Oriental Star Agencies (OSA) was established in 1966 in Birmingham, England. It started from very humble beginnings with a very small shop selling transistor radios.
At that time there were many Asians settling in Birmingham. A few cinemas featured Asian films on Sunday afternoons only but there was no other source of entertainment for the Asian Diaspora. There were no radio or television programmes but only a small shop selling records of some Asian music but the choice was very limited. OSA had a lot of inquiries from customers for Indian and Pakistani film songs, so we approached EMI in Hayes, West London with regards to stocking these titles. In 1967, we started importing Indian and Pakistani records and the response were instantaneously phenomenal. This led to OSA becoming wholesale music specialists shipping these records to other shops in the UK.
There were very few musical groups of Asian origin in the UK during this time and it was rare to see live performances. OSA started to produce records in 1969. The STAR label was set up and the first bands signed by us were ANARI SANGEET PARTY and BHUJANGY PARTY from Birmingham. They sang traditional Punjabi songs and became very popular within the Asian Community. Anari Sangeet's song "Mere Lus Lus Karde Ang Nee" became a great hit all over the UK. Bhujangy Group's first major hit "Bhabiye Akh Larr Gayee," which was released in the early seventies, was the first song in which modern western musical instruments were used along with traditional Asian music and sounds. This proved to be a momentous step for the music and for future aspiring artistes.
OSA recorded not only the steadily growing number of local artistes but also the visiting artistes from the Indian sub-continent. These included famous folk singers such as late ALAM LOHAR, SHAUKAT ALI, SWARN LATA and NARINDER BIBA.
In the early seventies, OSA recorded the renowned Pakistani artists GHULAM ALI, SABRI BROTHERS QAWWALS and ATTA ULLAH KHAN ESSAKHAILVI. In 1978, OSA introduced to the world an artist who would go on to become the greatest amongst the Asian stars the legendary late USTAD NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN. He recorded all his music for the Asian market with us until his untimely death on 16th August 1997. We feel justifiably proud to have been associated with such a great modern icon. He was undoubtedly the most popular Asian Singer and Musician of our time, spreading the message of peace, brotherhood and goodwill through his music and persona. USTAD NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN is regarded as a modern day musical genius and his memory lives on through the wealth of his music. To date, OSA have released 75 compact discs, 105 audio cassettes and 21 video cassettes of the late USTAD NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN, with plans to release brand new material in the future.
The early 80's saw the popularity of Bhangra music throughout the UK, Europe and indeed throughout the World. OSA introduced many new artistes such as ANAAMIKA, AJUBA, PARDESI MUSIC MACHINE, MALKIT SINGH GOLDEN STAR and many more. MALKIT SINGH is undoubtedly the most famous Bhangra singer and has had fourteen super hit albums to his credit. He has toured all over the world as a live performer and is certainly one of the busiest artists around.
The late 80's witnessed the fusion of Bhangra music with hip hop, house and reggae style. Re mixes of Bhangra became all the rage. OSA unleashed the raw talent of BALLY SAGOO in the form of his debut album WHAM BAM. In 1988, this became an over night hit and our association with BALLY SAGOO has continued for which we feel very proud. He has produced many successful albums like STAR CRAZY, ESSENTIAL RAGGA, WHAM BAM 2 and MAGIC TOUCH which was in collaboration with USTAD NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN. His two albums BOLLYWOOD FLASHBACK and RISING FROM THE EAST were also produced by OSA and licensed to SONY MUSIC for Worldwide release.
We have catered not only for young Asians by producing up to date modern music but also for the rest of the Asian community by releasing traditional music albums of GHAZALS, FOLK MUSIC and Qawwali's by famous Pakistani Artistes. These include people like ABIDA PARVEEN, AKRAM RAHI, ANWAR RAFI, AZIZ MIAN, BADAR MIANDAD Qawwali, TARIQ KHAN, TARIQ LOHAR, INAYAT HUSSAIN BHATTI, QARI SAEED CHISHTI, SHAHID ALI KHAN, SHABNAM MAJID, SHARIF AND SADIQ RAGI, SHAUKAT ALI, SHAUKAT ALI, SHER ALI MEHR ALI Qawwal and VITAL SIGNS. There are also Muslim religious songs by FASIHUDDIN SOHARWARDI, ALHAJ KHURSHEED AHMED, ABDUL SATTAR NIAZI SHAHBAZ QAMAR FAREEDI and AZAM CHISHTI.
OSA always endeavor to deliver quality music at all times and are proud to have produced music which has been enjoyed not only by the Asians throughout the World but also by the non-Asian audience. We are one of the major labels in Asian music and export our repertoire throughout the World.
The Sunday Times newspaper in London recently produced a list of "1,000 top music producers of all times." In this list there were four music Artistes from the Indian sub Continent. Two of these four, namely USTAD NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN and BALLY SAGOO, are released on our STAR label. We feel very honored for this great achievement by two of our stars and our association with them.