Asian Dub Foundation Live
Asian Dub Foundation is better described as a group that arose from a community education organisation. The different forms of music include toasting, dub, funky guitars and many other African instrumentals. “Their distinctive sound is a combination of hard ragga-jungle rhythms, indo-dub basslines, sitar-inspired guitars and ‘traditional’ sounds gleaned from their parents’ record collections, shot through with fast-chat conscious lyrics“.
Sanjay Gulabhai Tailor, Aka Sun-J, joined the band as live midi/programmer and DJ soon after. This completed the full live line-up of the band. After earning a reputation as formidable live performers, the band — which now included dancer Bubble-E — won widespread acclaim for the 1995 single “Rebel Warrior”. Their second album Rafi’s Revenge was nominated for a Mercury Prize combining a unique combination of punk energy with a jungle/reggae core. The single, ‘Naxalite’ was an ode to the militant Naxalite movement in India. Tours to the United States with the Beastie Boys and Japan followed to wide acclaim. Their following album, Community Music, developed their sound further and received a 10/10 review in NME.
Also in 2000, ADF played a choice slot on Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage to a rapturous reception. At the end of 2000, Deeder Zaman announced his plans to go solo, his last gig being at Alexandra Palace alongside Primal Scream and Ian Brown. Their first project of 2001 was an ambitious attempt to create a live rescore of Mathieu Kassovitz’s classic film “La Haine” at London’s the Barbican’s “Only Connect” festival (also featuring Ennio Morricone and Ornette Coleman). The gig was a sellout and received much critical praise, particularly from Max Bell and Steven Wells. They did the piece again by invitation of David Bowie at his South Bank Meltdown festival in 2002. In attendance was Kassovitz himself, who was seen jumping, shouting and applauding wildly, proceeding to congratulate the band after the show.
ADF then went to Brazil to collaborate with community activist giants Afro-reggae with new additions MC Aktarvator, Rocky Singh (drums), Spex MC and Prithpal Rajput on Dhol. In 2002, Pandit G was awarded the MBE for “services to the music industry” in relation to his work with Community Music. He declined the award, however, stating: “I personally don’t think it’s appropriate. I’ve never supported the honours system. If you want to acknowledge projects like CM, the work that these organisations do, then fund them. There’s no point in giving an individual an accolade to bring people into the establishment; [it] won’t actually help the organisations!”
“If you want to acknowledge the work of these organisations, prioritise funding so they can grow and expand and do the work that they do (in) creating new music, giving people the opportunities to make music, develop new musicians and create pathways where they can go out and establish themselves in the music industry.”
In 2004, Aktarv8r stopped being a member of the group, he played live on stage with the London band Oojami who perform Middle Eastern belly dance music. The band continued performing “La Haine” around the world for the next five years. They developed this approach in 2004 with the film The Battle of Algiers, first performing the piece at the Brighton dome on the same day that photographs of torture in Abu Ghraib were released.
In 2005, they won “Best Underground” at the UK Asian Music Awards. Bassist Dr Das announced his intention to retire in May 2006 to resume teaching and produce his own music. He was replaced by Martin Savale, a.k.a. Babu Stormz, who also plays bass with British-Asian electro/grunge/hip-hop band Swami.
In September 2006, the dub/punk opera “Gaddafi: A Living Myth”, with music by Asian Dub Foundation, opened at the London Coliseum. In Spring 2007, Asian Dub Foundation announced the release of a best of compilation Timefreeze 1995-2007 which includes a bonus disc of rare remixes and live tracks, featuring Chuck D, the lead rapper of American hip hop group, Public Enemy. The album also features a new track recorded with former vocalist Deeder Zaman. In June 2007, they were the only Western act to perform at the Festival of Gnawa music in Essaouira, Morocco playing to a crowd of 60,000 people and collaborating with traditional Gnawa musicians.
On the album “Boom Shinga Ling” released late in 2006, Aktarv8r plays on a couple of songs and is credited on the album under his own name Aktar Ahmed. In August 2007, Asian Dub Foundation started playing with two new vocalists, Al Rumjen (previously and subsequently with King Prawn) and Aktarv8r returned after MC Spex was asked to leave the band. In November and December 2007, Asian Dub Foundation recorded a new album, Punkara, with The Go! Team producer, Gareth Parton. It was released in spring 2008 and followed by an extensive tour of Europe and Japan.
In 2009, Asian Dub Foundation contributed to the Indigenous Resistance project after having met up with the Atenco resistance movement in Mexico. Asian Dub Foundation are at present working on their new album provisionally entitled “A New London Eye” which will feature Ministry of Dhol, Nathan “Flutebox” Lee, Chi 2 and Skrein. The album eventually came out as “The History of Now” and the band toured extensively to promote it . The cover contained many fantasy iPhone “Apps” intended to parody the contemporary age.
In 2012 the band was asked by immersive pop-up subversives Secret Cinema to revive their live soundtrack to “La Haine” at Broadwater Farm,catalyst of the 2011 London Riots, in May 2012 and also performed the piece in Paris the night of the French elections. Later that year ADF were rejoined by Dr. Das, Ghetto Priest and Rocky Singh. They recorded a Japan-only album “The Signal and the Noise” and headlined a series of Festivals like “Bearded Theory” and “Asigiri Jam” in Japan.