23 February 2010
10 February 2010
Yes, you heard me right! Seminal British band Asian Dub Foundation will reform with their original line up (including original front man Deedar Zaman) on Friday 26th March for a one-off gig to celebrate Bangladesh Independence day. The event, at the Rich Mix arts complex in London will also feature State Of Bengal & Paban Das Baul recreating their brilliant Realworld Records album ‘Tana Tani’ live, and the first airing of Deedar Zaman’s new work ‘Pride of The Underdog’, where he’ll be joined by bass-scientist Dr Das. Amongst all the other amazing music on the night look out for Badeshi, a former Friction Introducing artist who’s music is as dark as it is mystical.
I am simply amazed at this line up, curated by friend & cultural warrior Sweety Kapoor, and think its an appointment to reach, as well as the fact it’s a lil’ bit o’ musical history. Wanna know what it was like during the heady days of the Asian Underground? Then make sure you reach. Wanna know what the next generation of musical hero’s need to aspire to? Then make sure you REACH.
Here is all you need to know…-
“To Mark Bangladesh Independence day, A stellar line up of live music, spoken word, dance, exclusive sets, special one off commissioned collaborations from both established and new artists and visual projects straight from streets of Dhaka to London.
STATE OF BENGAL & PABAN DAS BAUL: Tana Tani
Released in 04 (Real World Records) It has been described as “a folk culture over 500 years old meeting this digital soundscapes of the 21st century” Song Lines mag who nominated it as best global album of the year and Voted no.2 on XLR8R mag’s Global Break Beat charts. For the 1st time, the much awaited live set of innovator State Of Bengal & Sufi Baul, Paban Das’s collaboration album Tana Tani (Real World Records). Special guests: Mimlu Sen (Baulsphere, Bloomsbury) + Susana Ansar, the British Bengali singer joins the stage for Sukno Patar, (poem by Nasrul Islam) from SOB’s Skip-ij album + 2 tracks from her chart topping album, diverse melodies from the writings of poet Nazrul Islam.
ARUN GHOSH (Clarinet) IDRS RAHMAN (Sax) KISHON KHAN (Piano)
Special Collaboration: The hugely talented trio join forces in a special commissioned set, featuring one of the rising starts of Bangladesh, Labik Kamal Gauro & Mithun Chakraborty on Tabla.
ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION, EXCLUSIVE.
Original ADF line up come together to perform their tribute to the revolutionary poet Nazrul Islam; Rebel Warrior.
DEEDER ZAMAN & DR DAS ( bass )
Sneak preview of ADF’s original front man Deeder’s new album ‘Pride of the Underdog’, produced by the legendary Adrian Sherwood of On U Soundsystem.
AMINA KHAYYAM – Dance Commission.
In a tribute to the National Poet of Bangladesh, choreographer & dancer Amina delivers a powerfully emotive piece set to contemporary music and reading, by actor Rez Kabir, from Nazrul’s infamous poem The Rebel (Bidrohi)
A GOLDEN AGE – Dramatic reading of Tahmima Anam’s award winning novel in a musical juxtaposition by actress Leesa Gazi and musicians Sohini Alam / Oliver Weeks.
SARAH SAYEED – Spoken word artist & fierce lyricist brings her unique & quirky blend of powerful writing & vocals in a soulful, hip hop live set with DJ Badeshi.
NAGA – BBC Blast & SLAMbassadors winning lyricist.
Spitting from an Asian perspective, Naga performs his own beats & strong conscious lyrics outlining his life in the East End.
SH8S – One of the original (ex) founders of Desi Movement, Sh8s gives a 2-track sampler of his fierce lyrics rising from the streets of Brick Lane.
Dj BADESHI- “World wide & between the tempos” DJ / producer Badeshi mixes his blend from Dubstep to Baul Soundscapes.
Commissioned Media Artist: Hamja Ashan
Design: Maraz Ahmed Talukder
Curated / Produced by Sweety Kapoor
Friday 26th March 2010
Doors Open 7pm
Starts 8pm -1am
£12 / £10 Concessions
Box Office: 020 7613 7498
Online Booking: www.richmix.org.uk/bookings
For Press and more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org ”
1 February 2010
I first met David Starfire the first time I DJ’ed in Los Angeles. As you can imagine, when you’ve DJ’ed around the world like I have there are very few places that still have mythical vibes attached to them, but LA was one of those places that excited me as it’s the City of Angels (as sung about in so many songs over the last 50 years) and the home to Hollywood & The Viper Room.
My flight out from London was so delayed that I ended up landing 11pm and had to be on the decks by midnight. Therefore my first gig in LA was a manic rush from airport straight to venue after a ten hour flight, with the last fifty metres from cab to decks done as a sprint. The gig was at The Standard, a LA hotel with its own brilliant Rock n Roll history, and as I entered the club I felt like I was moving through an alien world. Maybe it was my whole life spent watching Hollywood, but walking through the crowd all dancing to mashed up Desi vibes, in this club on Sunset BLVD, I felt like I was surrounded by people who had a different genetic make-up to me and breathed different air. It was at this point that an alien looking figure pushed a skinny arm out to me and pulled me behind the decks and said in the strongest Californian accent ever, “Hi Bobby! I’m David Starfire!”
Since then we’ve DJ’ed together numerous times and both played EPIC sets at Burningman 2009. His set at Hookahdome in the middle of the Black Rock Desert was a scene I’ll never forget as he played some real low down & dirty Desi Dub-Step with a live sitar player joining him on stage for about an hour, as well as a secret 5am back to back Dub-Step set with me at Bass-Camp which literally made peoples ears bleed! Anyway, his new album Bollyhood Bass is out right now on Six Degrees and if you take your electronic Asian music seriously you’ll get this album for yourself right now.
Enjoy this remix he did of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ – something he dropped in the middle of the desert that made a few people I watched, cry with joy.x
26 January 2010
Check out the three videos we shot of the trip to Burningman 2010. The trip across the states, Burningman by day & Burningman by night!
22 January 2010
The Burning Man festival is quite simply the most beautiful and anarchic expression of love and music anywhere on this planet. It’s a social experiment & a musical hothouse, as well as an experience in extreme living. Going in September 2009 changed my life..
I was booked to play out there thanks to Matt Fusello AKA Radiohiro AKA Mini Monk, and Janaka Selekta, friends and brothers in the International Desi electronic scene. That entailed bringing out my music, an R.V. (Motorhome) and enough water to last 7 days in the driest desert that the US can offer. It also meant I would be camped with a musical/soundsystem owning commune called ‘Hookah Dome’, a bunch of interconnected diverse people from around the world who were all passionate about World Electronica & Desi Beats, as well as being seasoned ‘burners’, the term for someone who has been to Burning Man.
Make no mistake – its tough, grueling and all done without money. Yes, erm, well, moneys banned at Burning Man so you all pull together, feeding each other and running the Hookah Dome experience for other people at the festival. I went out to DJ, but also ended up working in the dome as a doorman as well as helping build the structure’s around the camp. It’s an incredible buzz working for three days collectively building a musical grotto in the middle of a desert, and then seeing people flock to what you’ve invested in and dance to the music you’re playing under the galaxy’s stars and a desert moon – you’re quite literally hit by primal emotion. I’m sure I experienced ancestral reverb out there as well, as millions of years of human evolution waxed and waned inside of me whilst I lived on that land.
So, while I was having all of my beliefs and assumptions recalibrated, I also documented all of it for the BBC Radio 1 programme strand ‘Radio 1′s Stories’. The hour long radio documentary broadcasts on Monday 25th January 2010 on Radio 1. Here’s a short explanation from Radio 1′s website:
“In the last of the current series of International Radio 1, Bobby Friction heads to Black Rock Desert in Nevada for Burning Man – one of the weirdest and most wonderful festivals on planet earth. Follow Bobby as he goes on an 11 day journey into the desert, covering 22 thousand miles, only to reach a place where temperatures reach 40 degrees in the day, and sandstorms mean you can’t see three feet in front of you.
And once there, there is nothing Bobby will not do to get into the spirit of the festival. He samples 150% proof moonshine and unsurprisingly ends up a little worse for wear. He hears why if you dance too hard at Burning Man you end up with Christmas toe – when your toe-nail falls off every Christmas. And he gets to watch bands called things like Boiled Eggs and Speaker-phone Underwear. But maybe the icing on the cake is witnessing 5000 naked ladies ride past his camp on bicycles.
Listen to the programme to hear one of the most bonkers things ever undertaken in the name of International Radio 1.”
As you can see it’s a unique festival that has a lasting impact on just about everyone who’s managed to reach it over the last twenty or so years. Listen up, as I’m a changed man now, and for sure I will spend the rest of my life evangelizing and preaching about Burning Man.
*The Documentary will be available to listen to for seven days after the 25th January 2010 here.
20 January 2010
Sub Swara are without any doubt unique in the world of left-field Desi Electronica. With a manic attention to detail and militancy in their work ethic, both Dhruva Ganesan & Dave Sharma make sure their music lives in a space of its own. With both of them being accomplished multi-percussionists as well as great users of software it means we get Desi Dub-stepped audio made by musicians, as opposed to producers. Yay!
They are now beavering away on the follow up to ‘Coup d’Yah’, their debut album. This entails trips between bedrooms & studios in New York, as well as trips out to Chennai in the Motherland. Initial ‘sketches’ of ideas in beat form are taken to musicians (who also work with AR Rahman) for them to play over, which Sub Swara then cut up and reproduce. The reason Sub Swara’s percussion & bass heavy sound is so unique is they go down the production route like scientists instead of just throwing in some tabla to make it ‘Desi’. I remember once Dave Sharma telling me about the 20+ rhythm tracks they had layered in the studio whilst creating their biggest track yet, ‘Koli Stance’. I also love the way Dhruva blogs about the different drums he’s been recording in Chennai,
“…sick instruments that aren’t often heard, like bass dholak (wow, ridiculous sub on that one), and folk drums like nagara and ghat singhari (clay pot with a leather skin on top for that super modulating wuump wuump kinda vibe).”
I think it’s safe to say that we all need a bit more ‘ghat singhari’ givin us some ‘wuump wuump’ in our lives! This is their latest video Blog, which sees Dhruva in the process of getting some great ‘wuump wuump’.
19 January 2010
Don’t just think that this Blog is about Muslim Punks, Desi Dub-Step and the politics of race…We also have room for a fully fledged fittie freaking us the f*ck out inna full-on pop stylee. Yes! Jaya is the latest Desi missile launched at the UK charts with all the bravado as well as the looks, that may just take her all the way.
When I interviewed her on my show as a Friction Introducing artist she told me about how her father was a Hindu priest, and that growing up in Wembley ensured that she got the full multi-culti musical deal in terms of influences. She’s young enough to almost be my daughter so I shall refrain from telling you what I was thinking about when I watched her video for the first time, but feel free to unleash ‘your’ inner angst in the comments section below.
I’m playing the Bharet Goel & Middleman Desi remix of her debut ’DJ, Do It Again’ on the Asian Network at the moment, and The single is out on the 22nd February. Check out her website (with great pictures) here.
17 January 2010
I’ve been playing music on my show, from a band called ‘The Komina’s’ for about three years now & have always found them hilariously funny as well as musically obsessive. I’ve followed them through their genesis as a Desi Punk band in Boston USA, with tracks like “Shariah Law in the USA” & “Suicide Bomb The Gap”, to 2 years ago when some of the members moved to Pakistan for a while and formed ‘The Dead Bhuttos’ as well as ‘Noble Drew’. They are now back in the US…and back in the studio.
When I first played them on the BBC Asian Network the response was three parts predictable, and one part depressing. On one side you had brain dead haters who heard the song titles and assumed the band were ‘Islamist’ in nature, even though the band quite literally exist to give heart attacks & nightmares to the Mullahs. On the other side you had brain dead young Brit-Islamists who thought the band were Pro-Islam & Anti-Western and saw them through the prism of Jihadi Hip Hop and the Koran. I just loved them as they were Desi’s with guitars, and were satirical…something which many Desi’s have a real hard time understanding. I also was kind of living out my failed rock-star dreams through them as I was in a band called ‘The Ferocious Ludoo’s’ in Hounslow, London, fifteen years ago, and we had exactly the same attitude towards subversion, comedy and our musical heritage as The Komina’s do.
The reason I bring this all up now is becuase paralell to me playing them as a new strand of Desi music, the worlds media have been laying seige to ALL of the so called ‘Islamic Punk’ bands in the US and have been reporting on them as the ‘Taqwacore’ movement. Named after Michael Muhammad Knight’s novel ‘The Taqwacores’, many of the bands including The Komina’s have been influenced by his book about Muslim Punks in the US, and over time its become a fanzine/novel/bible for many of the kids who align themselves to the movement. You just know the US news media would have lapped up bands who write songs about letting off suicide bombs in the local GAP store, and as its America you know there’s no way something like this could have stayed underground for long before the money men got their hands on it…& turned it into a commercial proposition! Well that’s whats happened, check the above trailer for ‘Taqwacore – The Birth Of Punk Islam’ The Movie!
I’m not sure about the movie and will have to see it before passing judgement, but it has The Komina’s on the soundtrack which is a very good thing, and Michael Muhammad Knight is an absolute frikkin nutter who regularly pisses off community elders, religious conservatives, islamists and the American political elite which in my book makes him more friend than foe! (His last novel was called ‘Osama Van Halen’ which any young unnamed band need to snap up as their moniker right now.)
14 January 2010
Himalayan in its deepness, and as melancholy as the sunsets in Jaipur – This remix of Badi Dheere Jali from upcoming Bollywood movie ‘Ishqiya’ is musical morphine. This track makes me think of tragic star-crossed lovers meditating at the point of death, while their lives flash in front of them. It’s an extremely heavy track that showcases why Indian music, in its electronic areas, is the future.
The Bandish Projekt are without doubt perfect for this new decade, making songs of ethereal beauty whilst keeping their bass end as low as a robotic dictatorship. Mayur Narvekar, the brain behind the beats grew up in Gujarat but now resides in Mumbai and is one of my favorite Indotronic Warriors (Other warriors to be covered in later posts..)
Their album ‘Correkt’ is out now to buy, and in my opinion its a seminal work in the history of electronic music in India. Whilst you’re ordering the MP3′s, enjoy the as yet unreleased ‘Badi Dheere Jali (Bandish Projekt Mix)’
14 January 2010
I will not get involved in the debate I hear in pubs & front rooms around the country whenever a bunch of Desi men get together, but its safe to say that most conversations about ‘the ladies’ usually turn to how much ‘White’ men love ‘Asian’ women. In the chilled situations its usually just an observation, whereas add some alcohol to the mix and accusations fly about how its ‘Colonial’, or that ‘White’ women don’t love ‘Asian’ men as much as ‘White’ men love ‘Asian…etc…Yadda Yadda Yadda..!
That debate is for another time and another Blog post – BUT if aforementioned ‘White’ men had a theme song it would surely be ‘Indian Girl’ by Canada’s Peter Jackson & Patrick Christopher. I’m playing this track on my show at the moment, and its a sharp piece of work out next month…I just wish I was a singer, so I could write ‘English Girl’ and make a video that consisted of me gettin my grind on (from behind) with a fit young blonde ting!
Ps. Just so you know – This Website believes with a Fundamentalism that would make Bin Laden cower, that mixed marriages are the future. : )