CD Review: Gaudi + Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan "Dub Qawwali"
I count myself incredibly fortunate to have seen Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan perform while he was still alive, this was back in 1990, at a little hamlet called Santa Barbara, a year or so after Martin Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ came out, which featured Khan on the soundtrack. The essence of one of his traditional live shows is captured on albums like "The Day, The Night, The Dawn, The Dusk", with songs that just build and build, and up to half an hour long of chants, hand clapping, layers and layers of rhythms that would make everyone in the hall jump up and dance in the aisles.
Khan has been called the "Elvis of the East" and has very likely sold more albums than the King. He was also very open to collaborating with everyone from Eddie Vedder, to Peter Gabriel, to Massive Attack. This month's release, "Dub Qawwali", is a posthumous collaboration of recently discovered tracks of Khan from the 1960s and '70s arranged over dub tracks composed by London-based producer Gaudi.
While some of the indigenous complexity and context is missing from this new release, Khan's voice is still clear and beautiful, if not a little austere, in the echo chamber of dub on the record. Khan's voice is the focal point of this record and the pairing of that voice with dub does generally work - a couple songs that work best are "Bethe Bethe Kese Kese" and "Dil Da Rog Mka Ja Mahi". If you are familiar with Khan's work, I don't think you can pass this recording up and if you are a fan of spacy dub, what else has come out this summer worth your money? Quite deliberately, this recording came out on the 10th anniversary of Khan's death and the 60th anniversary of India and Pakistan's independence, "Dub Qawwali" does both of these dates justice.
Check out 'Bethe Bethe Kese Kese' by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan + Gaudi: