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Baker's Dozen

The Favourite Albums Of Cornershop's Tjinder Singh
John Doran , July 10th, 2012 07:01

Celebrate Cornershop's appearance in our mid-year compilations chart with Tjinder Singh's Baker's Dozen


AS Kang Gidhian Di Raniye
I hate bhangra. I’m a really big fan of Punjabi folk music and I would say this is Punjabi folk music. It’s got elements of devotional music in there played on the harmonium and the rawness comes from the folk music element. Bhangra came along after this and was essentially this mixed with a Western way of recording music for commercial ends and that’s probably why I don’t like it. The album we did with Bubbley Kaur, The Double-O Groove was inspired by my love for Punjabi folk music and certainly AS Kang is a big name in that genre. It’s a very simple music. I’ve seen him live in a pub in Wensbury and in a school hall. His live set up was very simple. There was a dholki or barrel drum, a baja or harmonium that he would be playing and maybe also a tumbi. The tumbi is a one stringed instrument, which is very high pitched in tone but effective in getting people to woo their wandy. Maybe a female would come in to do some duets. Maybe a dumbhi as well. I heard this in the late 70s. Everyone was playing it. Everyone had it. Everyone passed it round on cassette. It’s very upbeat. A lot of the lyrical content is very parochial and talks about people liking such and such’s daughter who lives nearby. The wonder of watching someone dance. A lot of the ladies liked it. There was a lot of political and social stuff on the album as well. Some of the social stuff got out of hand in the early 80s and unfortunately as more radical elements moved in, some of the musicians got shot. [Amar Sing] Chamkila for instance was one of the singers to get shot. Chamkila was the Kool Keith of his day and he died for it. He was too X rated for the fundamental elements that came in. Paramjit Pammi was one of his contemporaries. He was a household name but he missed out on how music went. Everyone was looking to put Asian music in the charts, all of the London labels were trying to get Asian music in the charts but I found that a bit sad because a lot of it, frankly, was a bit shit.