The rich and melodic musical tradition of India's Bengali region is given a modern sensibility by Paban Das Baul, a master of the dubki (a small tambourine) and a hypnotic vocalist. Synthesizing Tantric Buddhism, Baishnavism and Sufism, Das Baul has created worldwide attention for his trance-inspiring performances.
Born in Mohammedpur, a small village in the West Bengali district of Murshibadad, Das Baul inherited his musical interests from his father, a martial arts champion who turned to singing and wrestling for money after losing his land holdings. Playing the dubki from the age of five, Das Baul was trained by Sufi fakirs. At age 14, Das Baul was initiated by Subal Das Baul into the Bauls, a spiritual group he met at one of the festivals.
Sam Mills, a London-born guitarist who had performed with experimental, avant garde group 23 Skiddoo between 1979 and 1982. Their collaboration marked one of the first fusions of Bengali music and Western pop music. Das Baul's 1997 album, Inner Knowledge, was recorded before a small audience at the Real World Studios.