo, Bhangra, and Racial Identity

Because the music of Bally Sagoo and other Bhangra artists is often considered to be a mixture of cultural influences, such as "Punjabi-South Asian origins fused with Western/black dances musics," a common question that arises in studies of the genre is to what extent the "Asian" or Indian identity in modern British society is defined by the Bhangra music. Although some scholars have argued that Bhangra, as a musical genre in which mainly British Asians participate, has worked to separate the Asians and Indians of Britain from the Africans and blacks they joined in the early 1980s as part of the anti-racist movement, many of the artists, including Sagoo, see the two cultures working together just as much as ever.

Sagoo, known more for his Bollywood remixes than his original music, has stated in interviews that "what we need is more hip-hop, more streetbeats, more hard-hitting black music with (Asian and British) influences". Although he does have ideas of bringing Indian music together with other cultural music styles like Arabian music, his favorite genre to collaborate with is black hip-hop. Also, he rejects the idea that Bhangra is attempting to carve out a more-developed identity for British Asians, claiming instead that the music "incorporates black music, Indian music, all kinds of flavours" and that therefore, instead of defining a new identity for British Asians, his music in a way upholds the old identity, where British Asians and blacks are closely connected to each other through common experience.


  • Bally Sagoo In The Mix
  • Bollywood Flashback (1994, Columbia)
  • Essential Ragga (1992, Oriental Star)
  • Rising From The East (1996, Higher Ground/Columbia)
  • Star Crazy (1991)
  • Star Crazy 2 (1997)
  • The Story So Far
  • Soundtracks For Your Life (1999, Omni Park)
  • Bollywood Flashback 2 (2000, Oriental Star)
  • Dub of Asia (2000, Ishq)
  • Wham Bam Bhangra Remixes
  • Wham Bam V.2: Second Massacre
  • Asian Groove (Putumayo World Music compilation, 2002), track #10 "Noorie"
  • Anything But Silent (E.P.) (2001)
  • Hanji (2003, Ishq)
  • Sajna Ve Sajna - Punjabi Film Soundtrack (2007, T-Series)
  • Bally Sagoo Presents Qawwali Meets Reggae (2008)


  • Housee and Dar, "Re-Mixing Identities Off The Turn-Table."

External links

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