Why Punjabi singer Diljit Dosanjh is selling Rogers Arena is a big deal

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Diljit Dosanjh made history on June 19 by becoming the first Indian artist to perform at Rogers Arena.

The Punjabi singer and actor, who performed in Vancouver for his Born To Shine world tour, also sold out the venue’s 18,000 seats.

Although Punjabi artists have been performing in Canada since the 1960s, many believe that Dosanjh’s performance marked a turning point for Punjabi music.

“It seemed like every single person from Surrey, Vancouver, Burnaby was there,” said DJ Intense, a Surrey-based music producer and one of the thousands who came to see Dosanjh perform.

He says Dosanjh helped bring Punjabi music from the fringe to the mainstream.

Diljit Dosanjh has helped bring Punjabi music to the mainstream, says Surrey-based music producer DJ Intense. (Diljit Dosanjh Facebook)

“It’s finally gotten to this point where it needs to be recognized as…actually mainstream,” he said on CBC. On the coast.

Dosanjh released his debut album in 2004. His 12th album, The Moon Child Eraentered the Billboard Top Canadian Albums Chart in 2021. He also recently collaborated with Canadian rapper Tory Lanez on the song Driver.

Harpo Mander, managing director of Surrey’s annual cultural festival 5X Fest, says Dosanjh’s music speaks to people like her.

“For someone like me who is Punjabi but grew up in the Diaspora, he really merges those different parts of my identity in the music he creates,” Mander told Stephen Quinn on CBC. The first edition.

She says Punjabi music traditionally helps immigrants stay in touch with their culture; now artists like Dosanjh have created a new kind of pop music.

“The reason why Punjabi music resonates so much and does what it does is because it starts to dream really big.”

Many also believe Dosanjh’s music helps second- and third-generation Punjabi Canadians feel at home, while connecting them to their roots.

Gurnaz Sandhu, a Vancouver-based actress and content creator, says she learns Punjabi words by listening to Dosanjh’s music.

Dosanjh’s use of words from Theth Punjabi — rural, conversational Punjabi — has a big influence on young people living in the West, says Gurnaz Sandhu, a Vancouver-based actor and content creator. (Diljit Dosanjh Facebook)

“A funny thing about his music, it really helped me improve my Punjabi vocabulary,” Sandhu told Stephen Quinn on CBC. The first edition.

Sandhu says that Dosanjh’s use of words from ਠੇਠ (Theth) Punjabi – rural, conversational Punjabi – has a great influence on young people living in North America.

“The true and authentic Punjabi, he really conveys that through his music, and I think that has a very big influence on children living in the West.”

Many families also brought their children to the concert.

Barinder Bhuller says he took his four- and six-year-old sons, Aanakh and Maeva, to expose them to the Punjabi language and culture.

“Ironically, English has become the dominant language at home, but through the songs we try to introduce it as much as possible,” Bhullar said.

He adds that his children’s nighttime routine involves listening to Punjabi music and doing bhangra – a type of Punjabi folk dance – as a family, which Dosanjh’s music helps them do.

Kamaljit Sidhu, who says she is in her 50s, decided to attend the concert even if it meant going alone.

“If I’m going to a bridal shower or a small reception, I feel a little uncomfortable being alone…but for this one, I was like, ‘No, I have to go,'” said Sidhu.

“It was a big crowd and every person was related to him.”

Sidhu says she bought a ticket for the nosebleed section at the last minute, but moved forward during intermission after meeting some acquaintances who had an extra seat available.

She ended up leaving the concert with Dosanjh’s glove.

“It’s so, so much to absorb again.”

LISTEN | Music producer DJ Intense on Diljit Dosanjh’s concert at Rogers Arena

On the coast6:29First Punjabi to sell Rogers Arena – DJ Intense tells us more

It was a historic night at Rogers Arena as Punjabi singer Diljit Dosanjh performed to a sold-out crowd – the first time a South Asian sold out. Local DJ Intense told us how it was.

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