Bhangra and Bollywood on Dutch airwaves

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

A brand new Dutch radio station that caters for fans of Bhangra, Bollywood, Hindi and other South Asian music styles was launched today in Rotterdam, highlighting the growing popularity of Asian music in the Netherlands. FunX Desi plays non-stop music on a dedicated website, which also presents news and gossip from Bollywood but also serious in-depth discussions about personal matters.
 
FunX is a chain of public broadcasters aimed at the large immigrant population in urban areas in the Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. It has been on air since 2002 with a mix of various music styles which are popular in its target groups, such as urban/hip hop, latin, dance, Arab and Turkish music.
 
Philosophy
"We got many requests from fans of Indian music for a dedicated radio station with their favourite music," FunX's deputy director Cherylla Ganpatsingh told RNW. "Our philosophy is: 'Welcome to yourself', which means that we use the listeners' input to create new radio ventures. This is one of them".
 
Ms Ganpatsingh says the new station fits in with a growing demand and interest in South Asian music and culture in general. "We see a growing number of skilled Indian people coming to the Netherlands to work here, so their community is expanding. Ties between the two countries are also growing when it comes to the exchange of business and industrial expertise and export of goods. What you often see is that this goes hand in hand with a growing interest in each other's culture and entertainment".
 
Discussions
FunX Desi not only presents 24 hours of non-stop music a day, its website is filled with general and entertainment news from the South Asian region. But it also offers its Dutch-language visitors - as the website is in Dutch only - a chance to discuss serious issues like sex, relationships, violence, drugs and alcohol.

"One of our duties as a public broadcaster is to offer open platforms where young people can discuss these serious topics to create awareness,  " Ms Ganpatsingh says. "That's something which you may not see in other countries".
 
The web station will also feature Asian music produced outside South Asia, including the Netherlands. "In the past one and a half years we've been flooded with great Dutch talent", Ms Ganpatsingh says. "There's a vibrant Asian music scene in The Hague. One of our biggest stars is Imran Khan, who is also popular in other Asian communities in the UK, Suriname and even in India itself".

Watch a clip of Imran Khan here. Story continues below.

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Crossover
Another act, 2FamousCRW, creates a mix of European, Asian and Surinamese styles. "There's huge crossover taking place between all kinds of music styles here in the Netherlands," Ms Ganpatsingh says. "Many Western artists like Shakira and Snoop Dogg are now mixing Western and Asian influences in their music. It's all coming closer together".
 
Economic programme
The launch of FunX Desi took place during a meeting in the Netherlands between Dutch and Indian media and entertainment companies in a programme set up by the Dutch Economic Affairs Ministry. The "ME-India" scheme is aimed at tightening relationships between media and entertainment companies in the two countries.

"It's amazing to see how much potential there is between India and the Netherlands in this industry," Ms Ganpatsingh says. "We hope FunX Desi will contribute to reinforcing ties with this rising market".