Lokkhi Terra album launch

JD caught up with Kishon Khan bandleader and composer from Lokkhi Terra whose debut album ‘No Visa Required’ featured as our album of the month to talk about the influences of Brazil and Latin America on his music – a fusion of Asian, Latin, Brazil and world rhythms.

Khan himself an acclaimed pianist with the Soothsayers, Arun Ghosh Sextet, and Gilles Peterson’s Havana Cultura band, who has collaborated with the likes of legendary Indian percussionist Pandit Dinesh, and cult Nigerian saxophonist Bukky Leo. And last year won the South Asian International Film Festival award in New York, for his soundtrack in the film The Last Thakur (Artificial Eye, Channel 4).

What are the connections between Asia and Brazil that inspired you?
In Asia there’s a lot to be learned from Brazil and Latin America. Typically each culture had very little knowledge of each other’s music but there’s a vast cultural connection and certainly more commonalities.

Specifically with Brazil there are superficial links like Carnival do Ganges in the north of Brazil and the way both non-professional and professional musicians play percussion together at these carnival celebrations.

Rhythmically there’s a connection with the swing of the Dhol drum and the Samba rhythm. The power and tradition of song in the house and in the family is also an interesting similarity, there’s a very rich history of song in both cultures.

How did the concept of the album come about?
The genesis of the album was this very idea of exploring all these commonalities and traditions but not staying still. Lokkhi Terra is a reflection of all these things. It’s a musical conversation between communities that live together anyway.

The main dialogue on this album is between Cuba and Bangladesh (Kishon’s motherland). When I was in Cuba in the mornings I was woken up by kids who were banging on the windows with sticks that I realised was the hypnotic sound of the Cuban Rumba which is everywhere in Cuba

At an Asian Mela (Festival) the approach is closer to a spiritual vibe where there’s a physical reaction to music and at Cuban festivals like in San Lazador in Havana there’s the same kind of atmosphere and with people travelling from miles to get there. These kind of celebrations are both a vehicle towards a spiritual state of mind.

You describe the band’s sound as a London sound. Can you elaborate?
The process of cultural mixing that actually already happened to a degree in Brazil is actually going on in London now. There’s a certain openness to different musical ideas in Brazil that’s similar to that in the underground scene in London.

It’s a special time musically because in London we have the advantage of getting a lot from the communities who still maintain a strong connection to their roots.

Tell us about the artists that you have worked with on this album?
One of my main collaborators on the album was bassist and cult producer Kassin Alexander (well known thorugh his collaborations with Moreno Veloso and Domenico Lancelloti and producer of Vanessa Da Mata). Also guesting was close friend Stephane San Juan, celebrated for playing drums with Orquestra Imperial and Amadou and Mariam. And one of the young stars of the UK jazz scene and Finn Peters, infact like Finn many of the guest musicians are bandleaders in their own right.

The current live band features musicians as diverse Oreste Noda (percussionist from Ska Cubano), guitarist Phil Dawson who has played with a lot of heavyweight African musicians including Hugh Masekela and on the Africa Express project. And also former Brand New Heavies drummer Tansay alongside a host of up and coming Bengali and Cuban singers and musicians.


Check out Lokkhi Terra’s album launch at the Rich Mix on Thursday 27th May.
Rich Mix
35 – 47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA
8pm, £8 adv-£11 on door

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