‘Punk as Diaspora’ is an artist research project by me – Bandana Singh, – I’m an alt/rock musician based in Toronto, who writes, sings and plays guitars in Sing Bandana Singh and LXRY.

My work is highly influenced by being a daughter of diaspora (Canadian Indo Fijian) and all the tension and joy that comes from the intersections of identifying in many opposing ways, and attempting to reconcile belonging to antithetical spaces. This research project engages other artists who, like me, make or engage in punk music/culture in Toronto, Mumbai and Los Angeles and how these places and ideas of identity have influenced their sound and the sounds of artists in their cities. Even though I’m based in Toronto, Southern California and Indian culture have both informed my work, through commercial and cultural influence.

The artists in the project are a small selection of people from Toronto, Mumbai and Los Angeles respectively, who speak to their own experiences around four key themes situated in their experiences of making/being a part of punk music/art/community and how we can learn or integrate into our own artistic practices, lessons from each of the artists experiences dealing with:

  • Aggression
  • Self Identity and Belonging
  • Language, Tradition and Punk Value sets
  • Gender and Sexuality

The end of the project features short vignettes of my interviews with these artists and my hope is that the artists will also get to be connected and start building out a cool little network of like minded diasporic punks, and to show how ‘diaspora’ is more than ethnicity or history alone – punk diaspora is something we’re currently and collectively building.

  • Los Angeles and SoCal sound is what influenced me to pick up a guitar. Talking to people here, it was great to learn more about the current ways punk is a part of this city and how the themes in my work resonate with artists.
  • Indian culture, language, customs, expectations and the Socal punk sound is what I share with Mumbai. It’s a weird feeling to feel so relaxed in a city of over 21 million people, but with warm and welcoming artists and a connection to both cultures simultaneously – where there’s no need for translation of the experience of being both Indian and punk – made it so comfortable.
  • Toronto is the synthesis of these influences and my home that has its own set of influences in my sound and creative life. It’s where I’m trying to continue nurturing my practice and building/being part of a creative community. This is a city where you build your own identity – I’m interested in how these built identities now come together be a community and address the themes of aggression, gender/sexuality, identity/belonging, tradition in punk and other music cultures of the city.
You can reach me at hello@singbandanasingh.com or @bandbandana.
Contact information for each artist is on their page.
Photo above by Daniel Trinh (c) 2016
The Punk as Diaspora project is graciously funded by the  Ontario Arts Council Chalmers Arts Fellowship.