The Browning of Coachella: Indian and Pakistani Origin Artists to Storm the World’s Largest Music Festival
- This year’s much-anticipated artist is the reclusive British Indian musician, Jai Paul, who will be joined by Diljit Singh Dosanjh and Ali Sethi.
Desi music fans are in for a great treat at this year’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California. The most popular music festival in the world takes place over two consecutive weekends every April, and attracts fans from across the continents, features several artists of South Asian origin this year.
Indian singer and actor Diljit Singh Dosanjh and Pakistani singer and composer Ali Sethi are among South Asian acts debuting at the festival as they perform alongside international acts like BLACKPINK, Kid Laroi, Charli XCX, Labrinth, Jai Wolf, Joy Crookes, Jai Paul, Frank Ocean and Underworld, the BBC reported.
Also featured in the festival which reportedly attracts nearly 250,000 fans, is British Indian superstar Jai Paul, whose popularity remains undiminished despite virtually disappearing from the public eye after sending ripples through the pop landscape with two singles in the early 2010s. Despite releasing only three singles in 12 years, he is considered one of the biggest draws at the festival this year.
The singer, songwriter, and producer has shot into fame with his distinctive sound and innovative approach to music production. In 2010, he released his debut single, “BTSTU,” which showcased Paul’s unique sound — blending elements of R&B, electronica, and indie rock into a cohesive whole. It was a critical success, earning him comparisons to artists like Prince and D’Angelo. He draws inspiration from a wide range of musical genres, including Indian classical music.
Meanwhile, Sethi’s “Pasoori” was reportedly the most searched song of 2022 on Google, and Dosanjh, who is very popular among the Indian diaspora worldwide, will be the first Punjabi language singer to perform at the festival. South Asian origin artists who were featured in last year’s festival included Raveena Aurora and Arooj Aftab, the Grammy-award-winning singer, composer, and producer from Pakistan.
Raveena Aurora is an Indian American singer-songwriter. She gained a following after her first debut EP, “Shanti,” was released in 2017. Her first album in 2019, “Lucid,” was released to critical acclaim.
“The diversity and brown inclusivity at Coachella is appealing to fans of South Asian artists who see it as an opportunity to experience joy like other Americans,” writes Savita Patel in a BBC report.
She quotes an Indian American fan who plans to attend the festival as saying, “Music festivals allow white people to experience joy, connect with each other, centering their experience … This is what it will mean for us South Asians. We too will have the experience of being centered at Coachella.”