After making a huge splash at last year’s Street Dance Festival, one of North America’s very few Punjabi musical groups will be back by popular demand.
En Karma consists of four Punjabi musicians who’ve fused traditional Middle Eastern styles of music with European folk and Western pop – a style known as Bhangra.
“Party music is what we do – the whole environment, the whole vibe we have is that dance party vibe,” said Nick Chowlia, the band’s keyboardist. “Put aside the language barrier and just look at it as having a good time and a good dance.”
Bhangra first came about during the 1980s in England, as Punjabi music began to fuse with British styles of music.
Chowlia said in its infancy, Bhangra was limited to the instruments of European folk – but En Karma has since advanced beyond those limits.
“We had to use other instruments to find our sound,” he said. “We were experimenting with samples and thinking of new ways to blend drums and guitar, that’s how it started.”
The melodies and lyrics that comprise each songs is about having a good time and being proud of who you are.
“It’s all about enjoying life; basically feel good songs. And of course some boy meets girl.”
Chowlia said En Karma is currently in the studio producing a new record, and he said Penticton might get a sample.
“We may drop one new song this weekend, I think we’re going to try it.”
Before they begin the production of new music, the group decides upon a catchy concept first.
He said En Karma’s songs aren’t necessarily written to follow musical trend, but rather to share their feelings about relatable issues.
No matter where they play – the crowd always starts to groove once En Karma takes the stage, he said.
“They were amazing last year,” said Kerri Milton, executive director for the Downtown Penticton Association. “They’re known as indy rock fusion and they are fantastic – they get everybody dancing.”
“It was a great vibe last year,” Chowlia said. “We like to get people dancing with us so we teach people how to dance and sing along.”
The group is schedule to play three times at Gyro Park during the Street Dance and Challenge Festival – two shows on Aug. 28 at 8 p.m. and 9:15 p.m., and again on Aug. 30 at 1:10 p.m.
“It’s going to be a great, happy event,” he said. “Come enjoy the festival and enjoy great music.”