In 2006,rap song Kali denali by a California-based artiste found a number of takers in India. From originating in one corner of the US to blasting in Delhi nightclubs,the song was an instant hit. This was not only because of its catchy and rebellious tune,but also because it gave a new meaning and direction to Punjabi music it was Punjabi rap. And the rapper was Pakistani-American musician Roger David aka Bohemia.
In India to promote his fourth album,Thousand Thoughts (Sony Music,Rs 150),Bohemia will perform at Lemp Brewpub & Kitchen in Gurgaon tonight and will follow it up with gigs in Delhi,Chandigarh,Ludhiana and Noida. His music is a reflection of his own life,the turmoils he has faced and the massive shift in culture when he moved from Karachi to California at the age of 14. The Bay area I moved to was not like the America I saw in Hollywood movies as a child and dreamt of being there one day. But more than cultural differences,the incidents in my life shaped me. It was not long ago after we reached US that I lost my mom. A number of influences all around took over; obviously they werent good ones. Had it not been for music,I dont really know what I would have done to myself, he reveals.
In Thousand Thoughts,the 33-year-old sticks to what he does best rap. The10-track album has numbers such as Hazaar gallan and Na Suno. I am a huge fan of the legendary singer Jagjit Singh,whom we just lost,and also a fan of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Then,there are hip hop artistes such as Nas and KRS-One whom I love, he adds.
Bohemia is a name to reckon with in Bollywood too,with songs in films such as Chandni Chowk to China,8 X 10 Tasveer,Speedy Singhs to Desi Boyz to his credit. Ever since I have done numbers in Bollywood,the acceptance for Punjabi rap has shot up, he adds.