State of Bengal Vs Paban Das Baul

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.

Paban Das Baul was born in 1961 in the village of Mohammedpur in the district of Murshidabad in West Bengal, India – land of a population incarnating the spirit of syncretism between Tantric, Vaishnava, Muslim and Buddhist traditions through music, dance and song. He is well known for the inspired lyrical beauty of his songs and his genius in improvisation on the dubki (a small tambourine), which gives him the power to create trance-like states in his listeners.

Further reading

Real World music featured on BBC Two’s Africa with Ade Adepitan

Ade Adepitan embarks on a journey across Africa, soundtracked by music from Real World.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at WOMAD 1985: Were you there?

Nusrat's concert at the festival in 1985 was the first in front of a primarily non-Asian audience

Track of the Day: ‘Meáchan Rudaí’ by The Gloaming

The Gloaming's third album opens with a song based on a poem of the same name by Liam Ó Muirthile.

All In The Family

Music journalist Campbell Stevenson takes a look at the relationship between musicians and family.