Punjab’s Bhangra is back for St Patrick’s Day

A group of Bhangra dancers whose performance stole hearts last St Patrick’s Day are hoping they have another viral hit on their hands.

The video of Kanwar Shamrock Bhangra grooving to a fusion of dhol beats and Irish music garnered hundreds of thousands of views on social media last year.

This year they have been rehearsing their version of “Kerry Slides”, keeping it under wraps until tomorrow.

Kanwar Singh, one of three dancers who featured in last year’s hit routine, said: “It is very important to celebrate St Patrick’s Day and embrace Irish culture. Ireland and India share the same colour of flags and similar history. Both cultures are family-oriented too.”

Kanwar started the group in 2012 with the aim of keeping the bhangra tradition alive among the South Asian diaspora in Ireland and reconnecting them to their roots.

He said: ‘’When I came to Ireland to study in 2001, a lot of people said we didn’t have much here about our culture. The generation growing up are missing certain aspects of our culture here in Ireland. I thought someone had to do something.

“In India, the Bhangra dance is normally done in the month of harvest in April, called Vaisakhi. We chose the name Shamrock because it’s Irish and represents what we are trying to do by blending two cultures.”

Kanwar, who started dancing Bhangra at 12, runs classes for children every week.

“When you move to any other country, it’s very important to embrace that country’s culture but at the same time keep yours. We’re teaching kids. We have 45 of them who are in three different groups.”

One of the group’s newest members, Deeya Ghandi said: “I only moved to Ireland two years ago. Coming here, I’ve not only embraced my culture but also embraced a bit of Irishness. I will be able to see what a parade looks like. I might dress up and paint my face with Irish colours or with something that represents St Patrick’s Day and what Ireland means to me.”

News source: RTE

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