Countless music genres have their roots in specific countries and their distinctive cultures — from India’s Bhangra, Spain’s Flamenco and Jamaica’s reggae and ska.
But musician Jagua Arneja said his distinctive and culturally infused sound, which he says is a genre of its own, is a product of growing up in multicultural Vancouver.
Arneja, 31, who will be headlining tomorrow’s free South Asian music festival Desi Fest in Gastown, said his music is a fusion of pop, rock, hip hop, reggae and Indian.
“My music has so many different influences because … I’ve been fortunate enough to have so many (cultural and artistic) influences.”
Arneja said reggae and Indian music have been important in his development as an artist, genres he said are similar and are powerful social unifiers.
“Music brings everyone together,” he said. “When something moves you, you don’t think about where it comes from, you just dig the vibe.”
Arneja said Desi Fest has been a long time coming.
“Most festivals cater toward rock or hip hop,” he said. “There has never been really a time or a place for South Asians to have a platform to perform for everyone.”