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For as long as anyone can remember Bhangra has been hyped as the next big thing in dance music. Philip i Dorward met Apache Indian, the man who finally took Bhangra onto Top Of The Pops.
Side-stepping the usual Bhangra cliches, 25-year-old Apache Indian followed the release of . his three debut singles (‘Move Over India’, ‘Chok There‘ and ‘Don Raja’) by picking up the prestigious ‘Best Male Newcomer’ of 1991 award from the British reggae industry at the Asian Pop Awards.
Now signed to Island — significantly home to Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong label — Apache has had Top 40 ' hits either side of New Year, and looks set to stride forward even further with the release of his debut album No Reservations. Despite his staunchly proud Asian roots, an enormous Jamaican aroma lingers over Apache’s vinyl birth. Most of the I fourteen tracks were recorded in Jamaica and New York with the help of Freddie Paul, Simon & ‘ Diamond, Sly & Robbie, Bobby Digital and Robert Livingston. Through their blend of roasting hot beats Apache aims to tackle a whole host of contentious Asian issues. Hence, the current ‘Arranged Marriage’ single.
‘Few in this country know the secrecy behind arranged marriages.’ he explains, ‘Most Asian guys today lead a double life; on the one hand they‘ve got to respect the family and the importance of an arranged marriage on religious
grounds, while on the other hand most have a girlfriend outwith the family and they’ve got to respect their girlfriends’ feelings. Most of the Asian community can relate to it, but for the rest I’ve tried to lay the subject down in a simple and : humorous manner. It’s a tough question with few _answers, but I have to be careful and talk about it in a way that won’t offend people.’
This reluctance to offend, however, has not gone
down well with the more militant elements of the Asian community who feel he is not addressing Asian problems as strongly as he might.
‘It is difficult for me,’ he argues ‘because there’s been a lot of hype over the album and everything has to be perfect. I have to be conscious of myself being a role model for many Asian kids. I can’t be too controversial or the larger Asian community and the record industry will switch off. For just now I deliver a more humorous, friendly face to court people’s confidence. Only gradually can I move on and address more serious aspects.’
Proof positive of the success of his stance lies in the fact that he has a major recording deal at all.
‘1 proved to the industry when I won a major black award that my music was no longer a novelty and had to be taken seriously. I mean, Maxi Priest isn’t going to record with just anyone; he wanted to learn more about Bhangra and I helped him.
‘The media tries to create problems where there are none; this was shown by their reponse to last month’s riots between different religious groups in Britain. Within India it was a small and isolated problem which is only to be expected of such a large country with so many cultures, yet over here the media added fuel to the ﬁre by hyping the violence up, in the long run encouraging Asians to destroy their own communities and religious
Apache insists that his and other Asian voices need to be given a full hearing
‘We should all be wanting to learn, understand each other’s differences and beliefs. I’m happy knowing that I’ve contributed to the partial success of getting the message across, and the continued spread of knowledge can make for a more peaceful New Year.‘
Nice thoughts indeed but ultimately it’s going to be the popmobility and marketing of the records that spreads the ‘knowledge’. However, luck has followed Apache since November 1990 and it might just be that sanctuary can be found within the free loving spirit of Apache Indian — the first of the Mohicans.
Apache Indian ’s debut album No Reservations is released by island Records on 25 Jan.
‘ Valhalla, The Arches, which pinpoints
_ All our
Tomorrow’s People - no longer just a ten-on-the-tackometer 70s sci-ll series lor kitsch bulls only, but also the prevailing criterion tor Levi's M) Now, an exhibition at Glasgow’s current club
potential vanguard ligures in the worlds ol lashion, music, visual arts ' i and the media, snaps their innovative 3
little selves and blows their portraits up in to lite-sized images by means ol ‘bubblejets’ and LCD projectors.
The exhibition is mooted as a
hands-on Scottish variant at a recent i-D pull-out which centred more on London and environs. “The idea lorthe event was to make a live version of what we do in the magazine,’ explains i-D’s Terry Jones, ‘which is photograph a cross-section oi people who are doing interesting things, people who are already recognised as having some
: success in what they’re doing. What we ; try to do at i-D is not think ol fashion as just what you wear, but it's how you
think, so the people that were chosen were people who we think will have
3 some sort ol inlluence in the tuture.’
Joining the selection at portraits lrom the London exhibition, which includes New Age rave collective Spiral Tribe,
alilllated candidates, photographed by Donald Milne. 23rd Precinct honchos Billy Kiltie and Stuart Crichton rub shoulders with playwright Lara Jane Bunting and Damian Smith, videomakerlor Slam and One Dove who has also worked on interior design tor lchl til San and Fopp Records.
The whole evening will encompass more than the exhibition however, with Graeme Park and Bomba’s Scott Gibson tackling DJing responsibilities, and performances lrorn One Dove and Rejuvenation. Advance tickets lor the club night can be purchased from The Arches and into is available on 041 221 9736. (Fiona Shepherd)
the Pussy Posse and dazzling pop tarts Levi's M) New takes place at The
One Dove’s DotAlison St Etienne, will be ten Scottish- 1 Arches, Glasgow on Tue 26.
sponsored by BACARDI RUM
The List 15 — 28 January 1993 55