Looking for Middle-Eastern/Indian dance music.
August 7, 2009 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Help me find good Indian/Middle Eastern pop/hip-hop/dance music to play at an event.

I've been asked to DJ an event for a friend who has requested that I play a fair amount of Indian and Middle Eastern flavored dance music/hip-hop along with a more general hip-hop/funk/dance playlist and I'm a little over my head here. I'm looking for recommendations outside of the obvious (M.I.A., Major Lazer, various Diplo related projects) that will both satisfy her tastes and get a pretty diverse group of people dancing for what is slated to be a pretty long party.
posted by thivaia to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
You may try looking for remixes of popular Arab pop singers Hayfa Wehbe and Nancy Ajram. They're kind of in the Britney Spears vein of pop, but are heavily dance influenced and I suspect there are probably multiple remixes of each. They don't carry the same indie cred as MIA or Diplo but are eminently danceable.
posted by proj at 9:11 AM on August 7, 2009

Artists that come to mind (all available on iTunes):

Juniors 5
Himesh Reshammiya
Shankar Mahadevan
Sukhwinder Singh
Jasbir Jassi
Lehmber Hussainpuri
Cheb Mami
Rachid Taha
posted by PatoPata at 9:17 AM on August 7, 2009

Asian Dub Foundation
posted by Bodd at 9:17 AM on August 7, 2009

Say Na Na
Do Aur Do Paanch (2005 remix)
Main Teri Hoon Jaanam (techno-y cover of chariots of fire, go figure)
...more suggestions available if these are the right style.
posted by nomisxid at 9:27 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Brim full of Asha
And I wish I knew which artist(s) were used for the music in Zohan, because that stuff was great.
posted by Billegible at 9:51 AM on August 7, 2009

aha, the great middle-eastern stuff (pop? rap? I'm so unhip) is Hadag Nahash.
posted by Billegible at 9:53 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's Chaiya Chaiya (the only good thing about the movie Inside Man, IMHO). Oojami is also excellent -- you can't miss with this album (I know it says "bellydance" but it's really just great dance music).
posted by Ladybug Parade at 9:58 AM on August 7, 2009

Here's another good one -- had to make a phone call to confirm the artist's name.
posted by Ladybug Parade at 10:05 AM on August 7, 2009


Additionally, I'd highly recommend watching Slingshot Hip Hop for more about the Palestinian hip-hop scene...
posted by raztaj at 10:12 AM on August 7, 2009

No mention of DJ Rekha? I mean, it's kind of obvious, but that doesn't mean it's not good...
posted by sa3z at 10:29 AM on August 7, 2009

Dave Pike has a song called Mathar which features a sitar.
posted by juv3nal at 10:58 AM on August 7, 2009

No-one seems to have mentioned Omar Souleyman yet.
posted by galaksit at 11:03 AM on August 7, 2009

For Indian music, you could try the following sites, three of which have top 10 countdowns:

- Music India Online
- Raaga
- SmasHits
- Dishant

If you want more popular music, you might want to look at the Hindi film music first.
posted by larkin123 at 12:50 PM on August 7, 2009

Sukhshinder Shinda
Aman Hayer

And for Bollywood music aka Hindi film music aka Filmi, look at Mumbai's most popular Top 40 station's hot list. The lifetime of an Indian hit song seems to be much shorter than Americans are used to; if you will be DJing for filmi fans, they will appreciate it if you try to get the latest popular songs.
posted by Methylviolet at 1:29 PM on August 7, 2009

Kutiman's much-celebrated ThruYOU project had one track, Babylon Band, with a distinct Middle Eastern/Indian vibe using instruments from across the region. You can download the mp3 here.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:41 PM on August 7, 2009

Methylviolet brings up a good point. Who's the audience here? If it's made up of people who watch Bollywood regularly, you would go with the latest Bollywood top 10 (or 20 or whatever) songs. If it isn't, are you just looking for songs that sound "exotic"?

'Chaiya Chaiya' was on the soundtrack of the movie 'Dil Se' in 1998. For an audience of Bollywood fans, it's kinda old. For others, not so much. So song choice really depends on the audience.
posted by larkin123 at 2:22 PM on August 7, 2009

really more chillout d&b than dance, but Talvin Singh should appeal to a relatively wide range.
posted by ashabanapal at 2:49 PM on August 7, 2009

Here's a list of Bollywood songs to get you started. I hope they help. I don't dance (and prefer slow songs in general), so I can't speak to their danceability.

- Khallas
- Afsana Banake
- Saaki
- Mauja Hi Mauja
- Zara Jhoom Jhoom
- Aashiqui Mein Teri
- Boro Boro
- Ishq Hai Jhootha
- Pyar Karke
- Tauba Tauba
- Aaja Soniye
- Bardash Nahin
- Sajna Ve Sajna
- Aisa Jadoo
posted by larkin123 at 4:17 PM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Here's one more:

- Bachna Ae Haseenon
posted by larkin123 at 5:40 PM on August 7, 2009

And, one more:

- Ya Ali
posted by larkin123 at 5:47 PM on August 7, 2009

OK, two more. I'm leaving now, so this is it for my suggestions.

- Dance Pe Chance
- Ai Paapi
posted by larkin123 at 6:44 PM on August 7, 2009

larkin123 makes a good point. I assumed it was for a Western audience, based on the vagueness of the question, but the question of the audience is a very good question, and would certainly change some answers, I'd imagine. My suggestion of DJ Rekha would probably be more interesting to a Western audience, but wouldn't be unwelcome amongst some desis, though probably sparingly and sprinkled in as "classics" amongst the really hip stuff.

Also, sorry about calling that an obvious choice; didn't mean to sound snarky. I ask questions that seem obvious (in retrospect, to me) to people in the know, all the time. I suppose that's the whole point of AskMefi, isn't it?

(P.S. If DJ Rekha is a good fit for your needs, Panjabi MC probably would be too. And maybe some of the Buddha Bar stuff?)
posted by sa3z at 5:37 AM on August 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

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