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State of Bengal
State of Bengal, having started out as a rap unit in 1987 has grown to become among the most easily recognized names in the British Asian dance scene. He made his recording debut with ‘Visual Audio’ and took up residence at the holy grail of Asian dance music in England - the famous Anokha. Shortly after, his work with the late Ananda Shankar resulted in the release of the very successful album, ‘Walking on’. He has also remixed for Massive Attack and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. One of the leading figures during the formative years of the Asian music scene in Britain, he also trained MC Deedar (ex Asian Dub Foundation Member also SOB’s brother) and MC Mustaq (Fun-Da-Mental).

In the midst of recording his new alum (to be released in the next three or four months) and working on releases for his own company Betelnut productions, Sam took the time to talk to us in detail about his latest release with Paban Das Baul.

TR: The New album sounds really interesting considering you’ve worked with Baul singer Paban Das Baul, how did that come about?
Sam: Well initially I’d been listening to Purna Das Baul who is Baul musician from Calcutta. The day Nusrat died I went down to the South Bank to attend a tribute and I came across Paban doing a performance on the South bank. And he had said “Did you use one of my samples on you record ‘IC408’?” and I said “see actually it was Purna Das Baul’s sample which we got the record company to clear with his company and that’s the one we used .So we started talking that way and I said if you’re interested I’m working on a solo album and if you want to do a guest performance on it I’d be really appreciating of it. So he came to the studio and we worked on a track called ‘Kali’ which is the second track on the album so Kali was the track that we recorded first before we recorded anything else.

TR: Tell us a bit about the Baul’s.
Sam: Well my understanding of Baul music is the fact that Baul is a way of life, a way of being. It’s really to do with communicating the issues that are relevant to people, be it subjective matter, which is referenced over five thousand years. It’s still discussion and elements of society that are still relevant to people. This is what I think Baul music always communicates.

TR: And what was it that interested you in working with a Baul musician?
Sam: It’s just something I always wanted to do since I heard Purna Das Baul. At the age of nine I bought a record by Purna Das Baul, my parents weren’t listening to Baul music; they were more interested in Hindi, Urdu film and Bengali classical. But I had come across the record and I started playing it to my mother and I could see her legs swinging so I knew that she really liked it. So that’s the reason why I always wanted to do something of the nature of Baul music.


You can read the rest of our exclusive interview with State of Bengal in the April 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

Aerosmith
Joe Satriani
Tata Young
DJ Suketu
Fardeen Khan
Ghetto Tunes for 2004
Indipop Busters
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