Asian Dub Foundation

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An English Electronica band that successfully combines a blend of Rapcore, Dub, Dancehall and Ragga, also using Rock instruments, and acknowledging an influence of Punk.

Their distinctive sound also combines indo-dub basslines, searing sitar-inspired guitars and traditional sounds, shot through with fast-chat conscious lyrics.


Asian Dub Foundation is 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, searing sitar-inspired guitars and 'traditional' sounds gleaned from their parents' record collections, shot through with fast-chat conscious lyrics".

The band was formed in summer 1993 as an education workshop run by Aniruddha Das aka Dr Das (bass, programming) assisted by Pandit G (Decks) and attended by Deeder Zaman. This early line-up released the sound-system based Conscious E.P. in late 1993 on Nation Records.

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Guitarist /programmer Steve Chandra Savale was invited to join in early 1994 and ADF became edged towards more of a band format.NME. Sanjay Tailor, also known as Sun-J, joined the band as live midi/programmer and DJ soon after.

This completed the full live line-up of the band and their debut album Facts and Fictions was released in late 1995 having won widespread acclaim for the 1995 single "Rebel Warrior”.

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Initially shunned in the UK which was submerged in the Britpop movement the band honed their skills in Europe and gained a substantial following particularly in France where their (French-only) release RAFI sold 100,000 copies.

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In early 1997 the band was signed by London records and their British profile was upped considerably by the support of Primal Scream with whom the band began to tour regularly.

Their second album Rafi's Revenge (1998) was nominated for a Mercury Prize combining a unique combination of Punk energy with a Jungle/Reggae core.

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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 coveted 10/10 review in NME.

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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 the Barbican's "Only Connect" festival in London (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. In 2001 ADF then went to Brazil to collaborate with community activist giants Afro-Reggae with new additions MC Aktarv8tr, 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 2003, they released Enemy of the Enemy, which became their best-selling album and contained the track "Fortress Europe", a stinging attack on European immigration policy, along with "1000 Mirrors", a collaboration with Sinéad O'Connor about a woman serving life for killing an abusive husband.

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In 2003, they played their biggest gig in front of 100,000 people at Larzac in France at a celebration of José Bové, a radical campaigning farmer. For 2005's Tank, they were joined by On U Sound collaborator Ghetto Priest on vocals with the Help of Adrian Sherwood.

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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 '1995-2007 which included 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 featured a new track recorded with former vocalist Deeder Zaman. In May 2007 Asian Dub Foundation performed a radio session and interview on the Bobby and Nihal show on BBC Radio 1 where they performed three new tracks: "Climb On", "Superpower" and "S.O.C.A.".

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.

In August 2007, Asian Dub Foundation started playing with two new vocalists, Al Rumjen (previously and subsequently with King Prawn) and Aktarv8r, who 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, on one of the tunes.

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It was released in March 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 started work on their new album, provisionally entitled "A New London Eye", which would 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 May 2012, the band was asked by immersive pop-up subversives Secret Cinema to revive their live soundtrack to La Haine at Broadwater Farm, scene of riots in 1985, 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 including "Bearded Theory" and "Asigiri Jam" in Japan.

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In 2014, the band debuted their latest live soundtrack to THX 1138, (George Lucas's first feature-length film). George Lucas and his legendary collaborator Walter Murch gave his personal blessing to the project and it was performed at the Brooklyn Festival in Prospect Park which led to an Arts Council Sponsored Tour of the UK in 2015. ADF signed a label deal with Believe records in 2015 and released More Signal More Noise on their own ADF Communications imprint, enhanced version of the 2013 Japanese release.

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They were joined in early 2015 by ex-Prodigy drummer Brian Fairbairn and have since toured Italy with a revived version of La Haine, an Arts Council sponsored tour of THX 1138, recorded a BBC Radio 6 session for Tom Robinson and played headline slots at WOMAD and Boomtown festivals in 2016.

In June 2017, it was announced that the band is working on an upcoming album which is set to be released in 2017.

Selected Discography

Asian Dub Foundation Albums

1) Facts and Fictions (1995)

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2) R.A.F.I. (1997)

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(originally only released in France)

3) Rafi's Revenge (1998)

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4) Conscious Party (1998)

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(originally only released in France)

5) Community Music (2000)

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6) Frontline 1993-1997: rarities and remixes (2001)

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7) Enemy of the Enemy (2003)

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8) Live: Keep Bangin' on the Walls (2003)

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(live at Ancienne Belgique)

9) Tank (2005)

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10) Time Freeze: The Best of Asian Dub Foundation (2007)

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11) Punkara (2008)

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12) A History of Now (2011)

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13) The Signal and the Noise (2013)

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14) More Signal More Noise (2015)

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Dr. Das Albums

1) Emergency Basslines (2006)

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2) Keep the Grime On (2007)

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3) Preparing 4 War (2014)

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4) Outsider Dub (2015)

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5) Caustic (2017)

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Deeder Zaman Album

Minority Large (2008)

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(only released in Japan)

Ghetto Priest Albums

1) Vulture Culture

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2) Beyond Flesh

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Singles List

  1. 1997 "Naxalite"
  2. 1998 "Free Satpal Ram"
  3. 1998 "Buzzin'"
  4. 1998 "Black White"
  5. 2000 "Real Great Britain"
  6. 2000 "New Way, New Life"
  7. 2003 "Fortress Europe"
  8. 2003 "1000 Mirrors" (feat. Sinéad O'Connor)
  9. 2011 "A History of Now"
  10. 2015 "Zig Zag Nation"
  11. 2015 "The Signal And The Noise"
  12. 2015 "Stand Up"

External Links