On Saturday 15th April 2023, history was made at Coachella. At the increasingly popular annual music and arts festival held in Indio, California, Diljit Dosanjh, an Indian singer-actor, became the first Punjabi artist to perform at the fest.

This ground-breaking performance not only raised the roof of the Empire Polo Club in which Dosanjh performed, but his electrifyingly energetic show also sent a current through society which, in turn, has created new-found respect and appreciation for the world of Indian music, particularly the branch of music called ‘Bhangra,’ which Dosanjh mainly performs. In the 24 years of Coachella, this display of Indian music had yet to be shown but now, with Dosanjh’s performance, he has paved the way for future consideration of, not only Indian melodies, but also those of other cultures too. This is the first step in stopping the alienation of other cultures and traditions around the world that are different to that of our own and has provided a capacity for a unity of diversity.

For both performances, Diljit embodied the union of Western and Indian qualities in his outfits. Rocking an all-black outfit on the first show, featuring a turban, sunglasses and even gloves. Then, subsequently in his next performance, Dosanjh appears again in the quintessential Punjabi attire, consisting of a kurta and tehmat (the Punjabi version of the lungi, which is a garment wrapped around the waist, extending to the ankles, worn in various countries in SE Asia), alongside a pair of Panda Air Jordans.

His bold style choice is certainly revolutionarily unorthodox but now, thanks to Dosanjh, we can hope for a future in which stereotypes around music are non-existent; he has bravely demonstrated that we don’t have to fit in a fixed, unchangeable box and instead, can choose to express ourselves in a number of different (and even contrasting!) ways.

I have spoken to several people about their thoughts of Diljit Dosanjh’s debut in Coachella. One person stated that: “As I grew up in India, I was exclusively exposed to Indian music and then, when I moved here to the UK, it was the complete opposite – there was only really British music. I remember thinking, is this really how divided the world of music is? Over the years, this division has definitely lessened and Dosanjh has just revolutionised music forever. I am so grateful for artists like him who are willing to challenge tradition. He is bringing pride to our pagh (turban)! I love what he’s doing.”

The likes of DJ Diplo and Priyanka Chopra have also come forward to praise this historic feat.

Hopefully, this radical diaspora will continue to flourish with Dosanjh, of course, being at the forefront, continuing to advocate for more progression within the music industry.