Praise the Lord, That’s Skepta | “Adalam Va!” by Priya Ragu


Ashe Burr, Writer/Volunteer

I’ll give you 10 seconds to think of a song by a Tamil singer. Thought of one yet? If you thought of a funky song from 2007 featuring a chorus of children, a gun and a cash register, congratulations. You are like the vast majority of people who could name a singular song. However, the artist behind that song voluntarily abandoned her throne as the top Tamil artist in order to preach her anti-vaccine views. Despite this, that artist is still the first one to come to mind when you think of Tamil musicians. So, who will be the artist to take that vacant throne? Personally, I’ll be placing money on a certain Swiss-Tamil singer who recently showed up in the music scene. 

Priya Ragupathylingam, better known as Priya Ragu, has traveled down a very unorthodox path in the short career she has had so far. In 2020, Ragu released her debut single, “Good Love 2.0,” at the age of 34. The song became a quiet hit, netting her a record deal. She’s worked heavily with her brother, the producer Japhna Gold, and the pair has infused their Tamil heritage with R&B and hip hop to create a sound that’s uniquely theirs. Their journey as artists has culminated in Ragu’s song “Adalam Va!

With a title that roughly translates to “Let’s Dance!” in Tamil, Ragu’s intentions for us with this song are clear. Aided by a thumping, synthesized 808 bass line, the song’s infectious atmosphere begins to take hold. Lyn Collins’ iconic vocals from her 1972 song “Think” — as popularized by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock in their hit “It Takes Two” — also find themselves woven into the instrumental. As has become something of a calling card for Ragu, the chorus is fully in Tamil. The chorus tells us that the beat is thumping, so let’s get up and dance. 

Step by steppa / 

Praise the Lord that’s Skepta.

Ragu’s career may just be starting, but she has already proven her abilities. Even without the invocation of Skepta, a member of the “royal family of grime,” she has proven time and again that she is not only a force to be reckoned with, but also proof that anyone can begin anything at any time. She quit her full-time office job to start her career in music, and it has clearly worked out for the better. So go ahead and take that risk, even if it feels too out there. I would say let’s make a toast to taking whatever risks we want, but that wouldn’t feel right with this Jam of the Day story. Instead, let’s hit the dance floor and have the time of our lives while it’s still in our hands.