Kula Shaker are an English psychedelic rock band. Led by outspoken frontman Crispian Mills, the band came to prominence during the Post-Britpop era of the late 1990s. The band enjoyed great commercial success in the UK between 1996 and 1999, notching up a number of Top 10 hits on the UK Singles Chart, including "Tattva", "Hey Dude", "Govinda", "Hush", and "Sound of Drums". In addition, the band's debut album, K, reached #1 on the UK Albums Chart, becoming the fastest selling debut album in Britain since Oasis' Definitely Maybe and eventually being certified 2×Platinum by the BPI in January 1997.
The band are known for their interest in traditional Indian music, culture, and mysticism, with a number of their most famous songs, including "Tattva" and "Govinda", featuring lyrics written in the Hindu sacred language, Sanskrit. The name Kula Shaker was itself inspired by King Kulasekhara, an Indian emperor from the 8th century. In addition, many of the band's songs feature traditional Indian instruments, such as the sitar, tamboura, and tabla, juxtaposed with guitar-heavy, Western rock instrumentation. While the band's interest in all things Indian was partly inspired by a pilgrimage to India that Mills undertook in the early 1990s, it was also born out of a love for the Indian influences present in the music of The Beatles and other late 1960s acts.
Prior to the release of their second album, the band became the subject of controversy surrounding remarks that Mills had made in the NME and Melody Maker, regarding Nazism and its attendant symbol, the swastika. The Independent on Sunday ran a front page article in April 1997 reprinting Mills' comments and alleging that the guitarist "had dabbled with Nazism". The negative publicity surrounding the incident, along with overexposure in the British media, hurt the band's sales.Nonetheless, their second album, Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts, still managed to reach the Top 10 in the UK.
Kula Shaker disbanded in September 1999 but reformed in 2004 for sessions for the School of Braja compilation album. This led to plans for a full comeback, although the reformation was not widely publicised until the beginning of 2006. The band's third album, Strangefolk, was issued in 2007 and their fourth, Pilgrim's Progress, was released in 2010.