Bombay Dub Orchestra to Release New Album, 10/6
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.