The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Ancient Rhythms, Global Rhythms: Pete Wareham's Favourite Records
Adam Quarshie , April 1st, 2020 09:28

Via his ensemble Melt Yourself Down, saxophonist Pete Wareham reimagines the rhythms and melodies of Nubia. Adam Quarshie caught up with him to discuss some of his influences, from the music of Egypt and Sudan to the music of East London.


Musafir – 'Baba Ramdev'
In 2000, I went into the shop and I bought some jazz that I knew I wanted to get, and I said to the guy, "what else can I get?", and he pointed out this album with camels on it. I thought, I'll give that a try, and it was this Nubian music, which I got really into and also I bought another one, which was an Algerian CD. I listened to that for a bit and then I just kind of stopped and didn't really listen to world music for 10 years. Ali Hussan Kuban was the doorway to all the rest of them. I heard that in 2011 and I've basically been searching ever since for anything else that feels that way.

A few years later, one of the things I found was this track 'Baba Ramdev'. It's just so incredibly joyful and it feels like an epic adventure. There's something absolutely epic about it, to me. It sounds like they're outside. How you seen any of those YouTube videos of the Gypsies of Rajasthan, the colourful dresses they wear and the dances they do? It's pretty incredible. And they're always in some really remote-looking rocky outcrop, somewhere in the desert. And the cover of this album as well, the guy with the amazing moustache. I love that whole spirit, really wild and free - that's what the song feels like to me.