Anjali Hursh and Stephen Strausbaugh met a little over 20 years ago while working at Powell’s Bookstore in downtown Portland, Oregon. Since then, they’ve become two of the most well-known live DJs in the city’s music scene, where they’ve hosted longstanding monthly dance parties and become fixtures on local radio stations.
The duo, who perform live as DJ Anjali and The Incredible Kid, especially love bhangra, a type of dance music with roots in the Punjab region of eastern Pakistan and northern India. They joined OPB for a guest DJ set that highlights some of their current favorites from the Indian subcontinent and around the world.
Raf-Saperra - “Snake Charmer”
“The singer Raf-Separra – I feel like he is one of those rare artists of a generation. It’s such a brilliant track because he teamed up with Sukshinder Shinda, [who’s] a Punjabi singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. [Shina] went from putting out hot albums like 15, 20 years ago to kind of going, as we call it, the uncle route [where] probably he’s on the wedding circuit. And then he comes out of nowhere with this track with the singer and we’re all just like ‘Damn, he’s still in the game!’ Bhangra fans – if you play this in the club, people will lose their minds.” - DJ Anjali
Indravathi Chauhan - “Oo Antava Oo Oo Antava”
“[This song’s producer] Devi Sri Prasad is a producer in many Indian film language industries... Every Indian state has its own film industry. Bollywood just refers to the Hindi language films that come out of Mumbai, which was formerly Bombay, which is why it’s called Bollywood. This song [which was featured in the Telugu language film Pushpa: The Rise] is very different because it’s an item girl song. It’s basically in the movie to feature a hot girl doing a hot dance to get everyone into the theaters. But this track, in its own way, critiques the male gaze that item songs are designed for.” - The Incredible Kid
Karan Aujla - “Ask About Me”
“This is [a song by] Karan Aujla from his debut album, B.T.F.U.... He’s been recording songs for years, but this is his first proper album. The whole thing is so good. It’s produced by the UK Punjabi producer Tru-Skool. [Tru-Skool] has really popularized, in the bhangra industry, the sampling of American hip-hop. A lot of other producers have done that, but I feel like that’s just such a signature of his sound.” - DJ Anjali
FINSTA - “AAG”
“They have such a unique sound and it’s so rare to have any out artists in the LGBTQ scene [from] the South Asian diaspora. It’s so rare. So we have such a unique and original and creative and talented voice currently based here in Portland.” - The Incredible Kid
“I just love how they seamlessly go back and forth from Hindi to English and then the [interplay between] singing and the rapping.” - DJ Anjali
El Michels Affair - “Zaharila feat. Piya Malik”
“We both love vintage sounds from all over the world... It kind of sounds like her vocals are almost like a vintage Bollywood song in the 70s. After all the spaghetti westerns that were big, Bollywood did their own versions of [western films called] curry westerns. So it kind of has that dramatic, cinematic vibe.” - DJ Anjali