State of Bengal

United Kingdom

Saifullah 'Sam' Zaman, the east London DJ and producer who records as State Of Bengal, was first introduced to Paban Das Baul when he attended a tribute to the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at the Royal Festival Hall, shortly after the qawwali legend's death in 1997. Zaman had been attracted to the music of the Bauls ever since coming across a vinyl LP by an elderly singer called Burna Das Baul, who possesses a heavy, screaming, untamed punky voice. He'd also been impressed by the first track on Paban's Real World album with Sam Mills (the guitarist from worldly punk-funk outfit 23 Skidoo), entitled Real Sugar, often spinning it when out playing DJ sets.