Wild City: Editorial Intent & Resource List

Wild City: Editorial Intent & Resource List

30 July 2020

The music landscape in India and across South Asia has undergone massive movements and overhauls since we launched Wild City 9 years ago. Each day, the paradigm shifts; each day brings something new or different to the fore.

The mission of Wild City, from day one, has been to highlight the sounds, the culture and the people in South Asia that defy the mainstream, and to explore and support the sub-cultures and movements that have crafted the diverse music and culture communities we belong to. We have always aimed to represent our content with authenticity and sensitivity, and to highlight diverse voices and communities.

As a music and sub-culture publication, we find it crucial in these times of upheaval, torment and hope to reinforce these beliefs and strengthen the stand we take. As the world responded to the #BlackLivesMatter movements taking place around the world over the past few months, we expressed solidarity with their cause, but also found ourselves drawing parallels to similar movements that have been striving to claim space in India, such as the fight against: discriminatory legislation, caste discrimination, persecution of minorities and marginalised communities, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and fascism.

We would like to take this moment to reiterate and pledge that Wild City will never stand for, support or tolerate discrimination, harassment, oppression, suppression or abuse of any kind, in any form. We are still learning, educating ourselves, and (to put it plainly) trying to figure things out each day. However we realise we have a duty to our audience and to the communities and people that have fostered and nurtured us, and we will always strive to create safe spaces both online and onground.

Most of the music we engage with, and have been consuming all these years, was born and nurtured in marginalised communities around the globe, often in reaction to adverse circumstances - as a method of coping, as a revolutionary tool for protest and change, as sonic documentation of time and people, or as celebration of cultures and people. A lot of modern music also borrows heavily from regional music traditions and cultures. We will always aim to promote and support art that is sensitive, diverse and authentic, and to provide a voice and a platform to those from diverse communities. We take it as our due diligence to be respectful and sensitive in our approach, and going forward, to try and educate ourselves and our audiences, about the social, political and cultural context of the art we consume, and the space it occupies.


As we said, we are taking active measures to learn and educate ourselves every single day. We encourage our readers and our audience to support this ethos by seeking information and striving to educate themselves about music, and its intricate dynamics with culture, identity and politics. To start you off, we've compiled a list of (rolling) resources that can help provide context to the music you listen to and the spaces occupied by the music community, and to take us a step closer to a safer, more diverse and more inclusive community.

Please keep in mind, this list is not comprehensive: we will keep introducing changes and additions to this list, and will maintain this as an ever-evolving resource. We invite you to send in any feedback, recommendations (could be: books, articles, essays, films, documentaries, podcasts, websites, documents and so on) and suggestions to our social media inboxes (head here for: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), or mail them to music@thewildcity.com with "Wild City Resources" or "WCR" as the subject.


Articles & Essays:


  • Black People Did That - A curated series of music documentaries by So Future exploring the origins of modern music genres and the black pioneers who birthed them.

  • Paris Is Burning (1990) - Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, this American documentary chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it.

  • Cultures of Resistance (2010) - From Iran to Burma to Brazil to Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Iara Lee’s documentary explores how art and creativity can be ammunition in the battle for peace and justice.

  • Black to Techno (2019) - Part of the ‘Second Summer of Love’ series, this 20-minute documentary traces the black origins of techno via its birthplace in Detroit and later innovation in Berlin.

  • Radical Harmonies (2002) - A full-length documentary that chronicles the Women's Music Cultural Movement and its evolution into a revolution in the roles of women in music and culture.

  • The Other Song (2009) - The final in Saba Dewan’s trilogy focusing on stigmatised women performers in India, the documentary brings us face to face with the enigmatic figure of the tawaif (courtesan) and the contested terrain of her art practise and lifestyle. (Also check out the first two parts of the trilogy: ‘Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi’ (2006) and ‘Naach’ (2008)).

  • Extreme Nation (2019) - Roy Dipankar's documentary film exploring the contrasting geopolitics of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and the extreme sub-genres of music that unite its diaspora in the face of it.

  • Jewel's Catch One (2016) - Filmmakers explore the history of the oldest black-owned disco in America and of its owner Jewel Thais-Williams, who defied discrimination and hate for 42 years.

  • The Casteless Collective - An Indian Folk Music Band Fighting for Social Justice (2019)

  • Hip-Hop Evolution (2016-Present) - A documentary series on the origins of hip-hop in 1970s New York City and how it developed over the next several decades.

  • Sample This (2012) - This documentary traces the impact of the Incredible Bongo Band's “Apache”, which played a key role in the birth of hip-hop.

  • 20 Feet From Stardom (2013) - Focusing the lens on backup singers, this documentary “seeks to rewrite the history of pop music by focusing attention on voices at once marginal and vital” (The NY Times).

  • The Get Down (2016-2017) - A music-driven drama set in 1970s-era New York about a group of kids in the South Bronx who find themselves at the nexus of the hip-hop, punk and disco scenes.

  • On The Record (2020) - “Misogyny, hip-hop culture and the silencing of women of colour are delicately unpicked in a devastating documentary” (The Guardian).

  • Why We DJ - Slaves To The Rhythm (2017) - A 40-minute documentary investigating the reality of what being a professional DJ is really like, from the hype and parties to relentless touring and the toll that can take on both physical and mental health.

  • How Club Culture Started in 90s Johannesburg (2019) - A journey to 1990s South Africa and the origins of the dance music scene when black and white artists got together to challenge apartheid.

  • Bad Rap (2016) - A documentary about four young Asian-American rappers striving to achieve success on their own terms in a musical genre that often treats them as outsiders.

  • Surviving R Kelly (2019-2020) - This documentary series reveals the decades of sexual abuse American R&B singer R. Kelly perpetrated against black girls and women, and the large culture of complicity surrounding it.

  • I Was There When House Took Over The World (2017) - How social unrest and Chicago's underground gay clubs led to a global dance movement.

  • Pump Up The Volume: A History of House Music (2001) - Documentary about history of house music, from its early days as NY disco to the massive European and international scene it has become.

  • Don't Forget To Go Home (aka Feiern, 2006) - A feature-length documentary about the techno subculture in the city that never comes down: Berlin.

  • High Tech Soul: The creation of Techno (2006) - A vital document of the deep roots of techno music alongside the cultural history of Detroit, its birthplace; from the race riots of 1967 to the underground party scene of the late 1980s.

  • Palestine Underground (2018) - This film documents the resilience of a burgeoning music scene undeterred and fuelled by political restrictions, building bridges through a shared sound and identity.

  • Rize (2005) - This documentary film brings to light a revolutionary form of artistic expression borne from oppression – the fascinating evolution of the dance forms clowning and krumping.

  • Shake The Dust (2014) - A feature documentary about break dancers from third world communities around the world who are intrinsically tied to one another through their passion for dance and hip-hop culture.

  • Music of Resistance - A six-part documentary series by Al Jazeera that tells the stories of musicians from around the globe who fight repression and sing about injustices.

  • Favela Rising (2005) - In Rio de Janeiro, a former drug dealer and a community activist use Afro-reggae music to transform a slum; a documentary.

  • The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005) - An unflinching yet loving documentary about the outsider musician's life, and a revealing look at genius and mental illness.

  • Noise & Resistance (2011) - This documentary pictures a globally interconnected and political music scene which has declared war on capitalism and the mainstream culture.

  • The Uprising (2019) - A music documentary that tells the story of resistance against racism by communities of colour in the Netherlands, UK and France through a decolonial perspective.

  • Scratch (2001) - A documentary examining the birth and evolution of hip-hop DJs, scratching and turntablism.

  • Brazil’s LGBTQ Youth Finds Hope In Batekoo (2018) - In an uncertain time for Brazilian LGBTQ youth and people of color, a vibrant community is stepping up to provide a safe place for marginalized people.

  • Mali Blues (2017) - The vital documentary follows four artists who use their music to stand up to extremism and inspire tolerance and peace against increasingly fundamentalist Islamic forces in Mali.

  • The Birth of Gully Rap: India’s Underground Hip-Hop Scene (2019) - This short documentary maps the journey of rap in India, from a derivative appropriation of the art form to the rise of Mumbai’s gully rap.

  • Standing By (2015) - A six-episode documentary that attempts to uncover and document the history of independent music in India.

  • Indus Blues (2018) - A documentary that highlights gradual extinction of indigenous musical instruments and plight of folk artists in Pakistan.

  • The Decline of Western Civilization (1981) - An intimate look at Los Angeles’ punk subculture of the 1980s.

  • BBC Four: Rhythms of India (2019) - From folk singers in Rajasthan to hip-hop artists in Delhi, Soumik Datta explores how India’s musical diversity helps us understand the nation’s past and its fast changing present.

  • Zikr Us Parivash Ka (2017) - A cradle-to-grave account of one of India’s most celebrated classical music artists, Begum Akhtar.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World (2017) - This documentary examines the oft-ignored role of Native Americans in contemporary music history.

  • Shanghai’s Underground Female DJ Scene (2019) - A close look at The NÜSHÙ 女术 Workshop, a collective driving awareness around underrepresented female and LGBTQI+ DJs and producers in the music industry.

  • Buy More Incense (2000) - British Asian musicians talk about their music, the Music business and their own position in British society.

  • A Dazed guide to the essential riot grrrl films




Please send in any feedback, recommendations (could be: books, articles, essays, films, documentaries, podcasts, websites, documents and so on) and suggestions to our social media inboxes (head here for: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), or mail them to music@thewildcity.com with "Wild City Resources" or "WCR" as the subject.


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