Tag Archives: dj rekha

basement bhangra: lucky 13th birthday bash rocks the fillmore (nyc)

dear readers,

this one’s gonna be quick, cuz my bike and the sun, the beach and my homegirl are waiting on me.

last night i was at basement bhangra’s lucky 13, that’s a lot of years for any club night in new york city, but especially notable because it still provides a unique, a rare space for desis to groove in both folk and funk ways.

nina sky rocked the stage, their presence was electric, queer, hot, think kanye mixed with pink shot through with bonnie and clyde. their vocals strong, soul cutting. at first i was thinking their covers were stronger than their og pieces, but then they shocked it with this foul mouthed tune. honestly inspiring.

raghav was dope as well, how he peppered songs with our parent’s classic love ghazal’s, oh my god, SWOOOOON. raghav is like our first jay sean, and i still get swept by his teri bathou mai. still feel his voice is most charismatic when he’s singing in hindi, but who am i to wish an artist would restrict himself. he said he’s dropping an album in the u.s. this year, lets hope it does well.

can’t forget about bollywood axion, who’s dance numbers fucking rocked.

happy birthday basement, congratulations rekha, (aka DJ Rekha Mausi)!


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nyc club review: poems on basement bhangra

dear readers,

just back from a night at the club. basement bhangra, one of the longest running, most diverse parties in nyc. what i like about basement is that 90% of the club is dancing. 20% is dancing with abandon. and 5% are touching god.

tonight was brick outside, im talking single digits people (constant winter mental refrain: why did anyone settle here goddammit, go west, go west!). but inside was a full smile, top prowl, shoulder arms stretched towards india. deep breath in, deep breath out, towards india. dj rekha, founder and resident on the wheels, was, in her words, “fresh from the motherland,” just back from india, and it was palpable in the air. the dancers that packed the floor, and floored the stage, were full smiles copernicus charted in the air with palms poised just so, insistent shouts, we punctuate our dances with calls, fuck it, i just have to write this in poem.

basement bhangra

swagger like this/your whole work day been dissed

dismissed/ but tonight we reign

kings and queens at the club

subtle hints/bollywood glints at the club

dancers spin tales of love

he’s telling me i’m killing him

i’m telling him he should be so blessed

and we both both under float float

spin chest of gold win

tonight we win


my homegirl from the bay

who paints walls with spray

moved down the way

i said come to the club wit me

she said okay

oil in her hair

eyes on the mirror

new era ella on the speaker

we in the car

it takes a long time to warm up

so she and her american spirit suck each other

while i’m jammin to


dont stop believin

and we roll

manhattan bridge skyline sparkling

rock star parking

man this country takes its toll

at least i aint in no real fucking trouble

and its basement bhangra/ desi folks so fine

you seein double

trouble on the dancefloor

she got him goin/im on stage/they not knowin




come play with me

come say to me

what happened so we

can shake it off

like a knee jerk cough

reaction contraction breathing isnt an option

moving feels like coffin


come dance with me

so shhhhh, so shhhhh

it’ll be okay

because tonight we breath


just you and me

under the blanket of bass

desi girl songs and a place

here in this world to dance



british accent

so thick i just nodded and pranced

white track jacket and nicely sagged pants

stage edge love ledge

black braid on one shoulder

chest hot solder

wrist like this

hai hai

mai mar jownga!

heart heaves

music weaves this amazing sky

full of sun and stars

hood accent

so clipped i just shivered and dipped

low to the black button down flow

he says he’ll trade me shirts

i got my steelers gold on

badmaash, bhooth, flirt


brown swan

fight a peacock for blue dawn

pluck a song

nose rose

petal strewn dancefloor

feather vamp more

tramp whore cardinal sin

red robin wind

summer kin

brown skin



thats a lil taste of basement for you. stay tuned for more on culture and politics in nyc from yours truly, political poet.



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a roopa singh film: “Cultura 4 Prez,” dispatch from election day (featuring my parents, my students, the best fall tree in prospect park and music by shamik)

Dear Readers,

At least 400 of you visit this site every fucking day. Thank you. To my students at Pace in the course of my dreams, Hip Hop Politics, I Love U.

My first independent film, “Cultura 4 Prez,” is featured below. Shot, edited, and produced by: roopa singh. Music by Shamik , http://www.myspace.com/teamshamik)


Poem 4 Me:

i’ve been away

i’m back

i’m stronger

my name is roopa singh

that’s r-double o-p-a

i’m a professor of law, hip hop, and economics

i’m battling lust and sometimes, i believe it when posers say they love me

when they don’t even love themselves

i’m like malcolm and laura on the dance floor

‘cept i’m both

i’m waiting to hear back from the tisch school of arts

because i applied to a masters program in film

so i’ve been away

and now i’m back


On my film, Cultura 4 Prez:

While government and industry both assert their authorship of the American story, the pubic has consistently voted for the arts with their hips, throats, wallets and hearts. Cultura 4 Prez, brings home this point with a vivid and grounding look at America on and around Election Day, 2008. The film poses a timely political question to young and old, immigrant and citizen; “What does change mean to you?” Book ended by scenes from Wildstyle, an iconic film that documents graffiti and hip hop poised between cultural movement and popular consumption, Cultura 4 Prez nurtures the idea that artists are core leaders of the democratic project.

A few months ago I won a teaching award which included a sum of money. With that money I bought my first video camera, a little “Flip” with an attached USB port. This camera is the first video camera to be owned in my family, and it is what I used to shoot Cultura 4 Prez. Since I don’t currently have Final Cut Pro, I produced Cultura 4 Prez in one night, using the tools I needed and burning the midnight oil at a friend’s house.

Bits of magic accompanied the creation of Cultura 4 Prez. The best fall tree in Prospect Park held its leaves for one last day as I captured its sublime representation of change. The Greyhound bus I took to visit my parents Diwali weekend broke down, and I had the extended chance to talk to my fellow passengers. My students at City College are bright pundits, and shine on camera. I was able to sneak my camera in to document my vote, and so on.

The end product is a short film with a lot to say about leadership, change, and the importance of creative mindfulness in heady political times.

Stay tuned for more dear readers. I’m a political poet, with all the news that’s fit to flip.


roopa singh

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