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Dj Amrita
Spinning a fusion of club, and eastern influences, DJ Amita who also holds a Ph.D in sociology, brings traditional folk, bollywood and urban music sounds together with an irrepressible social consciousness.

She was a pioneer to bringing South Asian fusion music to Toronto’s airwaves as host and producer to Masala Mixx radio, 88.1 FM. DJ Amita is also resident DJ of the wildly popular Besharam Sutra, North America’s largest monthly Bollywood party. Amita has been at the forefront of the South Asian music scene in Canada for over a decade. She is former music columnist of Toronto Star’s (Canada’s largest Daily Newspaper) Desi Life Magazine. In 2011 DJ Amita was involved in producing and Djing at the Red Carpet with Sharukh khan and Vivek Oberoi during IIFA, as well as the IIFA Official launch party and Samsara IIFA. Amita has also performed at the opening of the Tiffs Bell Lightbox as the World Music DJ, the Gemini Awards, Luminato, the Winnipeg Folk Festival and in Jacksonville, Florida. DJ Amita and music work well together. "For me, DJing is organic. I relate to the energy of the rhythms, the melodies and harmony, and the joint musical journey that the DJ and crowd embark on together, feeding off each other and connecting with and through the music."
 
Articles DJ Amita About
"A PhD in DJing" Toronto Star, By John Terauds, Staff Reporter - "Mix ivory tower and speaker tower and you might get DJ Amita, a.k.a. Amita Handa.That’s Doctor Amita Handa. Drop the typical DJ image as little more than hard-partying, groove-generating butt busters. Handa has a PhD in sociology, and she is not shy about linking cultural insight and a dance-floor high….Handa is one of the city’s musical pioneers. It was out with Madonna and in with a Bollywood, bhangra, calypso, house and techno blend. England long ago discovered the pleasures of hearing Indian-fusion music on the dance floor. Toronto, with nearly half a million people with cultural roots in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, is catching on.

Handa was bitten by the bug in the early '90s, when a family friend from England introduced her to South Asian dance music.The budding DJ then went to alternative FM radio station CKLN to pitch a monthly show on which to showcase these sounds."They gave me two hours every Saturday (Masala Mixx, from 4 to 6 p.m.), and I only had four tapes to start," says Handa. "People started coming out of the woodwork after that." Handa says her main influences included Birmingham, England’s Apache Indian, who mixed reggae and dancehall with bhangra and Bollywood. The DJ mainly uses other people’s remixes. "But I do throw in traditional songs, upbeat ones. I do it more than other DJs." Handa, who published the book Of Silk Saris and Mini-Skirts: South Asian Girls Walk the Tightrope of Culture in 2003, based on her doctoral thesis, is happy to see Indian fusion making the mainstream."


Besharam Sutra Party, CBC - "South Asian Heritage Month got a glamorous kickoff in May at Besharam Sutra, which is Canada’s largest monthly South Asian party, taking place the first Friday of every month at the Fly nightclub in downtown Toronto.... With DJ Amita spinning the latest in Bollywood, Bhangra, Hindi film classics and other beats, the electrifying atmosphere at the club coupled with the beat of drums makes for a totally exhilarating experience."

The Magic of remix by DJ Amita, By Amita Handa, Desi Life Magazine April 19, 2007 - "Remember Apache Indian and Bally Sagoo, the pioneers of desi remixes? They were among the first to popularize traditional folk and Qawali music among foreign-born South Asian youth by mixing in reggae, dub and house music in songs like "Mera Laung Gawacha" and "Chok There." That was in the early '90s.

With the thirst for fusion came foreign-generated remixes from the U.K. and North America. Toronto was part of this trend. We witnessed "basement" remixes for close to a decade. Young boys - sorry sisters, but they were mostly boys - such as DJ Jiten, Asian Boyz Club, Earl Ferns and Mystical Illusions remixed their favourite R&B, disco, house and reggae tunes with popular movie soundtrack numbers…. Times have changed. Bollywood is capitalizing on this market by including remix versions of select songs with original movie soundtracks. Music directors are composing songs that integrate dance beats or include two adaptations, the original and the dance remix. Bollywood remixes also recognize DJs and their influence on music in a new way. For example, DJ Suketu and DJ Aqeel appear on original movie soundtracks and have produced dance hits such as "Ada" from the film Garam Masala and "Fanaa For You" from Fanaa. While the South Asian community criticized DJs in the '90s for remixing "Western" beats into original scores, now it’s hard to distinguish West from East because the most prolific music producer - Bollywood - has incorporated house, trance, rock, techno, jazz and hip hop into its film music.

But adding remix dance numbers to movie soundtracks isn’t just about pleasing a wider range of people. There are big bucks to be made….With MySpace set to expand to 10 or more countries in Asia and elsewhere this year, South Asian musicians have the potential to reach a global population at little cost for promotion and networking. Movie soundtracks have the potential to become incredibly widespread. Since the Indian film industry is attempting to keep money in local hands by tapping into remixes, you have to wonder if they will connect to locally produced social networking sites. Perhaps we’ll see something like a MyDesh.com instead of MySpace.com."
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  Music Contributors:
   
  DJ Amita is known to occasionally slip in the musical requests of Besharam goers. You have a list of songs you like? Email us and let us know. You have a special CD of your collection of songs? Drop it off to the DJ Amita at Besharam. Amita would like to thank the following people for their CD’s and musical input. I couldn’t do this without your musical expertise!
 

 

First off to Yasmin Jamal our in-house Bollywood music buff. She keep us on top of the latest bollywood hits!
 
Also to thank you to:

Kunal Vora, will miss you now that you’ve gone to Bombay but still expect your input.
Rita Gupta, for being one of the first to bring in a CD of her favorite tunes.
Protibha Gupta for her on-going unique musical ear.
Omme Rahemtullah for her East African Bhangra Mix.
Ranarakhbir Bassi for his exhaustive Bhangra music list.
Dunstan Egbert for his Tamil CD’s.
Vijay Saravanamuthu for his Pride Tamil Mixes.

 

Be one of our music contributors, send in your favorite song titles/artists or drop off a CD to the next Besharam.
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  Music Questionnaire:

 

Take a moment to answer the following questions?

 

 
 
 What do you like to hear at Besharam?
 
Bollywood R&B
Bhangra Reggae
Soca/Chutney Other (specify)
Tamil  
 

 Name your favorite tracks

(Please give the name of the movie, artist and genre when possible.
Example - Track: Do you wanna Partner, Movie: Partner, Genre:Bollywood.)
 
 Comments/Suggestions:
 
 
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DJ Amita’s Top Dance Floor Hits:
  1. Baalmulaiza Remix - De Dana Dana
2. Bareily - Jail
3. Man ko Ati Bhavey - London Dreams
4. Prem Ki Naiyya - Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab
5. Paise Club mix - De Dana Dan
6. Dulha Mil Gaya - Dulha Mil Gaya
7. Pyar Impossible - Pyar Impossible
8. Sajda - My Name is Khan
9. Zoobie Doobie - 3 Idiots
10. Striker - Aim Lagaa Ungli Lagaa
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