Our track Monsoon Malabar recently featured in film director Sturla Gunnarsson’s Feature Documentary Monsoon. The film premiered earlier this month at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Our track Monsoon Malabar recently featured in film director Sturla Gunnarsson’s Feature Documentary Monsoon. The film premiered earlier this month at the Toronto International Film Festival.
A little clip of our forthcoming remix of 4000 New Colours. 4000 Shades of Dub features the legendary Sly & Robbie. We have cut one solitary vinyl copy that we are going to give away shortly. As soon as we can find a good reason to!
The track was mastered and cut by Christian Wright one of Abbey Road’s leading Mastering engineers. Despite the joy of having our first ever Bombay Dub vinyl Andrew doesn’t look that joyous!
Tell us why you think you should have this rarity in your hands!
Bombay Dub Orchestra – Tales From The Grand Bazaar
Journeying has long held sway over man’s mind—the idea of travel can be as seductive as traveling itself, though never quite as instructive. The story behind Bombay Dub Orchestra’s new album, Tales From the Grand Bazaar (Six Degrees Records), was created over many years throughout five countries. Wherever Andrew T. Mackay and Garry Hughes might have started, they ended up somewhere completely unexpected.
“The vision is the end product,” says Mackay from his London home. “But how you get there is the journey, and music can take you many places.” The team has hit the road plenty of late, predominantly for their film career. Garry scored the award-winning HBO documentary Marathon Boy; Andrew recently the Indian film Ballad Of Rustom and Pakistani film Josh. Together they wrote the music for the inspiring film, Project Happiness, featuring the Dalai Lama and George Lucas.
Mackay and Hughes formed Bombay Dub Orchestra nearly ten years ago after visiting Bombay. Both men loved their experiences working with Indian orchestras and decided to pursue their compositional skills in the form of down- to midtempo electronica and, as their namesake suggests, dub. Three years of germination lead to their self-titled debut, released to great acclaim in 2006; two years later, 3 Cities hit the shelves.
Alongside unique originals, they’re renowned for globally minded remixes, having reworked the songs of Bob Marley, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Bebel Gilberto and many others. This worldly mentality continued as recording sessions for Grand Bazaar saw them bouncing around the United States and London, through the Bombay and Delhi they know so well, as well as into Kingston, Jamaica to work alongside the legendary team of Sly & Robbie.
“I’ve known Sly and Robbie for nearly twenty years,” says Hughes. “We’ve worked on quite a lot of records together. I’d been out to Jamaica twice to record albums with them, so really it was like getting together with a couple of old pals. We had a blistering session in Anchor Studios in Jamaica. They are very open-minded musicians and really enjoyed the music. They will certainly be on our next record too.”
While beats and bass are pivotal players, it is the composition and stringed instruments that really shine throughout these nine tracks. That is, in part, due to an unmentioned city thus far, which is the very meeting point of East and West—a perfect underscore for their entire career.
“Istanbul is a melting pot, literally,” says Mackay. “The Grand Bazaar was completed in 1461 and is a concrete-covered market with 5,000 stores and 60 streets. We imagined all the stories that have occurred in there over the centuries. The album was certainly inspired by stories that perhaps these traders and the many men or women in cafes and stalls were telling.”
Longtime collaborations as well as new sonic relationships merge throughout Grand Bazaar. The men were excited to work alongside the likes of Ujwal Nagar and Suhail Yusuf Khan from Delhi-based fusion band Advaita, Macedonion singer Tanja Tzar, sitar player Asad Khan and sarod maestro Soumik Datta, as well as a number of Turkish string players and soloists.
Stringed instruments play a prominent role, including the oud and sarod—the latter opens the album on one of the more beat-driven songs, ‘The Orange Terrace.’ Drones flank the percussion to open up plenty of space for composition from Mackay & Hughes. Mackay claims standing in front of an orchestra is one of his favorite places in the world, which makes for a great partnership with Hughes, who prefers being surrounded by his collection of vintage synthesizers and studio gear.
While Istanbul is a focal point, India is in no way forgotten. The duo’s greatest conceptual challenge was uniting their South Asian foundation with Turkish melodies. The challenge soon dissolved when they performed with their respective orchestras. ‘Blue Mosaic’ is reminiscent of their debut, a meandering slither through female vocalizations, violins and Hughes’ latest muse.
“I went to Istanbul a couple of years ago with my wife and did a bit of research,” he says. “I’d been listening to a lot of traditional music from the region, and I really fell in love with the qanun [a stringed dulcimer]. We went to a Sufi ‘Whirling Dervish’ event and I was hooked. Two tracks were defiantly planned around it although Andrew actually came up with the melodies.”
Aytac Doğan’s qanun performance on ‘Blue Mosaic’ is stunning—the strings dance effortlessly within the tabla. Their merger continues. The epic “Song of the Seven Towers” was nearly the album’s title, given a chance circumstance that lead to the song’s creation.
“The name was inspired by a painting that Garry had seen in London,” Mackay recalls. “I looked it up and they were the seven towers that surrounded Istanbul. It was totally random. But there was a dark history to it; it was too foreboding.”
Still, the dark ambience is definitively picturesque. The oud makes a virtuoso appearance on ‘Bohemia Junction,’ which may be the most percussive track on the record. Staying true to their name, it is also the most dub-influenced: bass takes over while synthesizers and violins dance around the perimeter. This is perhaps the most cosmopolitan of tracks as well, pulling its influences from Jamaica, India and Turkey.
What remains most provocative about Bombay Dub’s growing catalog is the imagery each song invokes: movements through medinas, riverside strolls (“Sea of Marmara”), even the scent of the spice markets Hughes loves walking through. “The sense of the unexplored territory is always very exciting,” he says, explaining that while one moment can leave a last impression, capturing it properly can take many months of detailed studio work.
For Mackay, who likens the experience of this album to being in a kind of Paris, Texas scenario—the 1984 film co-written by playwright Sam Shepard—it is impossible to separate sound from picture. He’s spent a lifetime doing it, and along with Hughes, eloquently captures the beauty and struggle of an entire planet on Tales From the Grand Bazaar.
“Music creates something visual,” he says. “When you have a subject matter of a piece of music, you automatically start having visions. From the day I left music college, I was doing music to picture in some way; for both Garry and myself there has always been an integral connection between music and images.”
It’s been so long since we have updated our site. Most of our news and info, new tracks and happenings at the BDO HG usually appear on our facebook page or soundcloud or announcements via twitter. But we also realise how important it is for our site to contain all that info in one place. so …..we’ll make a concerted effort to keep you update here as well.
* Our new album ‘Tales From The Grand Bazaar’ is finished and we hope to have news shortly on a release date. It was recorded with a host of great musicians and at various studios around the world. We recorded several tracks with the legendary Sly & Robbie
recorded at Anchor Studios in Kingston, Jamaica one of which will be on the new album. The track is called ’4,000 new Colours’. (Any guesses where the title comes from?)
We also journeyed to Turkey and recorded with Istanbul Strings and a host of great soloists in Istanbul.
We also recorded santoor and tabla in LA, keyboard overdubs and additional programming with the wonderful Tony Grund in New York (who also recorded french Horn in London), sarod, vocals, solo cello, tablas, percussion, keyboards,
guitars, Russian zither and a host of other strange instruments and vintage synths in the UK, sitar in Bombay, Vocals and sarangi in Delhi…the list goes on. Talking of lists we are currently putting together the incredibly time consuming sleeve notes with the vast number of musicians who contributed to this album – so important to make sure that every musician, engineer, studio and other key people involved with the album are credited – without them it would not have been possible.
* In other news our ancient remix of Joe Williams’ Jingle Bells made its way into the opening scene of Iron Man 3.
* Bombay Dub’s Andrew has started a new venture representing the world famous London Studio Abbey Road for India – read more here.
The New York Remix Project didn’t begin in New York or London or even Bombay. It actually began in Kingston, Jamaica, where we met New York based musician, artist and producer Tony Grund during a BMI event. (Side note – We also recorded Sly and Robbie for the forthcoming 3rd BDO album!) Tony suggested a remix project solely by New York producers taking tracks from the first two Bombay Dub Orchestra albums to give them a ‘New York State of Mind’.
We held a competition for one non-New York producer and ended up with a track by Sound Shikari, an excellent young producer from Oman.
New York is close to our hearts. Garry has worked in most of the great studios there over the years and we have both stayed, worked and performed in the vibrant city on many occasions.
The great thing about remix projects is that our music is taken to a different place – one where we would never ordinarily go on our albums. It’s always exciting to see the diversity that the remixes bring.
The New York Remixes album shows some of that diversity, and the rich culture that the city has to share.
We hope you enjoy listening to and experiencing this as much as we have.
- Andrew and Garry
The album comes out digitally on Six Degrees Records on the 25th September 2012 and will be available from all online music stores. In the meantime here’s a free download in anticipation of The New York Remixes.
1. Compassion - Pivotal Movement Remix 2. Junoon - EarthRise SoundSystem's "Warrior 3" remix [feat MC's: Srikala, Truth Now and Jackson Whalan] 3. Compassion - Capcom Remix 4. Monsoon Malabar - Force of Change Remix 5. Spiral - Sharma Remix 6. The Berber of Seville - Sound Shikari Remix 7. Compassion - Hot Hips Remix 8. Spiral - Ciphony ][ Mix 9. Strange Constellation - Harvey Jones Remix
A very reduced size outfit for this performance last night at the SupperClub In Hollywood. Joining Garry and Andrew on stage were musicians Jaswinder Ahluwalia (tabla) and his wife Kamaljeet Ahluwalia (santoor).
Thanks to all of those who came down as we celebrated 10 years of the Indian Film Festival Of Los Angeles and 5 years of Rukus Avenue at a special party featuring a bunch of great Dj’s and artists.
More info about our guests
Jas Ahluwalia was born in North America and from a very early age was deeply attracted to the unique sounds and rhythms of the tabla. He grew up in a family where music was an integral part of life. From the time that he has a conscious memory, Jas remembers playing the tabla. His parents encouraged him by leaving tablas in various parts of the house and at the age of two he could be heard mimicking complex tabla rhythms. An important part of his musical influences has been playing with Kirtan, the singing of Sikh sacred texts. Consequently to this day, playing the tabla remains a deeply spiritual experience for him. His fondest memory is of Ustad Tari Khan, who was like an uncle and provided him with the greatest inspiration. From the first moment when he heard Ustad Tari Khan play, the sound and intricacies captivated him. Since the age of nine, he has been a disciple of the world renowned Ustad Tari Khan. Remarkably, Jas has learnt the Tabla in the traditional Ustad/Shagird relationship which entails a deep bond between master and disciple. Entrenched in the classical mode of training, he is utterly conversant in a variety of genres including instrumental, vocal, ghazal, qawwali, classical and modern dance, Punjabi folk, jazz, asian underground and kirtan. He is frequently invited to participate in studio recordings, live performances, and film scoring sessions. Jas’ recent performances include collaborations with Grammy winner Osvaldo Golijov at Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Gingger Shankar, Bombay Dub Orchestra, grammy-nominated Jazz Pianist Rob Mullins, and guitarist Andy Summers of The Police. His latest studio collaborations include those with famed Punjabi producer Sangtar and Tron and Dexter Composer Joseph Trapanese. His film credits include Sundance Audience Award winner Circumstance, Sean Hacket’s Homecoming, and Igor Voloshin’s Beodouin. He is currently working on a classical orchestral album with Gingger Shankar, a Sikh Hymn album, recording for Richard Montoya’s film Water & Power, and touring with Gingger Shankar and Kamaljeet Ahluwalia.
Kamaljeet Ahluwalia is part of the new wave of Asian musicians emerging from the UK. A disciple of the legendary maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, she uses her Indian classical roots to walk an innovative path on the Santoor, a rare and exquisite hammered dulcimer/zither that can simultaneously explore vast sublime melodies and intricate detailed rhythmic patterns. She has collaborated with a diverse array of artists including Guy Sigsworth, Mercury Music Award winner Talvin Singh, Fruit Tree, Universal Taal and acclaimed dancer and choreographer Akram Khan to name a few. She has performed throughout the UK and internationally as part of the multi-art production Journey into India, as well as many solo performances across India, Europe, and North America. This imaginative musician is currently collaborating with guitarist Giuliano Modarelli on their fresh project, One Hundred and Six Strings which breathes new life into a proud and ancient Indian classical jugalbadhi (duet) tradition by fusing the strengths of their versatile instruments. She is also recording with producer and musician Wayne Nunes from Warrior Charge and touring with Gingger Shankar.
Bombay Dub Orchestra will be performing several sets in LA in April during the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles which runs at The Arclight Cinema complex at 6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028 from 10th -15th April 2012.
On Thursday 12th April they will perform a live Dj set along with special guests tabla maestro Jas Ahluwalia and santoor player Kamaljeet Ahluwalia at The Supper Club Hollywood.
They will also be doing a short DJ set on Friday evening the 13th April at 9pm in the Courtyard at the Arclight followed by an acoustic set with Tabla and Santoor on Saturday 14th evening from 10.30 pm.
The concerts are presented by Rukus Avenue.
We are thrilled that a film that we scored several years ago has just won best film at the 1st Annual Evolution InternationalFilm Festival held March 17th 2012 in Hollywood, California.
The film Project Happiness focuses on four teens from Santa Cruz, California. Each faces personal obstacles to happiness: loss, alienation and the everyday challenges of being a teenager passing into adulthood. An innovative project that asks the question “How do we achieve lasting happiness?” introduces them by internet and video diaries to their peers in Nigeria and India and quickly leaves lectures and books behind. The teens also engage in conversations with cultural icons George Lucas, Richard Gere and groundbreaking neuroscientist Richard Davidson. The three international groups ultimately meet face to face in India for the first time to prepare for a rare private audience with the Dalai Lama.
Project Happiness, a feature length documentary film, follows a senior high school class from Mount Madonna School near Watsonville, California, on a journey to discover the true nature of human happiness. Joining them on this quest are students from the Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala, India, and students from the Dominion Heritage Academy in Jos, Nigeria.
Using email, blogs and video cameras, the participants from three continents exchanged their cultural perspectives. Over seven months, they shared personal stories, opinions and challenges, which created the foundation for life-long friendships.
Following many months of reflection and cross-cultural conversation, the American students traveled by plane, train and 4WD to India to connect for the first time face-to-face with their counterparts. As a community, they continued to test their theories, ask hard questions and prepare for the meeting of a lifetime… a private interview with the 14th Dalai Lama. Culminating on graduation day, this is an experience they will never forget. It is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us to see through the eyes of our youth what is most important in the universal quest for lasting happiness.
Musical pioneer Cheb i Sabbah was last year diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. He was advised that the cancer was spreading to his liver and left lung and that time were not on his side. Like many Americans, Chebiji – as he is affectionately known does not have health insurance. Due to his weak health condition, Chebiji found himself having to cancel live shows, meaning his income stream has come to a complete halt, with mounting medical bills and future medical costs ahead.
Upon learning of his condition, a few close friends, artists and industry professionals have come together to rally around Chebiji to assist him with his fight.
An incredible collection of some of global music’s finest musicians have gathered to contribute exclusive tracks and remixes to help raise money for fusion pioneer Cheb i Sabbah‘s health care costs, in his battle against cancer. We were blessed to be asked and have contributed a track that we are very proud of called Flame of The Forest – featuring vocals and violin by Kartik our longtime vocalist as well as UK’s tabla maestro Sirishkumar who has also been with us for many years.
We ask you to join us to help Cheb i Sabbah in his time of need.
Featured artists on the double album include Ustad Zakir Hussain, Kailash Kher, Pandit G. S. Sachdev, Riffat Sultana & Sukhawat Ali Khan, Nitin Sawhney, Natacha Atlas, Karsh Kale, Bauhaus, Cheb i Sabbah, Transglobal Underground, MIDIval PunditZ, Amina Annabi, Bill Laswell & Gigi, Opium Feat. MC Raï, Mercan Dede, Janaka Selekta, Bombay Dub Orchestra, Azam Ali & Loga Ramin Torkian, Dub Kirtan All Stars Feat. Freq Nasty, David Starfire & Rik Sharaj, Jef Stott, Watcha Clan, Emam & Friends, Jai Uttal.
From Cheb i Sabbah:
“It was in May of 2011 when doctors told me that I had stage 4 stomach cancer and it had spread to my left lung and liver. I was given a less than six months sentence to live. They were wrong in part of their diagnosis; they did not take into account the power of prayers and love from the thousands of friends, fans and families that i received. It is because of your love, prayers and generosity that I am still alive today.
After a major surgery and three months of intensive and painful chemo therapy in Germany, i have opted for phase two, an alternative and more holistic approach to healing in India and the US.”
You can help Cheb i Sabbah by purchasing a copy of the Samaya Benefit Album. 100% of the net proceeds will go directly to Cheb i Sabbah’s Health Care Treatment Fund.
The official website to lead the campaign is Sweet Relief Musicians Fund:
Sweet Relief Musicians Fund provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.
Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011
5:30 – 7:00 PM Reception
7:00 PM Screening + Q&A with filmmaker
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), NYC
An award winning, action packed real life drama, Marathon Boy is the story of four-year-old Budhia Singh, who is plucked from an Indian slum by his coach and trained to become India’s greatest runner. A shocking tale of opportunism and corruption, but also a touching portrait of an authentic bond between a guru and a disciple.
“An unforgettable documentary. Rivals any drama.”
– Hollywood Reporter
“Epic, aritistic and even archetypal.”
Free screening for Asia Society members and South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) guests only. Limit two tickets per person. Pre-registration recommended. Click here to register. All registered tickets not picked up by 6:50pm will be forfeited. SAIFF guests must present a copy of this e-invitation at check-in.