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Bhangra is a fusion of music, and, most significantly, the beat of the Dhol drum, a single stringed instrument called the iktar, the tumbi and an instrument reminiscent of an enlarged pair of tongs called the chimta. The accompanying songs are small couplets written in the Punjabi language. They relate to harvest celebration, love, patriotism or current social issues.
Today the word Bhangra is more associated with the independent style of dance pop music derived from the above mentioned musical accompaniment.The dhol's smaller cousin, the dholaki, is sometimes used instead of or in addition to the dhol. Additional percussion, including tabla, is frequently used in bhangra.
Bhangra has always been popular amongst Punjabi people all over the world, but it has enjoyed a resurgence over the last ten years or so. Its raw traditional sound is often supplemented with contemporary musical styles. In its more recent history, bhangra has been fused with disco, reggae, techno, house, rap, ragga and now jungle. In fact these new styles are so successful that modern bhangra is now being re-exported back to India. Most of this tends to come from desi scene, a subculture found amongst the South Asian diaspora.
Both collegiate and non-collegiate Bhangra competitions are held throughout the world, especially in the United States, Canada, and the UK. Some competitions in the United States include Bhangra Blowout in Washington, D.C., Bruin Bhangra in Long Beach, California, Bhangra Fusion in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and perhaps the most popular and largest--Dhol Di Awaz in the San Francisco Bay Area.