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Bal Fashions hosts South Asian Celebration music weekend

Two nights of music platforming Asian DJs this weekend include former Boiler Room Head of Music Raji Rags, BBC Asian Network's DJ Manara and local selector Gracie T.

Bal fashions 2

Bal Fashions.

Castlegate venue Bal Fashions will host a programme of music celebrating South Asian DJs and selectors this weekend.

Taking place across Friday and Saturday nights, the line-up features Raji Rags, DJ Manara and Gracie T.

Raji Rags is known for his long and diverse DJ sets for the likes of NTS Radio and Boiler Room, coming from a hip hop background but often mixing many genres including techno and gospel music.

DJ Manara is the host of BBC Asian Network's Pure Spice show, blending modern South Asian dance music with pop and R'n'B. Sheffield-based Gracie T is a resident of Hope Works and part of the Daytimers crew.

Bally Johal, founder of Bal Fashion Social, who has more than 30 years' experience in promotion and club music, said it was empowering "to be able to programme fairer and more diverse music" at the Exchange Street venue.

"Our music industry is so far behind where it should be," said Johal. "If you think of it like our culinary appetite in this country, how diverse that is, music is still very British, very 'Fish and Chips'.

"Venues don't experiment and there aren't enough brown-owned venues to allow a platform. It's not about slamming brown music down people's throats. It's about providing a new sound with old sounds, similar to Acid House in its infancy."

"I know it's stating the obvious but there aren't enough brown people in this industry, especially not venue owners. I personally don't know another in the UK," Raji Rags said on Instagram in the run-up to the event.

"As well as faces in the scene, I think it's important for brown faces behind the scene that support the infrastructure."

The Castlegate venue has South Asian roots in that it takes its name from its former use as Bal Fashions & Knitwear, which was run by a local Sikh family.

Learn more

Weekend passes for the South Asian Celebration at Bal Fashions, Friday 29 and Saturday 30 October 2021, are priced at £10 plus booking fee.

by Sam Walby (he/him)

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