Asian Dub Foundation Biography

Asian Dub Foundation was formed in 1993 at the Community Music centre in Farringdon, London, England, which had been established by jazz drummer John Stevens. The inaugural sound system line-up featured two of the centre’s teachers, Dr Das (Aniruddha Das; bass/tabla) and Pandit G (b. John Pandit; decks/mixer), and one of their students, Master D (b. Deedar Zaman; vocals). Chandrasonic (b. Steve Chandra Savale; guitar), Bubble-E (dancer), and Sun-J (b. Sanjay Tailor; decks/keyboards) had been added to the line-up by 1995. The band performs a combination of ragga, garage punk and traditional Indian ragas, which has proved especially popular on the festival circuit where they have built a huge following. They performed at the Essential Roots day festivals, sharing the same stage as Bunny Wailer, Buju Banton, Augustus Pablo and Lee Perry. In 1995, following the previous year’s Conscious EP, Asian Dub Foundation released Facts & Fictions, which clearly demonstrated the influence of Jamaican dub on their sound. They continued touring, proving especially popular in Europe where their follow-up, R.A.F.I. (Real Areas For Investigation), was released in France. This album dealt with issues relating to the Indian diaspora, including miscarriages of justice and a chance to redress items of historical interest ignored by the historians.

Media interest in Asian Dub Foundation spiralled when Primal Scream acknowledged them as the best live act in England, and a major label contract with London Records soon followed. Their credibility with the indie genre was further enhanced when they collaborated with Primal Scream on the protest single ‘Free Saptal Ram’, concerning the plight of the Asian warehouse worker jailed since 1987 for killing a white man in self-defence (after years of campaigning, Ram was finally released in 2002). A variety of television appearances followed to promote the single, ‘Change’. Asian Dub Foundation’s second album was then remixed and re-released as Rafi’s Revenge, paying lip service to the Pakistani-born Bollywood singer Mohamed Rafi. The follow-up Community Music tore into the complacent heart of contemporary England on tracks such as ‘Real Great Britain’, ‘Crash’, and ‘Memory War’. In the next two years, Asian Dub Foundation performed in Cuba and Japan and were sponsored by the British Council to take their live show to the shanty towns of Brazil. They also poured money into the construction of the Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, a multi-million pound arts and entertainment complex in London’s East End that formed an integral part of the band’s Community Music project.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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