Gaudi Dub Qawwali

Gaudi Dub Qawwali
Gaudi is an Italian-born, UK-based producer, composer and arranger with an eclectic discography full of dub-infused surprises. This time out, he uses sacred vocals from the late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan ("the Bob Marley of Pakistan”), revered as a master of Qawwali, the devotional Sufi music of the subcontinent. Gaudi’s popular 2004 release, Bass, Sweat and Tears, and 1999’s Earthbound both featured the producer’s obsession with mixing King Tubby influences and the primal, emotional Qawwali form. Khan’s distinct wail has received its share of remixes from the likes of Tricky, Asian Dub Foundation and others but in Gaudi’s hands, a potent new sound has emerged. Dub Qawwali balances the bouncy tones and sampled wonder of dub reggae with Khan’s trademark vocals, in this case newly discovered recordings from late ’60s/early ’70s studio sessions in Pakistan, around which Gaudi was entrusted to compose new music. Standout tracks like album opener "Bethe Bethe Kese Kese” plays off Khan’s more contemplative side, with backing tablas, flute and Sarangi (Indian fiddle), while "Ena Akhiyan Noo” blends the sublime vocals with easy dancehall and dub. Gaudi’s fondness for elements like tape echoes and Moog clicks with Khan’s divine singing (the overall star here) on these reggae-meets-ragga adventures.

What’s your connection to the man and his music?
My connection is that of an explorer inspired by the work of a great master. My aim from the start was to create something fresh while staying true to the essence of the material: Nusrat’s vocals. [I now have] an even greater respect for his music, what he achieved, and is still achieving, with and through his music: touching and moving people the world over regardless of colour or creed. He knew that music is the only truly international language and an amazing way to break down barriers and prejudice. The difference is that he spoke it better than most.

What about Qawwali music compels you to give it the dub/reggae treatment?
I must admit to having a natural compulsion to give everything the dub/reggae treatment — in all my 11 album releases you can definitely spot it. However, in this case I felt this urge was fully supported by Nusrat. Sufism teaches peace, love and tolerance, something for which Nusrat was a very active and global ambassador. This is also the message of the "Red, Gold and Green” [Rastafarians]. This is what I have tried, in my way, to convey through this album — a musical melting of boundaries and unification through song. (Six Degrees)