Dubai's Malayalee underground trips on Dravidian Massive Bass

Club night remixes exclusive tracks from South Indian movies to create a unique 'Kerala' vibe

Dubai is a city that glitters and sparkles all night long. Innumerable party rooms spin you into a trance with RnB, rock, trance, house, pop, hip-hop or Bollywood tracks. And now, to add variety to that already impressive club line-up is a new exclusive genre that’s exclusive to South Indian music.

Yes, you heard it, right.

Simbly South creator, Jim Thomas. (Supplied)

Indian music isn’t all about Bollywood. There’s also a fun, versatile edge to South India, which is explored through a unique once-a-month dance night titled ‘Simbly South’.

True to its name, it’s loud, kitsch and loads of madness.

Tracks are handpicked from Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam movies, remixed, and leaves Dubai’s South Indian community swaying for more.

It’s a brainchild of Dubai veteran Jim Thomas, who found a unique way to connect to his Mallu roots and the city (Abu Dhabi) he grew up in.

Party on: A new fusion of South Indian movie hits and Western beats is finding a niche audience. (Supplied)

Jim wanted to tie in his marketing profession with his passion for South Indian music to conceptualise ‘Simbly South’, since its launch in April this year.

Through his growing years, from his days at Abu Dhabi Indian school to his stint at a university in Chennai, Jim has always nurtured his passion for music.

“I was exposed to a wide spectrum of music. I used to listen to anything and everything. From Malayalam to rock, tamil to metal, soul, jazz, RnB, pop, house, rave, techno,” Jim recalls.

“It’s when I moved back to India for my graduation, that I was introduced to a new genre called Asian underground. I was hooked to the intriguing mix of sounds, and the artists who created them.”

Over the years he has been shuttling between India and Dubai, and during those numerous travels and clubbing escapades, he discovered a new genre of music that brilliantly blended his culture with wicked beats.

A genre that begged to be introduced on the dance floor!

“I didn’t sit down at a board meeting and come up with this concept. I just had a gut feeling and I told myself ‘Let’s do it’.

“I’ve always been a part of the clubbing scene, and have travelled far and wide. I’ve noticed that in Dubai, ‘desi nights’ is quite a hit, and even non-Indians enjoy it.”

With a growing Mallu population in Dubai, Jim was confident his South Indian flavouring will be welcomed. Probably why he titled his latest jig ‘Vannakam’ (meaning welcome in Tamil).

“It’s like a ‘desi’ night, only it focuses on South Indian movie songs that are remixed with bits of house and dub step.”

He termed it a new sub genre - Dravidian Massive Bass (DMB). “It has dappankuthu, gaana, molly-kolly-tolly club edits.”

Having lived in the UAE, his musical concoction also has Arabic influences.

Jim’s new mix, which he believes is a first in Dubai, has been a rage, with the Malayalee brigade eagerly waiting for the next party invite.

Clearly, Jim’s proved that there’s more to South India, than just the ‘Lungi Dance’!

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