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Asian Dub Foundation
Asian culture is now very much regarded as mainstream in the UK, with a lot of musicians based in UK and abroad using their influences and experiences in their music. One such group of musicians is Asian Dub Foundation (ADF in short). They are a British electronica band influenced by breakbeat, dub, punk, rock, ragga, dancehall and their own Asian heritage.
The band members include Chandrasonic (programming, guitar, vocals, 1994-present), Doctor Das (bass, programming, vocals), Master D (rap, 1993-2000), Pandit G (turntables), and Sun-J (live sequencing)
Deedar met his band mates, Chandrasonic and Dr Das, on a music technology course in 1993 and formed Asian Dub Foundation. In 1994 they released their first EP. It was a time in British history which saw a lot of violence against Asian people in the country. ADF started speaking out against this tide of violence and gained a big following among anti-facist fans.
The band describes themselves as 21st century MIDI warriors who came from a new generation perspective, which much emphasises cultural diversity. Inspired by the likes of Adrian Sherwood and his exquisite definition of dubology alongside hard ragga and jungle rhythms coupled with an MC5/Clash live energy, ADF have carved a unique sound.
ADFs big break came in 1998 when they signed to EMI owned Parlaphone and released the album Rafi's Revenge, suddenly Asian culture was on mainstream TV and radio. ADF did their first headlining tour of the US and Canada in the spring of 1999 getting an excellent response, with the majority of the dates being sold out.
Audio Active from Japan accompanied ADF on this tour and it was dubbed the Asian Invasion. Their participation in breaking down the stereotypical images of Asian musicians has been recognised by the media, gaining them a BBC Award in 1998.
Their next album, released in 2000, Community Music was the pinnacle of their career. Borrowing heavily from Indian Bangra music, it was one of the very few albums to recieve a 10/10 from music magazine NME. With this album the bands long musical journey gained them major respect in both the dance and rock music industry.
When Deeder Zaman left the band in 2000, the band expanded to include Pritphal Rajput (dhol, tabla), Rocky Singh (drums), MC Spex (vocals) and Akhtarvator (vocals). The new line-up played a few one off gigs mostly at festivals over the summer of 2000 with their first full tour taking place in Brazil in 2001.
In March 2001 the band composed and performed a live soundtrack for the film La Haine as part of the Only Connect season at the Barbican. The event met with critical acclaim and enabled the band to showcase their instrumental skills.
ADF rounded off the year with their first extensive tour of Eastern Europe. They were shocked by the level of support and enthusiasm showed by the fans there. In Yugoslavia they played to 8,000 people; their largest club date ever and in Bulgaria to 3,500.
They released the next album Enemy of the Enemy in 2003 featured contributions from Sinead O'Connor and Radiohead and became their best selling album. There are orthodox rap tracks, such as Blowback and 2 Face.
19 Rebellions, a true tale of inhumane conditions in Brazilian prisons and organised uprisings by prisoners, features spoken Portuguese and has a suitably South American feel. There are mainly instrumental tracks such as Basta, Cyberabad and the mind-twisting, electro-bhangra of Dhol Rinse.
Rise To The Challenge and La Haine are simultaneously jaunty and intense and boast cool guitar courtesy of Radiohead's Ed O'Brien. 1000 Mirrors is a beautiful, trip-hop tune with the genius move of having Sinead O'Connor on vocals.
2005 album release Tank was released with very little promotion. they were joined by On-U Sound collaborator Ghetto Priest on vocals. Asian Dub Foundation are currently working on a dub/punk opera, Gaddafi: A Living Myth about the Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, which opened at the London Coliseum on September 7th 2006.
It portrays its subject's most controversial moments on the world stage - including the US attacks on Libya in 1986 and the Lockerbie disaster of 1988 - and features Asian beats and rap in place of arias and romance.
In March 2007 Virgin-Emi released Time Freeze,a retrospective containing ADF classsics,previously unreleased collaborations with the likes of Chuck D and Yat- Kha, and two brand new tracks Stop Start and Target Practice ADFs sixth full-length album Punkara (apparently named for a combination of 'punk' and 'banghra') was released on October 6th.
Featured on the album is a version of 'No Fun', which came about after Asian Dub Foundation shared a festival stage with Iggy Pop. There is also a collaboration of Gogol Bordellos Eugene H?tz.
Past projects like their soundtrack of the films La Haine and the classic The Battle Of Algiers and Colonel Gaddaffi, the opera are shelved for the time being as Punkara gets them back to their own rockin roots. An autumn tour of Europe was also planned with the London gig at Camdens famous Electric Ballroom on 28th October.
They have also set up an independent organisation, ADFED, now semi-funded by the London Arts Board which, like Roni Size's Bristol based organisation, offers music and technology to young people in London as well as running various workshops abroad.
With extensive European touring and a trip to Australia and New Zealand and their first tour of Japan, ADF have consolidated their reputation for being one of the hardest working live bands who are here to stay.