DJ: DJ Ritu
DJ Ritu has been a key figure in the British club scene as a DJ and radio presenter for more than 27 years. Specialising in Bollywood, bhangra, Arabic, Turkish, Greek, and 'world' sounds, plus a hefty dose of western underground and pop styles since the 60's, DJ Ritu has performed in over 30 countries and is the ultimate musical chameleon!
East London born DJ Ritu began her career as a 'pop' music DJ in 1986 quickly attracting the attention of new 'global beats' club 'ASIA' in Islington propelling her into the 'world music' scene.
With an increasing reputation in the early nineties as an 'Asian music' expert Ritu began touring abroad, becoming the first DJ to introduce Asian sounds in many countries, while guesting at legendary clubs in the UK such as The Mambo Inn.
In 1994, Ritu co-founded Outcaste Records signing Nitin Sawhney and Badmarsh (&Shri) . She instigated 'Club Outcaste' and compiled the label's first two CDs Untouchable Beats Vol 1 & Vol 2 and became resident DJ at the UK's first ever weekly Asian club - Bombay Jungle at The WAG Club in London.
After performing at world music conferences like WOMEX in the nineties, Ritu was commissioned to create her first band, Asian Equation - a 'live show' centred around the DJ's soundscape, with dancers, musicians, and visuals. Musically Ritu played Asian fusion spiced with elements of bhangra and bollywood, drum n bass, trip hop, and techno.
The first five shows were in Berlin in 1996 with an audience of over 25,000 people. Ritu hand-picked a team that included rapper jc001 (fastest rapper in the world), the then unknown Nitin Sawhney , Shri , Aref Dervish and Johnny Kalsi (pre Dhol Foundaion). The performances were groundbreaking, and Asian Equation went on to become a huge phenomenon. This then led to a band with a stronger female focus called Sister India gaining a cult following worldwide.
With solo DJ bookings and intense band activity Ritu has toured from Istanbul to Cape Town and performed at venues from the Royal Festival Hall to Hyde Park and international festivals such as Sfinks, Roskilde, Womad, St Etienne, Amsterdam Roots,.. to name a few.
Ritu’s unique Asian music show for BBC 3 Counties Radio ran for an amazing 21 years and was syndicated in Germany and Turkey. It is now at Luv Asia Radio. In 2006 she started presenting A World In London every Saturday night on BBC Radio London. A two-hour global grooves show highlighting new music and classics from every continent on the planet. Some of the star-studded guests interviewed in-depth on the programme include Tarkan , Femi Kuti , Natacha Atlas , Bassekou Kouyate , Esma Redzapova , Mahala Rai Banda, AR Rahman, Mayra Andrade, Ojos De Brujo, Sierra Maestra, and Angelique Kidjo . A World In London is now based at SOAS Radio, University of London and is available on-line at Itunes and http://soasradio.org/worldinlondon, attracting listeners in Hawaii, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, and other far-flung places! Ritu has also contributed to BBC World Service, Radio1, 2 & 3, BBC Asian Network, and Kiss100.
Ritu manages three London club nights; Kuch Kuch (2000 +) – the UK’s original and leading Bollywood club, Club Kali (1995+) and Hoppa (2000) - all pioneering nights dedicated to Asian, Middle-Eastern, North African, Turkish and Greek sounds with a healthy dose of pop thrown in for good measure!
She has compiled numerous albums for The Rough Guides and contributes to various publications - Songlines, Eastern Eye, Rough Guide To World Music books. Her career has been one of many firsts and DJ Ritu remains a pioneer in every respect.