Apache Indian – Arranged Marriage

Release Date: Jan 93
Chart Position: 16

For me this is the ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ of Neggae, it’s the moment when the genre first realised it’s full potential and fuelled the Lilt powered juggernaut of Neggae as it hurtled towards the legendary Summer of Dread. Although Apache Indian made a decent stab at it previously with ‘Fe Real’ comparing the two is like comparing the Beatles and Kula Shaker. This is the first record on this list that doesn’t sound like it’s been produced on a BBC micro by Hugh Grant’s brother in ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’.

Starts off with some traditional Indian drumming as Apache explains his dilemma then seamlessly introduces a bouncing bassline, backing vocals are nice about half way through, a few cheesy effects like unnecessary scratching, but it was 1993 so I can forgive it. Apache’s lyrics are entertaining enough as he bemoans the predicament he’s been put in by his parents when all he want is GALS. Personally I think he’s underplayed the seriousness of the issue with his playful approach to the subject matter, however as Pat O’Banton once told me ‘Neggae’s all about the craic, not politics, to be sure’.  All in all a solid effort and frankly a relief after the Negliggae of the previous weeks.
Score: 8/10 – Best served with a pint of Red Stripe and Onion Bhaji on the side.

2 tbsp light Social commentary
Bunch of tumbi riffs
2 tsp reggae keys
500g heavy bassline
Drizzle of flute
Handful Chopped tabla beats
1 x sweet female indian vocal
Sprinkling of chants

Just like our kid’s lamb curry recipe (the one with HP brown sauce), there is too much going on here. I can’t fault Apache Indian’s ambition, but he’s at his best when he keeps it simple (as we will see later on with Boom Shak-a-lak).
The tumbi riff is great, and clearly influenced Punjabi MC’s Mundian to Bach Ke a few years later. Elsewhere though the lightweight production lets the song down (real flute should have been used rather than a synthesizer).
His lyrics are typically witty; “after the roti, bring me the sensi” made me chuckle. However, I really do not like his ChaCha style accent (“TDO MAKE ME ROTDI!”), it’s borderline Goodness Gracious Me (and I don’t mean the sketch show.)
Score: an overegged 5/10

I could go either way on this one. I don’t see a remarkable difference from song to song with AP. Solid effort and good rhythm throughout. The live studio version is much better. AP is a different cat and pretty diverse. He’s an Indian from Birmingham that loves reggae. Mix it all up and what do you get? Bangramuffin: “A musical hybrid of Indian bangra music and dancehall reggae” per Jian Ghomeshi, host of the Q in Toronto.
I’ve always associated “cheese” with AP and I think this fits the bill. As long as you don’t concentrate and listen too hard to the lyrics, it works. So, if we use the bbq music standard that has been created, I can comfortably slot this into a nice mid range neggae effort, not great but certainly not slow and sexy bad.
Not much to write home about the video, standard Indian fare here, dancers in typical dress, AP doing his Bangramuffin stylie well. Some awkward moments in the video when it seems like AP doesn’t quite know what to do with his hands. Apart from that, no major complaints from an artist that has a slightly different take on life and isn’t worried about putting it out there.
Score: a steady 7/10

Respect where it’s due. Apache Indian was a pioneer of his time and a master of his craft.
I cannot think of many artists pre 1993 who decided to take reggae, push it in the direction of Bangra and use Punjabi influence to such good effect. This is a very well produced piece of musical artistry.
The tabla, sitar and Indian flutes are incredibly well balanced. The heavy break is sensational, It gives the whole track depth and the bassline and melody give a distinct reggae flavor. On top of this, you have Apache Indian fusing Punjabi and Patwa to commentate on a huge part of Punjabi culture, the arranged marriage.
This is a breakthrough track from someone who wasn’t afraid to push boundaries. Discussing the standard rules of the arranged marriage as well as his own take on how he see’s it and what he expects from his wife to be:  “I don’t mind what you do as long as you respect me, and after you’ve cooked my roti bring me my sensi!” Not sure what the elders would have made of this. Not sure if Apache Indian would have cared either way.
A great track which I’m sure will influence British Asian artists for years to come.
Score: Serva Curee, bring him Sensi, Respect Apache, 7 from me!

Yes! We are getting there and it’s starting to feel like Neggae! When you bare in mind this was still relatively fresh in the commercial Reggae movement it was bold move to start incorporating the punjabi influence, however it works well and I am sure all who followed in his footsteps remain grateful as it carved the way for future artists.
As we all know the inclusion of the sitar was not completely new as their influence in mainstream pop goes back to the 60’s when the Yardbirds recorded Heart Full Of Soul, however its welcome return compliments the bassline nicely. The lyrics are sweet and delivered by AP as we know only he can! You can make out most of what he is saying, but that does not dilute the ‘Neggaeness’ of it in the slightest. Further to that the backing vocalists breaking up the tune delicately is just as pleasing.
All in all a good track that would definitely get a play at my BBQ! But it is what this started that I think we need to recognise the most – if it were not  for this track I don’t think we would be writing this blog. I sense we are now on the brink of something big and people are just starting to stand up and take notice of what it was about.
Score: a solid 7.5/10 – is that Carolina I hear calling?



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