Donut of the Heart

17/02/2017Pakistan's Jaubi Release Debut EP And Hindustani Tribute To J Dilla

The concept of time is one of life's greatest enigmas, but equally fundamental, when it comes to the art of rhythm and beatmaking. Which brings us to one of the most prolific and celebrated beat champions of all time, being Detroit's James "J Dilla" Yancey, master sampler and pioneering hiphop producer, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 32. Every February for the past 10 years and counting fans around the world have been coming together to celebrate his life and work.

One of last year's tributes rather unexpectedly came by ways of Lahore, Pakistan, as now brought to greater attention in a recent piece by Bandcamp writer Jordan Ferguson: "Jaubi, a collective of Indian classical musicians from Lahore, Pakistan, quietly uploaded a video on Youtube to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Dilla’s passing: a cover version of “Time: The Donut of the Heart” from Dilla’s final album Donuts. A sarangi plays the signature loop, tabla and vocals provide a surprising bounce and plaintive acoustic guitar chords add melodic cohesion. In 60 short seconds, the members of Jaubi take Dilla’s original and turn it into something wholly different, yet instantly recognizable."

Within days, the video generated thousands of views and ultimately led to the vinyl release of their debut EP "The Deconstructed Ego" on London's Astigmatic Records imprint. As revealed on the group's Bandcamp page, "Jaubi (جو بھی) is an Urdu word roughly translating to 'whatever'. Creating whatever sounds good and whatever feels good is the goal".

Incorporating elements of Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, Jaubi emphasize the free-flowing nature of their tracks: “It’d be very difficult to replicate what we record. If I was to play what was recorded I’d have to go back and learn it like a new song, because I can’t remember most of that stuff. The other guys would say the same thing, because it’s just that moment in time,” says Ali Riaz Baqar (Jaubi's founder/guitar/kalimba),the 'other guys' being Zohaib Hassan Khan (sarangi), Kashif Ali Dhani (tabla/vocals) and Qammar Vicky Abbas (cajon/vocals).

Read the full story here, find the full EP here and watch the J Dilla tribute video below:

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom