Among the guests will be Rekha Malhotra, who goes by DJ Rekha, a producer, curator and educator considered by most to be a pioneer of Bhangra in North America. Bhangra is a style of music that originally comes from the Punjab area between India and Pakistan.
From 1997 to 2017, Malhotra, who was born in London, grew up in Flushing and now lives in Jackson Heights, ran Basement Bhangra, a monthly dance party at SOB’s on Varick Street. The monthly event popularized Bhangra in New York City’s club scene.
She was also the sound designer for the TONY Award-winning Broadway show “Bridge and Tunnel,” and received a Drama Desk Award nomination for the play “Rafta Rafta.”
Since 2010, DJ Rekha has also hosted “Bhangra and Beyond,” a weekly podcast.
Malhotra said playing at Flushing Town Hall is special to her because of her connection to the neighborhood. She went to PS 20 and later graduated from Queens College. The first movie she saw was at the RKO Keith’s Theater.
“The DJ I became and the parties I’ve done is informed by growing up in New York City and spending my formative years at Queens College,” she said. “That kind of worldview is inherent in my art practice.”
As someone who spent a lot of time playing in clubs, Malhotra said she’s looking forward to playing at Flushing Town Hall, where people of all ages will attend.
Diwali, she noted, is a celebratory time.
“It’s very jubilant. One of the best ways to express joy is to dance,” DJ Rekha said. “I’m there to give people a format, to facilitate a dance experience.”