Popping up regularly within my sphere, is the story and music of this man- Bant Singh.
A farmer from Punjab in India, Bant Singh has a remarkable voice and his story has shown him to have a remarkable spirit.
His daughter was raped by some men from the upper classes in 2000 and Bant took the unusual step of taking these men to court. They were all charged and received life sentences in 2004.
In January 2006 Bant was set upon by seven men, believed to have been sent by the village leaders, beaten to a pulp by rods and sticks he was left for dead. When the body was collected, it was found that Bant had not died, but was in very poor shape. He was not treated particularly well in Hospital, and he lost the bottom half of both arms and one leg due to gangrene.
Chris McGuinness travelled to Bant’s village and recorded his songs- they are songs of revolution, inter-caste violence and equality. Set to Chris’ electronic beats, what we have is a mixture of hip-hop, dub and dubstep including Bassmaster Dr Das of ADF fame. All under the banner of The Bant Singh Project.
The music is just part of the project as a short film was also made, but don’t take my word for it, here’s the official spiel:
★ Word, Sound & Power ★ We have just launched a short film and songs !! An attempt to showcase the story and the legend of dalit singer, Bant Singh. Living in Jabbar village (Mansa, Punjab), Bant Singh is an activist with the Mazdoor Mukti Morcha ★★★ who uses his powerful voice in a bid to transform caste politics, singing about rebellion, inter-caste violence and the need for equality. The Word, Sound & Power project is a brave collaboration, covering wide uncharted territories in music and socially relevant issues – a mash-up of electronic beats and sounds from Chris McGuinness and the well-informed, politically charged lyrical flow of Delhi Sultanate, attempt to spread the message to urban masses via popular forms such as dancehall, dub, and reggae. The project culminated in a short film shot in Bant’s native Jabbar village – filmed on location by photographer Lakshman Anand, the footage was later stylised and edited by Loco Farm. The film critically examines the need for voices of dissent in today’s increasingly capitalised urban society. It also gives a deeper look into Bant Singh’s background, his lyrical inspirations, 20 years of the unsung dalit struggle in Punjab, followed by a fusion of genres and electronic flavours between Delhi Sultanate, Chris McGuinness and Bant Singh. A bold attempt to bring together socially demanding issues and lyricism across two different languages in India. The film is directed by Samrat B, who has given a remix under the alias Audio Pervert. The Bant Singh Project film is the flagship production of New Delhi Films.
The project is a joint collaboration between SamratB, NDF and Goethe-Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi.
★ Spread the word, sound & power via songs, via the folk & cross culture mix ★
You can go here and listen to and download the songs- any donations will be used to make copies of the CD’s and be given to the people of the Punjab.
A worthwhile cause, I’m sure you’ll agree.