#FridayFlashback – The Sahotas – Ishq (By Nandeep Singh)


This Friday Flashback features a band that perhaps splits opinion more than any other Bhangra band. You either love them or hate them like marmite. To some they are an innovative band with a unique sound which couldn’t be replicated, to others they are a band of brothers (chache taaye de puth same difference yaar) who sing slowly. I’m talking about bulberhampton’s very own Sahotas ofcourse.

The Sahota’s broke on to the scene in 1987 with Gidha Pao, I didn’t get that particular album and first came across the Sahotas when I bought “Sahota Beat” in 1988. Akhian sambhaal and Putt Jatt Da were my faves, and I was hooked on the Sahota sound. They then unleashed “Aaja” which put them in the big league and they became a force to be reckoned with. Hits like “Sahota show te jaake”, “Aaja aaja aaja”, “Hogayi Balle Balle”, and “Chall Balliye” were lapped up by the masses.

Appearances on Surprise surprise and Blue Peter followed and their popularity was increasing all the time. Now the critics will say they never had a wedding dance floor banger, which is true, but that wasn’t their style – they never followed any trends, their sound remained the same throughout and they didn’t imitate any other bands of that time. “Hass Hogeya” was played at pretty much every Bhangra gig during my time at Uni. They made a beeline for the mainstream with “Are you feeling” – which didn’t quite pay dividends.

We’ve chosen the album “Ishq” this week which is arguably the best album they produced, and a firm favourite of 80’s and 90’s Bhangra enthusiasts. The album released in 1991, and is considered a cult album.

The 8 track album starts off with “Maahi di Udeek”, wow what a start to the album. This is Sahotas doing what Sahotas do best. Mukhtar Sahota – who went on to become a very successful producer in his own right after the band called it a day, is on top form. Surj on vocals nails it perfectly.

“Teri Vaari Aayi ya” is a slower number but still as impressive, it has a slow reggae jam to it. This was the sound that we all craved for back in the day. You can see why many people thought the Sahotas were ahead of their time.

Surj and boys pick up the pace with “Tu Mutiyaare”, they team up with their favourite lyricist – Kaale waala sangha to deliver another belter.

Geet pyaar da is next up – this is one of my favourite tracks. The sound still sounds as fresh as it did 27 years ago. Over the years Sahotas stayed loyal and true to their sound and didn’t move away from their formula which had worked so well for them.

Side B picks up where Side A left off with “Gutt te van rumaal” – another firm favourite – that “Jinhi nikki onhi tikhi” line is a killer. Kaale waala Sangha wrote this track and its track like this that makes you think the combination of the Sahotas and Mr Sangha from kaala was next level.

We slow down the pace a notch or two with “Tenu Dekhleya” for this romantic number. Just appreciate the sound folks, they certainly don’t make albums like this anymore.

“Hosh udaake legayi” is next up, in my opinion this was the weakest track on the album but still it’s been given the Sahotas treatment.

They round things off with the solemn “Ardaas” showing their versatility and showcasing that it’s not always about singing about dancing girls or booze, they can talk about meaningful topics.

This was the Sahotas last album on the multitone label and they released another classic – Suniye on Roma Music Bank. Amarjit Sidhu managed a major coup of sorts by signing both the Sahotas and DCS to his newly formed Kamlee records, and the Sahotas delivered “Decade”. Albums such as Revolution and Brotherhood followed, and the Sahotas continued to churn out the hits. Once they called it day, it was the end of an era, and I’ll be brutally honest when Surj tried to make a comeback it wasn’t that great, he should have just left us with memories of what we knew the Sahotas were capable of.

Ishq as an album would comfortably sit in many peoples top 10 uk bhangra albums, and you can see why. It had a cult status amongst fans, considered ahead of its time.

What do you guys think?


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