Ashraf Sharif Khan and Viktor Marek are twins from different continents, separated at birth. They were brought back together by the large music satellite during one of its few earth rotations to teach us humans an extra-planetary hip swing.
This swing is performed live with their Beats, Bass and Sitar, leaving behind rows of earthlings* with their mouths wide open (grinning) – and just as open soles (dancing). Their album “Sufi Dub Brothers” is a testimony to this decree of comet-like fate and gathers nearly the complete recorded song material of this musical sensation.
An elusive “Sufistep” (Viktor Marek) somewhere between HipHop, Acid, Electro and Dub meets a masterful Sitar performance (Ashraf Sharif Khan). The two of them took more than 10 years of time in the Hamburg Ebbe-Road-Studios to find a suitable sonic space for this album. A long way, after all they transform South Asian classical music into western club music – and not vice versa. Except in the song “Maschinenland” which we may understand as a loving nod to the post-punk world of the eighties, a cover version of a song originally performed by the group Abwärts – that eventually can be performed in Islamabad, too.
Ashraf Sharif Khan
Ashraf Sharif Khan, born in Lahore, Pakistan, is the son of sitar master Ustad Muhammad Sharif Khan Poonchwala, at times just as famous in India and Pakistan as Ustad Vilayat Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar. Like his father and grandfather before him, he belongs to the Poonch Gharana Sitar tradition. Ashraf Sharif Khan combines highest technical skill with perfection in musical expression. The melodic beauty of his style, accentuated by the dynamic, rhythmic development of a musical figure, provides lovers and connoisseurs of South Asian music – as well as all newcomers to these regions – with an unforgettable musical experience. His playing transcends earthly boundaries and is accessible to everyone. Ashraf Sharif Khan is a member of the Pakistani Music Hall Of Fame.
Viktor Marek is an outernational superstar. In Karachi people call his name when he enters the stage. His love, curiosity and respect, his rhythmic finesse and artistic ability to communicate in real time allow him to cooperate with Ashraf at eye level. His sensitivity is also evident in his ongoing collaborations with Jacques Palminger or Knarf Rellöm and in spontaneous encounters with, for example, Felix Kubin, Jamie Lidell or Anthony “Shake” Shakir. In the early nineties Marek and his trio 8Doogymoto released on Mathew Herbert’s label soundslike and travelled the world.
With no other project before, Victor Marek has come as close to his musical core as in his recent work with Ashraf Sharif Khan. In his spare time Victor Marek is co-owner of the Golden Pudel Club, Hamburg.
Both musicians belong to the ten nicest people in the world according to the Forbes list.