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PROFILE

32 Years On The Turntables For Globetrotting Music Guru DJ Ritu!

East London born DJ Ritu began her career as a Pop, Disco, Soul & Motown specialist in 1986. She was head-hunted by new global beats club ASIA in Islington, which propelled her into the World Music scene. Working alongside African expert David McAlmont (later McAlmont & Butler) and Rai & Latin aficionado  Don Tyler, she quickly fell in love with music by The Bhundu Boys, Chaba Fadela, and Sierra Maestra. Gaining in reputation as a ‘bhangra expert’ she began touring abroad in 1991,  introducing Indian sounds in many countries, whilst guesting at legendary global music clubs in the UK such as The Mambo Inn.

In 1994, Ritu co-founded Outcaste Records, and spearheaded its A&R strategy, signing Nitin Sawhney and Badmarsh (& Shri). She instigated the label's stage platform by creating uber-cool Club Outcaste which was frequented by Bjork, Goldie, & Talvin Singh,  and compiled the label’s first two Asian Underground  CDs. Ritu was also resident DJ at the UK’s first ever weekly bhangra, R&B, and drum & bass night, Bombay Jungle, sealing her fate as musical chameleon and bedrock of London’s club scene.

After performing at WOMEX ’94 & ’95, Ritu was commissioned to create her first band, The Asian Equation. Sister India - Ritu’s 2nd band- was born out of this, but with a stronger female focus, gaining a cult following worldwide. These bands were DJ-centred  with  Ritu mixing and blending cool Asian Underground vibes with trip-hop, drum & bass, & techno, adding on improvisational contributions from her dancers, vocalists, & musicians. Through solo DJ bookings and intense band activity, Ritu has toured in over 30 countries, from Istanbul to Cape Town, Cairo to Latvia,  and performed at major venues and events such as the Royal Festival Hall, Roskilde, The Big Chill, Sfinks, and WOMAD festivals. Her interest in music from all continents continued to grow as she played alongside artists like Salif Keita, Khaled, & Buena Vista Social Club.

In 2006, the late Charlie Gillett resigned from BBC London due to ill-health and Ritu became his successor. She re-launched the world music slot and titled it 'A World in London' with a particular focus on the UK’s capital and its diverse communities, inspired by living and working as a youth-centre manager in multi-cultural Haringey. Ritu set out to champion local artists, but also stole interviews with the crème de la crème of international stars like Tarkan, Angelique Kidjo, A.R. Rahman, Mariza & Omara Portuondo. Twelve years on the programme is London's definitive weekly global music show, broadcasting on Wednesdays from SOAS Radio at 4pm, and Resonance 104.4fm at 6.30pm, plus online at Mixcloud and iTunes.

Ritu’s broadcasting career began at BBC 3 Counties Radio in 1991 with her pioneering Asian music programme which was  syndicated in Germany, Sweden, and Turkey. She went on to work for BBC World Service, Radio 3, BBC Asian Network, and Kiss 100. Ritu is a panellist for the European World Music Charts, the Mayor of London's Music Board, and she has compiled ten albums for the Rough Guides.  

As a long-time club promoter, Ritu continues to set new trends through her regular London club nights - Kuch Kuch (18yrs), Kali (23 yrs), and Hoppa (7 yrs) - which collectively reflect her expertise in African, Latin, Middle-Eastern, Mediterranean, and Bollywood flavours, but meanwhile, she's still very much a Pop queen! Catch her on radio, in clubs, at festivals, or when she's hosting events at Rich Mix, the Southbank Centre, A World In London LIVE, and all over!