The title Tales From the Grand Bazaar tells you much of what you need to know about Bombay Dub Orchestra, as the bazaar is where cultures meet and intertwine, with Istanbul’s bazaar being the grandest. The band builds that out further, pulling sounds and textures from places as diverse as India, Turkey, Macedonia and Brazil, while blending them into a mellow electronic vibe that can be quite mesmerizing.
“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.
“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.”