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New single & video launch, 31 July: The Ska Vengers’ ‘Frank Brazil’: remembering Udham Singh Ska band pays tribute to Punjabi folk hero hanged at Pentonville in 1940 New Delhi-based Ska Vengers’ new single, ‘Frank Brazil’, is out on 31 July, bringing infectious rhythm to the itchiest feet near you. Never one to shy away from controversy, the band has marked the 75th anniversary of the death of freedom fighter Udham Singh (aka Frank Brazil) with this release, its first launch worldwide. Ska Vengers’ smooth, polished style and complete mastery of its craft make syncopated rhythms look easy, and its assured, adept handling of Frank Brazil’s story demonstrates an equal maturity of mind. This one’s for dancers and thinkers alike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OAfMtVRW6Y (sample) Ska Vengers are an eight-piece ska band from New Delhi, India. They’re kicking up a rumpus over there and they’re about to do the same here. Have a listen: they’ve honed their sound into the sassiest, tightest, funniest, liveliest, punkiest rocksteady jazzy dubby ska you’ll have heard in years. They’re not amateurs, either. Ska Vengers’ first album, released in 2012, was mixed by music producer Miti Adhikari, who has also worked with Foo Fighters, Radiohead and Coldplay. The same year, the band staged the largest rock concert ever held in an Indian prison, donating $5000 worth of music and sound equipment to Tihar jail in an event that was reported worldwide. Ska Vengers made international news again last year with a song and video they released to coincide with the Indian general election, ‘Modi, a Message to You’, and are now working on their second album, expected this September. About ‘Frank Brazil’: The animated video, created by Kunal Sen and Tisha Deb Pillai, follows the 21 years of Singh’s life after the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre on 13 April, 1919, leading up to the assassination of Michael O’Dwyer, and his execution in Pentonville Prison shortly after. ‘Frank Brazil’ is The Ska Vengers’ version of a murder ballad: a traditional form of poetry where the lyrics form a narrative describing the events of a murder, often including the lead-up and/or aftermath. In a tribute to the genre, the chorus is adapted from a Bessie Smith song called ‘Send me to the ‘lectric chair’; Smith is regarded as one of the best blues singers of the 1920s. The band’s line-up includes Begum X (vocals), Delhi Sultanate (vocals), Stefan ‘Flexi’ Kaye (organ/percussion), Chaitanya Bhalla (guitar), Tony Bass (bass), The Late Nikhil Vasudevan (drums) with support from Shirish Malhotra (tenor saxophone) and Kishore Sodha on trumpet. Ska Vengers’ vocalist Delhi Sultanate learnt of Udham Singh while studying at University in London in 2005 and through the Asian Dub Foundation song, ‘Assassin’ (1998), which is about Mohammed Singh Azad, a name that Udham Singh used in court and to sign his prison diaries. “I’ve wanted to make a song about Udham Singh ever since I learnt of him and have been researching him over the years. The idea came up again at a jam session earlier this year,” says Taru Dalmia, who performs as Delhi Sultanate. “Part of what drove me to write the song is that upon first learning of Singh I could not believe that I had never heard of him. Also, his story throws up a series of questions. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. The song is our attempt to pay tribute to one of our national heroes,” he adds. Begum X, aka Samara C, says the band was inspired by Singh’s last words. “The lyrics of our murder ballad are from the point of view of Shaheed Udham Singh and are inspired by his words as transcribed in his court hearing. When he was asked why he killed Michael O’Dwyer, he said, “He was the real culprit. He wanted to crush the spirit of my people…For full 21 years, I have been trying to wreak vengeance…I am not scared of death. I am dying for my country…It was my duty. What a greater honour could be bestowed on me than death for the sake of my motherland?” ‘Frank Brazil’ is animators Kunal Sen and Tisha Deb Pillai’s second video for The Ska Vengers, after ‘A message to you, Modi’. “We wanted to depict the character in a contemporary, stylised and dynamic manner, taking a different route from the conventional “text book" representations of India's freedom struggle,” says Sen of their idea of the video. LINKS https://twitter.com/theskavengers https://www.facebook.com/skavengers Web: http://theskavengers.com/ CONTACT For information, photos and interviews please call Louise Cuzner, Soundbar Entertainment, on 07895 133581 or email firstname.lastname@example.org