Monday, 12 December 2016

Panjabi MC Mundian To Bach Ke'

Chart Peak: 5
'Mundian To Bach Ke'apparently translates as 'Beware Of The Boys' - Panjabi MC took Indian instruments, rhythms and voices and combined them with the theme from TV's Knightrider to fuse a unique sound on this single.
To be slightly more precise, he used a song written and sung by Labh Janjua (who is in the small print of the credits) and some sources suggest that the Knight Rider sample is via the Busta Rhymes hit 'Turn It Up/Fire It Up'. In fact, what I found most remarkable was that when I first heard the record I didn't immediately think of David Hasselhof. Obviously, that's a good thing in itself but it shows this was a good use of a sample, providing familiarity - which doubtless helped this song to cross over to Western markets - and a beat without sounding too obvious.

The track is of recognisably  British origin, not only because Panjabi MC himself is from Coventry but because it has clear roots in the UK-invented Bhangra sound. Despite or because of this it was originally just an album track in 1998, and only really caught on when a German record company picked it up several years later. As the song's popularity spread around Europe it finally made its way to the UK chart in 2003 and even attracted the attention of Jay-Z who added a rap to appeal to the US market. By this time it coincided with a fashion for Asian beats in RnB music though not for the first or last time hopes of a persistent mainstream breakthrough for this style were dashed. Still, it was an enjoyable track and a deserved hit. I bought my own copy the following year in the closing-down sale at my local branch of Virgin, which turned out to be a sign of things to come.

Available on: Panjabi MC The Album

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