Ethnic Now - Breaking News

Asian Underground music pioneer dies.

Sam Zaman AKA State of Bengal has passed away, Sam was born in Bangladesh and came to Britain at the age of 8. He became a well established DJ and producer in the Asian Underground music scene who gave a voice for many young Asian’s in the scene, not only in the UK but also globally.

State of Bengal recorded two tracks, IC408 and Chittagong Chill for the ground breaking album album “Anokha – Soundz of the Asian Underground” (Released on Island Records) which not only  broke the mould in the way Asian music was perceived by the mainstream but also at the very same time created a movement which led onto many things including several alternative Asian music clubs, more Asian artists being signed to major labels and even the birth of a regular BBC Radio 1 show dedicated to the Asian music scene.

Sam’s music was spotted by singer Bjok and eventually he was signed to One Little Indian where he stayed for a short while making music for his fans and for many to discover. His talents took him around the globe but his passion remained in music and also helping to discover new talent by working with youth groups and running music workshops.

In later years, he worked with many musicians including his hero and sitar innovator Ananda Shankar.

His music will live on and many will remember him with great fondness, one such person is Johnny Kalsi from the Dhol Foundation who performed as part of Fundamental & Asian Dub Foundation, Kalsi, recorded and toured with Sam  and says:

“State of Bengal – Sam, Such a massive loss of a Guru of Asian Underground! The times we made music together and made them move & feel like that was the only place to be! I had known Sam for Many Years during my time with FunDaMental and Asian Dub Foundation. The Dhol Foundation and State of Bengal did performances in Europe in the late 90’s. Sam was an incredible inspiration to lots of people that were part of the whole 2nd Gen British Asian Music movement! Talvin Singh, Nitin Sawney, Bobby Friction, Nerm, ADF, FDM, TGU & TDF we’re all from that generation. Some born from the Farringdon Studios & Brick Lane – but all connected! Always will be! God Love you Sam – You’ll be missed!”

Personally as I write this I just can’t believe that he has passed away, I was very lucky along with my colleague Sharnita K Atwal to of worked on some of his music when he looked after the PR for Anokha and also for One Little Indian, personally I can’t stop playing Elepahant Ride and IC408, tracks that made an industry and music that created  a movement! SAM – STATE OF BENGAL RIP

Pedro Carvalho