“Music is the only language I really know” — Sam / State of Bengal
This is first of a series of official tributes to our dear friend Sam Zaman, one of the pioneers of what became known as the ‘Asian Underground sound’ that emerged during the mid 90’s out of the East End of London. Sam passed away prematurely this May in London following a short illness.
Initially the tributes were to kick start from London, his home town. It’s equally apt that they start in New York City—a place that Sam held very dear to him. It was here that the sound first travelled out of Britain. And it was here that music artists, DJs, filmmakers, scholars, dancers and others from various walks of life embraced the Asian break beat entwined with soulful South Asian melodies as their own. Sam forged everlasting bonds with several people in New York, San Francisco (Dhamaal crew), Portland (Anjali Hursh & co) and other cities in the US that he travelled to.
NYC however, has always been very special to Sam. The journey begun with Vivek’s Bald timely film “Mutiny: Asians Storm British Music.” It was through Vivek (who use to carry vinyl dub-plates over to NYC from London in the early days) that Sam, Talvin and I connected to Rekha. They went to start the club night “Mutiny” together, loosely based on Anokha. These musical connections ran deep and the sounds out of these pioneering events and club-nights travelled far and wide. As we saw it all unfold before us, or “go off” as we kept saying amongst ourselves, little did we realize how profound and lasting these connections were to be.
With Sam it was always more than the music, it was these connections that he held in his heart till his final moments. That shall be the spirit of these tributes to Sam—music that is danced to all night long and held in hearts for a lifetime. He was and is a bright light, one that will shine for ever. And through his music his legacy lives on.
We invite you to join us celebrate Sam Zaman — his music, his friendship, his life. Buy tickets here.
A big thank you to everyone involved for their time, love & support. A special thanks to DJ Rekha and DK for being partners & rocks in this leg of the journey. Thanks to Sank aka Dimm Summer – High Chai Recordings for flyer design, and Vishesh/Shilpa amongst others for their invaluable contributions behind the scene.