Remembering Haroon Shamsher

In June 2017 Haroon Shamsher was honoured with a BBC Music Day Blue Plaque in recognition of his contribution to music in the UK

“BBC Asian Network and BBC Music, with the British Plaque Trust, are really proud to honour music icons with the first Blue Plaques for artists from South-Asian heritage. Haroon Shamsher continues to be an inspiration. He made a profound difference throughout his career, from the origins of Joi Bangla as a youth movement in the East End to the evolution into groundbreaking music collective Joi. The group changed the British music landscape and his cultural impact lives on today.”

Mark Strippel, Head of BBC Radio 1Xtra / Asian Network


“The acknowledgment of this plaque for my brother Haroon has been overwhelming for me and my family. I’m flattered awed and humbled that Haroon is being recognised by his peers and the wider music community, and know he would be proud of this acknowledgment with love.
I would like to thank everyone that has worked and supported the Joi vibe.”

Farook Shamsher, Joi


The announcement of the Blue Plaque presentation led to an outpouring of love and recognition for Haroon’s musical and cultural legacy:

“Haroon was a pioneer. A pioneer of sound, a pioneer of social conscience and awareness and a pioneer of Asian street credibility in Britain. He and his brother Farook inspired myself and many others, including Talvin Singh, to search further and harder for new sounds to express a dispossessed generation of British Asians. If there ever was an Asian underground sound, it started with Joi. When Haroon passed away so young I was genuinely devastated by the news. He was a great man, whose relevance is ever more crystallised by a U.K. increasingly polarised by race and the cultural value of Britain’s Asian community.”

Nitin Sawhney (Musician & Composer)


“Haroon was a musical agitator, with no respect for musical boundaries”

Jon Coxon (SpringHeelJack/ Producer)


“Haroon was one of the pioneers. I remember seeing Joi Bangla Sound System down Bass Clef back in the 80s. The music , the vibe, the crowd. I knew then something new was going to happen, bringing together not just our origins – but where we find ourselves today.”

Pandit G (Asian Dub Foundation)


“Haroon was a hero and acknowledgement to him and Joi collective is a absolute Joy.”

Aki Nawaz (Nation Records, Fun-Da-Mental)


“Haroon Shamsher and his brother Farook were responsible for some of the most exciting underground music of the 1980s and 90s… as well as a club, sound system and DJ sets that brought that music and attitude fearlessly into a wider public gaze. Their music and style drew from a deep pool of traditional and modern influences, had few boundaries and even fewer rules.

“When I first moved to London over 30 years ago, their welcoming and non judgemental friendship and kindness helped me to find a few footholds in the the often strange and overwhelming East London of the time. Much love and respect..”

Jason Spaceman, Spiritualised

Photo credit: Tim Kavanagh
"Haroon Shamsher changed British Music forever. Haroon Shamsher changed Britain Forever." Bobby Friction (DJ Presenter, BBC Asian Network)

“Haroon was a fine and collegiate fellow to be with aboard the tour bus,as well as an attractive and charismatic presence on stage with Joi. Haroon was also blessed with an impish sense of humour, his inflight attire including t shirt bearing the legend ‘don’t panic, i’m islamic’.”

Colin Angus (The Shamen – Musician & Composer)


“This is beautiful; a deserved tribute to talented & inspirational Haroon Shamsher – peace to Farook and family.”

Arwa Haider‏ (Journalist, Metro)


“I remember Haroon’s shyness, quietness and reluctance to limelight. Very loud qualities that most others in that microcosm seemed to lack. A true genius of his time. I used to look up to him.”

Mushtaq Omar Uddin (Producer, Songwriter, Amy Winehouse, Skepta)


“An honour well deserved #BBCMusicDay Pioneers among and for British Asian Music.”

Raj & Pablo (BBC Asian Network)


“About Haroon Blue Plaque: Excellent news!”

Banco de Gaia (Musician & Composer)


“Joi were the DNA”

Dave Watts (Fun-da-mental, Nation Records)


“Well deserved”

San-j (Radio Presenter/DJ)


“Fantastic news! High time the pioneers were honoured with such an award. RIP Haroon & thank-you Joi for all the sounds.”

Niraj Davé (Sunrise Radio)

Featured Release

  • Joi Sound System


    Released 18 June 2015

    Joi Sound System is a 22 track double album compiled from Joi's three gloriously inventive albums: 1999's One and One is One, 2000's We Are Three and 2007's Without Zero, plus three bonus tracks. Three sublime albums. A dazzling assemblage of tracks. Choosing a Best Of was never doing to be easy. And yet...

By Online Editor

Published on Mon, 30 April 18

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