BOILER ROOM INTRODUCES SOUTHALL
Boiler Room releases the broadcast for its historic Boiler Room Southall event which took place in August. The multi-generational lineup paid tribute to the West London suburb’s rich heritage of sound system culture, bhangra, and rave. The event saw performances by Raf-Saperra, Panjabi Hit Squad, Manara, Manj, Vedic Roots Sound System, and DJ Ritu, hosted by NAINA. The broadcast is accompanied by a limited-edition t-shirt and hoody, co-designed by Yung Singh, which are raising funds for two vital charities, Your Seva and Southall Black Sisters, and in the lead-up to the event, the essential documentary “Young Rebels – The Story of the Southall Youth Movement” which is now available to watch via Boiler Room’s 4:3 platform.
The show was curated by Boiler Room’s Creative Director, Amar Ediriwira, who grew up near Southall and says: “Boiler Room Southall celebrated Southall’s remarkable legacy of music, migration, and mobilization across generations.
Following the partition of India, many immigrants found a home in the West London suburb thanks to its local factories and proximity to Heathrow Airport. It eventually grew to have the largest Panjabi community outside of the subcontinent, dubbed ‘Little Panjab’. In the 1970s, Southall became a key battleground for the anti-racist movement following a series of murders by white racists and the police. Reggae dances were integral to this struggle, building ties between Panjabi and black populations and imprinting sound system culture onto the suburb’s DNA. Simultaneously, Southall emerged as a key site for the growth of bhangra as well as the daytime raves that enabled rebellious kids to listen to club music unbeknownst to their parents. This soundtrack of dub, bhangra, rave, and the beats in between still runs through the town and the many classic BMWs that cruise its streets.
For this very special Boiler Room, we took over a legendary venue that in the past has hosted nights with sound systems including Jah Shaka and Aba Shanti-I. To honor this history, we invited Southall’s Vedic Roots Sound System to open the night as well as power the space with sound. We wanted to tell an intergenerational story so we also asked DJ Ritu––who has been DJing in Southall since the 80s––to be part of the program alongside Manara and Manj who represent new waves of DJ/producers coming out of the underground. It was crucial to involve Raf-Saperra, one of the most talked-about Panjabi artists working today who performed alongside a folk group as well as DJs Bobby Kang and Yung Singh. And last but by no means least, this couldn’t have been Boiler Room Southall without local legends Panjabi Hit Squad, the undeniable pioneers of the UK desi sound, who’ve spent decades driving the culture forward while blessing us with timeless classics like ‘Hai Hai’.
It was a historic night in Southall; a celebration of Panjabi culture, sound systems, bhangra, bootlegs, modified cars, fashion, community pride, and the diaspora in all of its beauty.”
To coincide with the Southall broadcast, Boiler Room has released a fundraising Boiler Room Southall T-Shirt and hoody – designed by Avleen Sehmi and Yung Singh. Profits from the sale will be split between two vital charities:
Half of the funds will go to Your Seva, a Sikh charity that has been doing crucial work in Panjab to support families in need, as well as supporting Panjabi Farmers in a climate of neglect, oppression & exploitation. This is particularly urgent following the recent devastating floods that have further threatened the livelihoods of so many Panjabis who are dependent on farming income, many of whom have banded together to implement solutions themselves, having received little external help.
The other half will go to Southall Black Sisters, which provides holistic advocacy services aimed at helping Afro-Caribbean, Asian, and other marginalized women live free from all forms of violence and abuse. This historic organization was established in 1979 in the aftermath of the death of anti-fascist activist Blair Peach.
Please support by purchasing an item if you can, via this link. The items will be available until Monday 16 October, 23:59 UTC.