World Music Day 2019 is all about sharing music and discovering new music, so as a Punjabi news and entertainment site we think it is only right that we share ‘Boliyan’ with the world.
Boliyan or Bolis are couplets that are sung in Punjab. A Boli expresses typical situations and their emotions. Originally a boli was sung and introduced by one woman, and then other girls form a chorus.
These boliyan are usually passed down by generations orally. This forms a continuous and successive chain, each generation being taught by its predecessor. It is through this process that boliyan have been refined and passed on from long ago.
Now, boliyan have been fused with Bhangra music to spread all over the world to North America and Great Britain, as well as to Australia and New Zealand; and are mixed with all the cultures they interact with. This has created a modern, urban style bhangra genre that is listened to by more than just North Indians.
So here are a few of our favourites from over the years and a look at how Boliyan have evolved over the years!
AS mentioned above Boliyan started with the ladies of the pind. An exchange of folk stories with their unique own twist, a lead lady WAS joined by others as this classic Surinder Kaur and Parkash Kaur track demonstrates perfectly.
The evolution of Boliya saw live duet shows incorporating them as a part of their performances. The mix of folk tales with a humorous twist saw them become a must for all live shows and the male and female boliyan battle was the highlight of many live shows.
The duet boliyan proved to be massive, Chamkila and Amarjot took them to a new level. As well as throwing in the in-law’s lyrics Chamkila and Amarjot’s flirting style of songs really did take them to a new level and live shows would never be the same again as boundaries had moved.
The Boliyan King, Surjit Bindrakhia, his father had wanted Surjit to become a wrestler. Thankfully Bindrakhia joined his college Bhangra team and took the world by storm. No college teams could live with his voice and delivery and he soon grabbed the attention of the whole of Punjab.
Surjit Bindrakhia was huge, films, videos, tours he was everywhere and even though he sang other songs, Boliyan remained his USP, people all over the world loved them and him! Unfortunately, Surjit Passed away in his prime, leaving music fans with only memories!
The sudden passing of Surjit Bindrakhia left a huge void in the music scene. Pammi Bai was ready to emerge and deliver Boliyan in his own unique way and ensure that the traditional style of boliyan did not get forgotten.
Boliyan were evolving, new artists were now putting their own spin on them. Fan’seople were loving it. These boliyan from the late Kulwinder Dhillon were huge, and really put him on the global music scene. The love for Boliyan was still real and they were evolving.
AS Kang, he took Boliya and made them new and relevant. His unique singing style coupled with a great ability to tell stories through music saw AS Kang’s Boliya go global. A new generation of music fan fell in love with the traditional storytelling artform, thanks to AS Kang.
These Boliyan from the Safri Boys are still played at functions today. The UK band took the traditional form of boliya added more humour and delivered them with such vigour, that no dancefloor could ever ignore what Safri was saying. Classic!
New producers and singers were hitting the scene, yet Boliyan were not forgotten. UK producer Tru-Skool teamed up with Kulwinder Johal and Raman Aujla to re-work some classic Chamkila Boliyan. These really did ignite a fire among a new generation for more boliyan! These boliyan are still dropped on dancefloors across the globe today!
Punjabi music is now very different from what it was in previous years. The scene now has songs about Micky mouse to helicopters. Yet amid the chaos Boliyan are still are part of many new stars live shows. Ammy Virk is one the leading artists on the scene today and he keeps the tradition of Boliyan alive and well.
Boliyan along with Folk music may well seem less popular than in previous decades, but they are the staple diet of Punjabi music. New fads will come and go, new artists will come and go, but the essence of the Punjabi music will remain. just like everything else, music is about cycles, and Boliyan will have their day again! Here is our Best Boliya tracks of 2018 & 2019 so far! Enjoy … Happy World Music Day
Harp Farmer are the torchbearers for folk music and boliyan in today’s Punjabi music scene. Be sure to subscribe to their Youtube channel to keep up with their releases.