26 July 2007

10 years later: Nusrat's Dub Qawwali

Gaudi + Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: Dub Qawwali
(Six Degrees)
buy CD : hear samples

I've weighed in before on remixes of great vocalists (see Oct. 2005 review of Ladysmith Black Mambazo's Chillout Sessions). So you won't be surprised that I approached this album with skepticism. And having listened, I'm still skeptical. Gaudi is a talented artist and his dubtronica often blends surprisingly well with the vocals of the greatest Pakistani Qawwal. But the emotional edge of Nusrat's singular voice is dulled by the constant beat required by the dub idiom. The sound is often too full, not leaving the space for soaring vocals that Nusrat has in other, more traditional recordings.

That said, Nusrat was no stranger to cross-cultural collaborations -- having worked with the likes of Michael Brook, Eddie Vedder, and Peter Gabriel -- and I suspect the master would have liked what Gaudi has done here. The songs may not have the intensity of the original (though moments shine through, particularly on "Jab Teri Chun Main Raha Karte They"), but Gaudi has made this ecstatic Sufi music available to a whole new range of listeners, some of whom will certainly follow their curiosity to other Nusrat recordings.

The vocal tracks Gaudi used came from a collection of recently discovered and rare studio recordings made in Pakistan in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Six Degrees Records is releasing the album as a celebration of Nusrat's life 10 years after his passing.

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Anonymous said...

I have listened on BBC radio the track "Bethe Bethe" from this album "Dub Qawwali" by "Gaudi + Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan" and i genuinly think that it is beautiful and fully respectful towards Master Nusrat. I have immediately bought the entire album and (i am not a music expert, sorry) i think it is one of the best album in the last decade, the sound and apssion in it is incredible!!! I new Gaudi through his album "Bass, sweat & tears" (another gem!) and i knew Nusrat for his hundreds releases, i think this is a PERFECT combination of genres and styles. Thank you. Steve

Anonymous said...

An amazing release, lush, uplifting and fully respectful!! Reggae is my favorite music, Nusrat is my favorite singer!!.... Nusrat & Gaudi: a beautiful combination!!! 10/10. Christian Biggins

Anonymous said...

This cd is awsome!! A breath of FRESH OXIGEN in this polluted world! BEAUTIFUUUUUL ! Francoise Buille (aka Dj Fran)

Anonymous said...

'Dub Qawwali' boldly and sensitively blends Khan's ageless voice with elements of reggae and traditional Pakistani instrumentation. As for the overall purpose of the project, to create a record well equipped to bring the music of one of the greatest vocalists of the last century to new hearts and minds, I think I can confidently say...Job done! A top album. 10/10 Brandon Shulman

SpinTheGlobe said...

The radio show The World featured Dub Qawwali recently (well after SoundRoots, we should mention).

There, Gaudi says: "Qawalli music is one message only: peace and love. And that's the same message reggae music is based on: peace and love. And I found even musically some similar pattern, like the tabla for example, they were working in an offbeat movement, and the reggae, as you know, is all offbeat. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan he was an extremely open minded musician. But, I really can't say if he would like what I did. But I'm regularly in touch with his wife and the record company Rehemat Gramophone, and if they accepted it and they thought that we can release this material, I think if he was alive, probably he would say that I did a good job. "

Read more at The World

Anonymous said...

This is one of the top world music albums that I have heard in a long time ... there are so many `world fusion' projects out there and so many of them fall short of the mark... Dub Qawwali has most definitely exceeded expectation for me... not only is it musically beautiful but also original in it's combining of old and new, east and west, sacred and secular... not a project to be undertaken by the faint hearted but an album that can be enjoyed by anyone.

To make this album Gaudi was given access to rare and unreleased vocal recordings of `The Emperor of Qawwali' Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan from the 60's and 70's by Khan's former record label Rehmat Gramophone. With them he has created, in my opinion, something really very special. What struck me first about this production is the seamless integration of old vocals and brand new musical composition... it sounds as if the tracks were voiced yesterday by Nusrat specifically for the project, not 35 years ago on the other side of the world for another purpose. This for me is a testament not only to Gaudi's skill as a producer but also to his musical sensitivity and respect for the work of this great Qawwal.

Sceptics of this project needn't be... what may be required is a little lateral thinking ... the spiritual cultures of Sufism and Rastafarianism may not immediately seem to be natural partners, most obviously in the musical manifestation of their beliefs... however at closer inspection I believe there is a strong commonality..
...The reaching of spiritual highs and ecstatic states through musical expressions of peace, love, tolerance and the celebration of a greater guiding force is most certainly common to both ...even if the tempo and instrumentation is different... To explore this in music is not only courageous but requires a sensitivity and respect for both cultures that I believe is 100% present in Dub Qawwali.
Future Music Institute

Anonymous said...

hey , this album is hot!!!! Claire F.