Friday, July 10, 2009

The Dub Factory

My current favourite Indian/South Asian reggae artist. His album Qawwali Meets Reggae: A Revolution by The Dub Factory [QMR] masterfully intertwines roots reggae and qawwali (along with a couple of non-qawwali, but indian-flavoured roots tunes), in Parvez's collaboration with Ram Shanker. His album QMR seems to have been originally released by ISQH Records (in 1999?), under the title Revolution: Qawali Meets Roots Reggae, and rereleased by Nupur in 2008 (under the supratitle "Bally Sagoo Presents").

This is what Parvez ("The Dub Factory") writes about himself on his Myspace page:

Parvez, AKA, "The Dub Factory" was born in Birmingham (UK). "As an Asian living in a multi-cultural area of Leicester I had a variety of influences as a youth. Reggae was the main music at that time. The big basslines echoed off the walls day and night and just became part of my life". I started my musical career at the age of 19 in a rock band called 'Unison', I admit that I would have never bought any of the music the band made!! I then went onto joining a reggae band called 'Aduwa'. But this band was soon to disperse when I decided to take on a more serious role in my music, as a multi-talented musician and singer who is heavily influenced by such luminaries as Bob Marley, Black Uhuru, Aswad and Steel Pulse, I created 'The Dub Factory'. I created a number of fresh sounds which leaned more towards the ears of those heavily into roots reggae with no Indian influence whatsoever. But this was soon to change and the eastern flava was soon to play a major part in my passion of roots reggae music. My 'OWN roots' came through when I collaborated with the mighty Ram Shanker. Like 'hand' fits in 'glove', so too, did, the eastern introduction to roots reggae ...hence the birth of qawali/reggae music. Taking my new born music on the road was a huge success, taking the headline act at the Sunplash in Germany and then onto tour the whole of Europe. They felt the same vibe as me, that the coalition of traditional qawali's and reggae was a great concept. In 1999 Ishq Records, showcased 'The Dub Factory' in Miami, USA to a thunderous response . "My main objective now is to take reggae music into another dimension. Roots reggae music is my heart and soul and that is what I will put into all my future albums. I want to make some noise in the music industry. It's hard to break through or to be given a chance to be heard. Now that I'm over that hurdle I want to make my mark and be known as one of the best Asian Reggae producers ever to come out of the UK..." "I am an Asian from an Eastern Land, Making roots music for every nation, No matter if your black, white, Chinese or Indian, I, have the rhythm to conquer everyone...." Unique in name and unique in sound...'The Dub Factory'.

And a review of QMR by Thom Jurek (All Music Guide):

This is presented by Bally Sagoo, which doesn't tell you anything. The liner notes are sketchy, so you have to infer that the prime influence behind this was Indian, but even so, there is no saying for sure. The bottom line is that Dub Factory is the creation of M. Parvez, a British-born musician and DJ with deep Pakistani roots. He has a live band for touring, but this set is almost a solo affair. Most of the tracks here fall firmly in the digital dub territory; there are some live instruments, but mostly it's keyboard- and computer-created. Parvez also does most of the vocals so there's very little -- in the way of entire tracks -- that can be considered dub, per se. There are plenty of dub effects, but these come off as stilted because of the production. The most interesting thing about the recording is the participation of Ram Shankar, a qawwali and Ghazal vocalist. His tracks were recorded in India, and he adds color, depth, dimension, and sheer-out mystery to every track he's on, the most notable of which are "Kaise Guzar Rahi Hai," "Ali Ali," "Deknay Ke Baad," "Pyar Se Dekha Hota," and a number of others. As an experiment this is an interesting recording. It definitely moves into some shape-shifting territory, which dub records are supposed to, but it never quite gets out to lunch -- there's always a foot remaining in the doorway, and one suspects that this is Parvez himself, having too much control of the proceedings and the studio. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide
In contrast to Mr Jurek, I think QMR is a brilliant fusion of roots reggae and South Asian music.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reggae-ic Yoga

Something I came across by accident, but it fits the India/reggae theme: Reggae Yoga. In the Baltimore/DC area, yoga instructor Anne Harrison combines yoga and reggae music. See her site here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Indian Reggae Mix: Dvi-Ja(h) Reggae Two: Dharmic Riddims

Back with a brand new Indian/South Asian/Hindu composed/themed/flavoured mix: Dvi-Ja(h) Reggae Two: Dharmic Riddims! I think this mix is even better than the first one.

From Parvez's "Asian Rocker" (brilliant heavy beat) to the Hindu riddim dancehall tracks of Elephant Man and Rage to some more Apache Indian to Cornershop's typically eccentric "Motion the 11" to the electronic/reggae/desi Asian Dub Foundation tracks to Jewish American reggae singer Matisyahu's refashioning of George Harrison's "Within In Without You" (keeping the Indian flavour of the Beatles' original) to Bombay Dub Orchestra's remix of the classic Marley & the Wailers "Lively Up Yourself"---this time we even have some Hindu/Urdu-language roots reggae, Parvez's (Dub Factory) "फिर मुझे याद आने लगे हैं" and "कैसे गुजर रही दिल में जावा", with vocals by Ram Shankar.

01Asian RockerThe Dub FactoryQawwali Meets Reggae (2008)
02HinduRageHindu Riddim (2009)
03CyberabadAsian Dub FoundationEnemy of the Enemy (2003)
04The IsraelitesApache Indian / Desmond DekkerTime for Change (2005)
05Phir Mujhe Yaad Aane Lage HainThe Dub FactoryQawwali Meets Reggae (2008)
06Motion the 11Cornershop / Jack Wilson & KojakHandcream for a Generation (2002)
07Belly DanceElephant ManHindu Riddim (2009)
08EverydayApache IndianTime for Change (2005)
09Within You Without YouMatisyahu / Easy Star All*StarsEasy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band (2009)
10Kaise Guzr Rahi Dil Mein JawaaThe Dub FactoryQawwali Meets Reggae (2008)
11Armagideon TimeApache Indian / Yami BoloMake Way for the Indian (1995)
12Lively Up Yourself [Bombay Dub Orchestra remix]Bob Marley & the Wailers / Bombay Dub OrchestraRoots, Rock, Remixed (2008)
13Warring DholAsian Dub FoundationTank (2005)
14Reggae Meets the EastThe Dub FactoryQawwali Meets Reggae (2008)