Dub Qawwali

Omer Tariq writes:

Really enjoyed the recent features on Qawwali especially Hina Husain’s interview of Michael Brook. The interview reminded me of another fusion album - Dub Qawwali. Released in 2007 on Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s tenth anniversary, the album is a collection of early Nusrat tracks reworked by London-based Italian producer Gaudi. Gaudi’s work is heavily influenced by reggae and dub, often using analogue production methods.  These come together rather nicely with Nusrat’s vocals offering a unique take on Qawwali.

The following is from the album’s Bandcamp description:

Gaudi was one of six producers who were initially offered a single Nusrat track to remix by the Lemon Group – owners of the song publishing of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s works from 1968-1974, in association with Khan’s original Pakistani label Rehmat Gramophone. The company loved what Gaudi had done with the material and offered him complete access to the recording sessions from 35 years ago, including rare and unreleased vocal parts. The original studio reels where sent to Gaudi’s studio in London in 2005 and work began.”

Though the original tracks are shortened and the build-up in the beginning and crescendo at the end common in Qawwali are missing, the tracks make for riveting listening. Despite the divergent genres being mixed, the music seems to fit well with the vocals. The guiding principle seems to have been to build a supporting soundscape around the vocals, showing Gaudi’s reverence to Nusrat. 

Notable tracks: 

  • Dil Da Rog Muka Ja Mahi, with a bassline and melody borrowed from Kraftwerk’s The Model 

  • Ghamghar Bare Ne - my favourite track off the album with lazy summer afternoon vibes. The pronounced bass and drums make a compelling case for the fusion experiment.