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Black Country bhangra in the jungle

Sandwell | Business | Published:

One of the Black Country's top business minds is set to give his own unique export to the rest of the world this summer.

Ninder Johal, former president of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and now a board member with the Black Country LEP, will tour the Far East this summer with his bhangra band Achanak.

The group, who have recently released their album Game, Set and Nach, will perform in Malaysia in July, including a show at the Rainforest World Music Festival, where a crowd of 50,000 are expected.

For most, it would be a once in a lifetime achievement but Mr Johal and his band have been touring since 1989 and have their share of stories to tell.

He said: "I can't wait for the summer, it is going to be fantastic.

"I love the Far East, the people, the food, the climate, everything is great out there and this is going to be a really special festival.

"We have been going for a long time but these opportunities keep coming up and we just have to take them.

"We have shared a stage with Fatboy Slim and The Prodigy in the past, as well as Sir Tom Jones.

"Our claim to fame is that Sir Tom actually had to get away early so he switched slots with us, meaning we have been supported by Sir Tom Jones.

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"It is great for us to get out there and represent our roots, both the Indian music we grew up with and the UK music we have loved for many years now."

Mr Johal plays tabla in the group which is completed by his son Amar Johal on percussion, Suki Chand on keyboard, Vijay Bhatti on vocals, Baldi Neer on drums and Kam Manku on bass.

Rather than living the lavish rock and roll lifestyle while on tour, Mr Johal uses the opportunity of seeing other countries to look at how their infrastructure's work, with the aim of bringing some of that knowledge back to the Black Country.

He said: "It sounds sad but I am always on the look out for new ways of doing business, new chances to make contacts for exporting and things like that. I will be trying to learn more about trade in the Far East during my time out there, but the main thing is the band plays the best show it can."

Jordan Harris

By Jordan Harris
Senior Reporter - @JHarris_Star

Reporter covering Staffordshire/Walsall - also a keen gig goer

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