We’re reminiscing about the song that started off the “Asian Cool” era in the 90s. The deceptively subtle “Brimful of Asha” plays tribute to Asha Bhosle and Cornershops’s anti-establishment politics.
Story by Rumnique Nannar
Cornershop came onto the scene in 1993, but “Brimful of Asha” truly skyrocketed them to the mainstream, with their fusion of British Indie rock, Punjabi roots, and anti-racist politics. Cornershop was formed by Tijinder Singh and Ben Ayres, who took the common stereotype that all Indians run small grocery shops as their moniker.
“Brimful of Asha” didn’t make a huge impact on its first release in 1997, but when Fatboy Slim remixed it in 1998, the band skyrocketed to success by opening for Oasis’ American tour and landing their killer album, “When I was Born for the 7th Time” as Spin Magazine’s album of the year.
The song was a cultural touchstone for many British Asians at the time, with its tongue-in-cheek lyrics that poked fun at Bollywood conventions: “Everybody bosom for a pillow/everybody needs a bosom.” The video was everywhere too with its colourful and mod look, and the young girl bopping around to Cornershop vinyls perfectly encapsulates us when dancing to this track!
Watch Cornershop’s “Brimful of Asha”